By: Luis Berg
December 14, 2020
This Year has been a rollercoaster for sports, athletes caught COVID-19 and seasons were postponed, leaving sports fans eager to see their favorite teams back on the court or field. Despite this year’s challenges, sports returned with a new approach to the coronavirus, holding their season in an isolated bubble. The National Basketball Association (NBA) was the first league to successfully execute a bubble at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Initially, no fans or family were allowed in the stadium because of the strict protocols. Major League Baseball (MLB) allowed a limited number of fans to attend, but it definitely wasn’t the same atmosphere of fans cheering in their home field that players were used to. Yet the athletes pulled together and demonstrated how strong the sports community is, especially in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the MLB world series, defeating the Miami Heat and the Tampa Bay Rays. This marked the Dodgers’ first championship since 1988 and the first time since 1988 that the Lakers and Dodgers won in the same year.
While the Lakers had an amazing year, other California basketball teams were not so successful. The Golden State Warriors were dead last in the western conference with a record of 15-50. They went from the best to the worst team in the NBA this year due to their two best players being injured, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. They also lost Kevin Durant in free agency to the Brooklyn Nets. They traded two draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kelly Oubre, a very good small forward from the University of Kansas. Using their second draft pick, the Golden State Warriors drafted James Wiseman. He looks like a very promising center with great size and mobility, but we haven’t seen him play since high school. The return of Steph Curry and the possibility of Klay Thompson returning later in the year should be enough to get them back in the playoffs for the 2020-21 season.
The Sacramento Kings acquired young players who appear to be improving each year and are optimistic that Deron Fox will bring their team to the playoffs for the first time since 1981. The Los Angeles Clippers had a disappointing playoff exit in the second round blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets. Clippers fans hoped that they could acquire some players to get them over the hump next year, but they didn’t make any moves except losing Montrezl Harrell, the 6th man of the year. Many people suspect that he left for the Lakers due to the Clippers disappointing playoff run. In addition to Harrell, the Lakers were also able to acquire Dennis Schroder and Wesley Matthews who should help increase their three-point shot percentage, something that the Lakers struggled with in the 2019-20 season. Head Coach Frank Vogel and the Lakers organization are optimistic that they will be back for another championship matchup in the 2020-21 season.
The Los Angeles Rams have their eyes set on winning the Super Bowl this year which would bring another trophy to Los Angeles. They are currently first in their conference and are playing very well this season with a record of 8-4. Quarterback, Jared Goff has thrown 17 touchdown passes and has a career-high pass completion percentage of 68%. ESPN explained that “Jared Goff is capable of being a winning Super Bowl quarterback”. Rookie running back Cam Akers is playing surprisingly well too, currently, he has two touchdowns, 357 rushing yards, and zero fumbles. The San Francisco 49ers are currently last in their conference with a record of 5-7. Hopefully, they can climb back up as there are still a lot of games to be played after many cancelations due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the National Football League (NFL), as they did not choose to play their games in a bubble.
California colleges are resuming their football seasons. The University of Southern California (USC) is ranked 15th in the country right now, led by starting quarterback Kedon Slovis. The Los Angeles Times said he’s the 5th best quarterback in the country. He is looking to progress his team in the standings over the upcoming season.
California is one of the best states in sports, having a good team in almost every sport. Through the adversity on and off-court, athletes did their best with the challenges of COVID-19. Athletes and fans can be hopeful sports will return to normal with stadiums full of fans in the near future. Hopefully, next season will bring even more trophies to the city of LA.