Why the notion of NBA titles having 'asterisks' is silly

Noah Levick
NBC Sports Philadelphia

If it gets completed, will the 2019-20 NBA season have an asterisk?

To put the unprecedented situation of playing at Disney World during a pandemic into context, NBC Sports NBA insider Tom Haberstroh compiled a list of NBA titles that "deserve an asterisk due to unfair and/or questionable circumstances."

You may be surprised to find that … every single NBA champion is on that list.

So, why do the 1966-67 Sixers have an asterisk?

"There were only 10 teams," Haberstroh reminds us.

Fair enough, although the Sixers that season won 68 games, eight more than any other team, and ended the Celtics' run of eight consecutive NBA titles. They sure seem to have a rather decent case for being a legitimate champion.  

As for the 1982-83 Sixers, Haberstroh had this to say: 

Notice that Moses Malone's famous quote is "Fo', fo', fo'" and not "Fo, fo', fo', fo'." That's because, at this point in NBA history, the top two seeds received a first-round bye and only played three series for a championship. I think we can all agree that real champs win four series. 

Haberstroh's reasoning here is a bit suspect, to put it mildly. A team that went 12-1 in the postseason and beat Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the defending champion Lakers isn't a real champion? The Lakers did lead every game of that series at halftime, so perhaps we could also argue that second-half comebacks are aberrations, not true indicators of which team is better. 

In all seriousness, the "asterisk" debate is indeed a rather silly one, as Haberstroh highlights. We'll always be able to find a rationale for why one championship doesn't mean as much as another … even if the reasoning isn't necessarily very persuasive. 

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Why the notion of NBA titles having 'asterisks' is silly originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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