The NBA is set to resume and hopefully finish the 2019-2020 season amidst the coronavirus pandemic from July to October. It will be the first time in the history of the NBA that all playoff games will be played without fans. Due to the unique circumstances, people are saying that this season's championship will have an asterisk, meaning that it might mean less than previous titles.

What is an asterisk championship? Why does it matter so much? While there are many opinions on doubtful championships in the last two decades due to injuries and bad officiating, they are just opinions. Last season is an example, when the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors. Two of the Warriors' superstars, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, were injured in the finals and never played in the season again. A lot of people say it's the only reason why the Raptors won.

There is also the '93-'94 and the '94-'95 season, where Michael Jordan was in an NBA hiatus for various reasons leading to two titles for the Houston Rockets. While there are plenty more, they are just speculative conjectures by sports analysts and fans.

Asterisk championships happen when a team wins under questionable circumstances. As such, it's a hollow victory. But it's not the real definition.

Officially, in the past 30 years, there are only two seasons with an asterisk: the 1998-99 season and the 2011-2012 season. Both have shortened regular-season games due to a player lockout. Asterisk championships happen when special circumstances forced the league to change from its regular format to finish the season. That is certainly the case this season, but the asterisk has an entirely different meaning.

This season's asterisk is a bit special. According to league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, "It's going to be the toughest championship you could ever win."

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers agrees with the MVP. According to him, this season's champion deserves a gold star and not an asterisk.

According to Sports Illustrated, Celtics Coach Brad Stevens has the same view. "Whoever wins is going to really earn it," he said.

It's been a rough season for the NBA, with the death of retired Commissioner David Stern, the man who built the league. The death of Kobe Bryant, one of its biggest superstars was another blow, and now the coronavirus pandemic.

It will also be the first time teams will play the entire playoffs without fans' support and energy. There will be no home court advantage, and there will be restrictions on individual and team practices.

Players are also coming off a four-month break before going straight into high-impact games. Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis claims that he spent the last few months developing his player in NBA2K20 and Call of Duty. He was just at the point where his NBA2K20 character was becoming dominant (Ironically, Davis is the player featured in the cover of the game).

This season's championship will likely have an asterisk. But is it a less meaningful trophy? Let the basketball world be the judge.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert
The NBA shut down on March 11, 2020 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus Photo: AFP / GEORGE FREY