When the Lakers were eliminated from the 2021 NBA playoffs, a 15-year streak came to an end: There would be a completely new matchup in the NBA Finals:
Since 2006, the NBA Finals have featured either LeBron, the Lakers, or the Warriors— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 4, 2021
That streak is now over.
We're getting a whole new matchup this year pic.twitter.com/mq22xKYRNr
So whoever ends up winning it all, it will be a team with a fanbase that isn’t used to the experience. And rather than a one-year aberration, some believe this has been a turning of the page in the NBA, at least according to our latest SB Nation reacts survey of fans around the league.
And hilariously, those same fans also seem to be awfully thrilled that their teams don’t have to go up against LeBron James and the Lakers. More than three-fourths of fans who were polled said the playoffs have been more compelling without James fighting for another championship.
And I know the question was whether or not the playoffs are more “compelling” without James, but it’s hard not to be amused by such an overwhelming positive response. Yes, I’m sure it’s just that people find the playoffs more “compelling,” and not the sigh of relief that their team doesn’t have to figure out a way to eliminate a healthy version of LeBron and the Lakers.
Certainly they were just riveted by the Suns vs. Nuggets sweep. Obviously.
But will this really be a changing of the guard, and does it mean more “compelling” LeBron-less future postseasons? Fans of 29 other teams certainly seem to be hoping so, but I would hazard a guess that we haven’t seen the last of the man who has owned the NBA for most of the last decade. Call it a hunch.
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.