There Is No Asterisk For the Toronto Raptors Just Like There Isn’t One For the 2015 Warriors

Congratulations to the Toronto Raptors for winning the 2019 NBA Championship.  While I’m the first to admit that it would have been nice to see the Golden State Warriors at full strength, I certainly can’t belittle the Raptors for their accomplishment.  You play the team put on the floor, and you try to beat that team.  Period.

For those who are arguing that the Raptors have an asterisk by their name for this championship, I disagree.  After all, nobody says that the 2015 Warriors championship should have an asterisk, yet the Cavaliers suffered similar significant injuries to their roster leading up to and during those 2015 Finals.

If you recall, the 2014/2015 Cleveland Cavaliers were a newly reconfigured team with the return of LeBron James, the arrival of Kevin Love, and the late season additions of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Timofey Mozgov.  They joined superstar Kyrie Irving and made it to the NBA Finals under rookie coach, David Blatt.  (Keep in mind that Blatt was a rookie head coach in the NBA, but he had a very robust resume  from coaching internationally.)

Unfortunately, Kevin Love did not play at all in that series due to a shoulder injury, and Kyrie Irving broke his kneecap during that first game of the Finals.  This left LeBron James to pretty much try to do it all by himself, which, against that Warriors team, proved insurmountable.

Yet, no one seems to remember that two of the Cleveland’s three all-stars were out of commission for that championship series.  No one questioned whether it was a legitimate win or not for the 2015 Warriors.  I never heard anyone say they should have an asterisk next to their name.

The Warriors played the injured Cavaliers, took advantage of their depleted roster, and won a title.  The Raptors did the exact same thing.

This is the nature of sports.  Injuries, exhaustion, and bad luck always play a role.

I wish all of the injured players a speedy, complete recovery; I congratulate the Toronto Raptors on their first title; I also remind you that the healthy 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers beat the intact Golden State Warriors for their championship, which prompted the Warriors to acquire Kevin Durant.

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