Charles Barkley rips Heat and Lakers as ‘bubble gangsters,’ says 2020 NBA championship doesn’t count

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

In the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers’ quick exit from this year’s postseason, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is indicating that their NBA title win from last season isn’t legitimate.

Barkley appeared on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and made clear that the Lakers and their finals opponent from last season, the Miami Heat, should be treated as flukes because of the situation.

“Listen, that bubble basketball,” Barkley said. “It was a bunch of bubble gangsters. That don’t count. Bubble gangsters don’t count.”

The bubble concept in Orlando, Fla. was necessitated by the need for games to be played in a controlled environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Without crowds in attendance at those games, the concept of home-court advantage was eliminated, a situation that especially helped the Heat.

The Lakers were aided by the collapse of the Los Angeles Clippers, who had a 3-1 lead in their conference semifinal series and ended up losing the series.

While the circumstances were decidedly different last year, the fact that the Lakers managed to outlast all of the other teams competing for a title deserves credit. In addition, managing to stay focused for more than three months while living under strict health and safety protocols is also worthy of recognition.

In the end, Barkley is an NBA analyst who gets paid to offer his opinion. How credible his words seem likely depends on the listener.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.