Basketball in 2020: NBA, WNBA highlights of the COVID-hit year

From Vince Carter's record-breaking achievement to Giannis Antetokounmpo's largest NBA contract ever, here are the key basketball moments in 2020.

Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate with the 2019-20 NBA trophy after beating Miami Heat 4-2 in the best-of-seven Finals.   -  TWITTER/NBAINDIA

The 2019-20 editions of the NBA and WNBA were halted midway due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. However, the NBA season was restarted inside a bio-secure bubble at the Walt Disney World near Orlando.

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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was successfully completed with Los Angeles Lakers coming out on top. Meanwhile, Seattle Storm won the WNBA title at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Here are the most important moments from the world of basketball in 2020.

January 4: Atlanta Hawks Shooting guard/Small forward and eight-time NBA All-Star, Vince Carter, becomes the first player in NBA history to have played in four different decades (1999 to 2020), while also becoming the only player to feature in 22 seasons during his side's 116-111 win over Indiana Pacers.

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January 22: The 2019 NBA Draft's first pick Zion Williamson officially makes his professional basketball debut for the New Orleans Pelicans during a 117-121 loss against the San Antonio Spurs after spending three months on the sidelines due to a torn meniscus.

The 2019-20 WNBA champion Seattle Storm has now won a record 11 games in a row in the WNBA Finals, dating back to the team’s first championship in 2004.   -  Twitter/ Seattle Storm

 

January 26: NBA legend and former Los Angeles Lakers Shooting guard, Kobe Bryant, passes away aged 41 after a helicopter carrying him, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends and the pilot crashes in Calabasas, California.

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February 23: The 2019-20 NBA season's Eastern Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks becomes the fastest team ever to clinch a playoffs spot, both by games (56) and from a calendar perspective (February 23), by overtaking previous record-holder -- the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors side.

April 17: Four-time Eastern Conference champion and four-time WNBA finalist -- New York Liberty -- chooses the United States' upcoming 22-year-old star Sabrina Ionescu as the first overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

In this picture taken on March 2, 2019, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston in Storrs.   -  AP

 

September 17: Las Vegas Aces Power forward and 2018 World Cup winner with the United States, A'ja Wilson, wins the 2020 WNBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season award for guiding her team to the finals.

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September 18: Milwaukee Bucks Power forward/Small forward and Greece international, Giannis Antetokounmpo, wins a second consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the season award for his exploits in the 2020 season.

October 6: Seattle Storm wins a record-equalling fourth WNBA title, tied with the Minnesota Lynx and the now-defunct Houston Comets, after defeating Las Vegas Aces 92-59 in game three of the 2020 WNBA Finals, thereby sealing the best-of-five tie 3-0.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo joins legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players to win multiple MVP awards by age 25.   -  Getty Images

 

October 11: The Los Angeles Lakers wins a record-equalling 17th NBA title, tied with Boston Celtics, after defeating the Miami Heat 106-93 in game six of the 2020 NBA Finals, thereby sealing the best-of-seven tie 4-2.

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November 18: The 2003-04 NBA season's Western Conference finalist Minnesota Timberwolves chooses American teenage basketball sensation Anthony Edwards as its first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. 

December 15: Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks team agree to terms on the largest NBA contract ever -- a five-year and $228.2 million-dollar extension running until the 2025-26 edition -- ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season.

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