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Will the 2020 NBA champion deserve an asterisk?

Will the 2020 NBA champion deserve an asterisk?

Most of the questions surrounding the NBA season were answered Thursday when the league approved a plan for return to play

Where are they playing? Disney. How many teams? 22. When will games begin? July 31. 

One question the NBA can't answer is how this year's champion will be perceived for years to come. Will they deserve an asterisk or should they be recognized as much as every other title team in history? 

Chris Miller, Drew Gooden, Chase Hughes and Quinton Mayo had a spirited debate on the subject, and that's putting it lightly. Gooden kicked things off by stating there's no avoiding the asterisk based on how this year has gone. 

"Asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, asterisk," Gooden said. "This is a big trick bag, real talk. If LeBron wins this championship, you can't crown him the greatest player of all time. This is like that San Antonio win they tried to kill Tim Duncan and [Gregg Popovich] for in 1999. If that didn't count, what do you think they'll say for this season? They're gonna say the same thing."

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Wizards reporter Chase Hughes was, and correctly, on the other side of the argument. The 2019-20 campaign was indeed shortened [73 games], but it will still turn out longer than 1999 [50 games] and 2012 [66 games], the league's only lockouts to result in lost games.

Every team will go through the same challenges in this Disney World bubble. Sure, older teams like the Lakers will benefit from extra rest, but it's not like the Clippers and Bucks have been running marathons three days a week to make sure LeBron has the freshest legs when play resumes. They'll be ready too!

While Hughes clarified the only championships that deserve asterisks are for cheating teams like the 2017 Houston Astros, he came in with some serious heat to follow up Gooden's point. 

"The titles I think most people would say have an asterisk, and I think this will stand the test of time, fairly or unfairly, are the two titles the Warriors won after [Kevin] Durant joined them," Hughes said. "[GM Bob Myers] confirmed that they felt the same way a few weeks ago saying it just didn't feel as impressive as the other one."

If you notice Chase's Twitter following spike with LeBron fans over the next few weeks, you can reference the quote above as the reason why.

As a retort, Gooden posed quite the hypothetical. What if the Wizards, who were 5.5 games out of a playoff spot and were long shots to make the postseason before the season was suspended and a new format kept them in the mix, ended up winning it all?

Gooden: "I'm gonna be excited, but what is the world gonna say? Is it an asterisk?"

Chris Miller: "Hell no!"

Gooden: "I think this is the most jenkiest hoops season ever."

Whether or not this year's championship deserves an asterisk or not, it's a title that'll most likely fade away over time. Nobody says, "Well technically, Tim Duncan has five titles but it's really four because the 1999 season only had 50 games."

Instead of discounting this year's champion, shouldn't they be celebrated more? The team that wins this year will have to overcome a four-month gap between games, handle social distancing and preventative measures to keep everyone healthy and win 16 playoff games without fans in the stands.

However jenky this season ended up being, this year's champ will have a special place in NBA history. 

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Sports Uncovered: That time Michael Jordan dominated a Warriors practice... in Warriors gear

Sports Uncovered: That time Michael Jordan dominated a Warriors practice... in Warriors gear

NBC Sports has a new documentary podcast series called 'Sports Uncovered' and the first episode, which was released today, brought us an almost hard to believe story about Michael Jordan in 1994. The reason why it is difficult to imagine is because there is absolutely no way it could happen today with a contemporary NBA star.

Basically, back during Jordan's first retirement from the NBA, he talked his way into practicing with the Golden State Warriors. He wore Warriors gear and everything.

The story was recalled by many who were involved like former Warriors stars Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin, as well as then-Warriors assistant Rod Higgins. Jordan was in California on vacation when he called Higgins the morning before a practice and asked if he could play.

Higgins said "I don't think so" before calling head coach Don Nelson. Surprisingly, Nelson loved the idea. So, Jordan arrived, suited up and then went to work.

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He actually practiced with the Warriors for several days and, as he did, everyone realized what he was really there for. He wanted to size up Hardaway and Latrell Sprewell, two of the NBA's best young players at the time, before he made his return to the Bulls.

"What I remember is him walking on the floor having not played [in the NBA in a while], having probably played 36 holes of golf the day before and just dominated," Mullin said. "He wanted to go up against the best young player that thought he was better than him. And he put that to rest that day, for sure."

"Once Michael warmed up, you could tell his objective was to kick Spree and Tim's behind and talk trash to them," Higgins said. "I think it showed Latrell what greatness is."

Keep in mind Jordan was retired and out of basketball shape. Meanwhile, the Warriors were in midseason form. And yet, still Jordan was better.

The first episode of 'Sports Uncovered,' entitled 'I'm Back,' chronicles Jordan's return to the NBA after his first retirement. You can listen to the full podcast right here:

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Wizards at Warriors: Time, TV channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards at Warriors: Time, TV channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards continue to sit in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and need any win they can get to improve their chances of securing a playoff spot. 

In recent history, the Warriors wouldn't be considered a lowly opponent to pick up a win against. But this season, as Golden State has battled injuries to its top players, the Warriors have the worst record in the NBA. 

This game will be the second of the Wizards' four-game road trip, and there's a chance the Warriors could get major reinforcements. Guard Stephen Curry, who has been out with a broken left hand since Oct. 30, was recently cleared for contact and targeted the March 1 game as his return date. But Golden State head coach Steve Kerr was hesitant to commit to that date, and the decision seems fluid.

Here's everything you need to know to watch Sunday night's matchup. 

WIZARDS at WARRIORS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors, Game 59

Where: Chase Center, San Francisco

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards at Warriors will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Warriors on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS at WARRIORS TV SCHEDULE

7:30 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:30 PM: Wizards at Warriors (LIVE)

11:00 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

12:30 AM: Wizards Talk

WIZARDS at WARRIORS INJURY REPORT

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab)

Warriors: Steph Curry (QUESTIONABLE, Hand), Klay Thompson (OUT, Torn ACL recovery), Andrew Wiggins (DAY-TO-DAY, Back spasms)

WIZARDS at WARRIORS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards (30.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.0 apg): With injured stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and John Wall out, Beal's stardom will shine the brightest.

Rui Hachimura, F, Wizards (13.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 apg): Hachimura continues to impress in his rookie season, and could draw the defensive assignment if Andrew Wiggins plays.

Andrew Wiggins, F, Warriors (19.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg): The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Wiggins, a former No. 1 overall pick, to the Warriors to acquire D'Angelo Rusell. In six games since the trade, Wiggins has averaged 19.2 points per game.

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