Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world and it has produced some of the greatest sporting moments we have seen. From Michael Jordan’s exploits to Kyrie Irving’s buzzer beater to win game 7 of the NBA finals in 2016, we take a look at the greatest moments in basketball history.
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Five greatest moments on the court
Our top five basketball moments are obviously the opinion of this author and if you would like to give him a piece of his mind, or agree with him, drop us a message in the box below the article.
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The emergence of Irving ‘Magic’ Johnson:
Few players in the game have reached the name recognition of Irving ‘Magic’ Johnson, and his performance in the 1980s finals for the LA Lakers – specifically game six solidify why the man is amongst the greatest to ever take to the court.
A 20 year old rookie at the time, Magic put on an unprecedented finals performance that has not been matched since: 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
The Lakers would go on to win five titles in the 80s, stamping themselves as one of the best teams of all-time and Magic as one of the greatest NBA players in the sport’s history.
LeBron overcomes his demons to crush the Celtics:
Few players have polarised the sport of basketball more than LeBron James.
The man they call the King did all he could to get his native city of Cleveland its maiden title, but it never eventuated, with a long-standing rivalry with the Boston Celtics – their Eastern Conference foes – getting the best of the King, who could never seem to find his best form when it mattered most against the Cs.
Fast forward several years later, with the King now in Miami, but again starring down the barrel of a Eastern Conference series defeat against the Celtics who led 3-2, LeBron overcame his opponents and his own demons to record one of the great playoff performances of all-time, dropping 45 points (on 19-of-26 shooting), grabbed 15 rebounds and handed out five assists.
It was the coming of age the King needed to prove he had what it took to perform when it truly mattered. The Heat would go on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals – with James named Finals MVP.
Michael Jordan’s flu game:
It is hard to pick just one moment of a glittering Micheal Jordan’s career, but MJ’s infamous ‘flu game’ in 1997 where he battled not only his opponents the Utah Jazz, but a debilitating illness proved that not only was Mike one of the most skilled players to ever take to the court, but had the mental fortitude to match.
Jordan was so sick and lethargic that he needed his teammates’ assistance to get from the floor to the huddle for timeouts. An illness that would leave most athletes absolutely floored did nothing to quell the influence of MJ, who torched the Utah Jazz to the tune of 38 points, handing the Bulls a 3-2 lead in the series.
Reggie Miller scores eight points in 8.9 seconds of game time:
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Before Reggie Miller was an ESPN analyst, the former Pacer personified the phrase ‘you either love him or hate him’ – and few franchises in sports history hated Miller more than the New York Knicks.
The venom from both player and crowd reached a crescendo in game one of the 1995 Eastern Conference finals when the Knicks fan-base, and specifically die-hard Knick and famed director Spike Lee taunted Miller relentlessly through the match, and it seemed to get in the heads of the Pacers – but not Miller.
The Knicks controlled the match and seemed to have it in hand towards the end of the game, with the Pacers needing to make up a six-point deficit in the final 18.7 seconds to win the game.
Miller put on a scoring display in the last moments of the match that will go down as one of the most dominant in the NBA’s history, and not one to miss an opportunity; Miller’s final shots – two free throws – were nailed with consummate ease, taunting the crowd while doing so.
Miller would end the game with 31 points, the Pacers would complete the unlikely victory and go on to win the series in game seven.
Ray Allen’s clutch three-pointer against the Spurs:
Each of the preceding moments in this list have included huge stat lines and magnificent game-long displays, but few can live up to the drama and exquisite skill execution quite like Ray Allen’s game-tying three point shot for the Heat against the Spurs in game six, 2013.
The Heat were facing home court elimination, down by three points with less than 20 seconds to go, LeBron James – the Heat’s designated big shot taker – fires up a three that rims out, teammate Chris Bosh secures the rebound and kicks it out to Ray Allen, who, in a moment of sheer brilliance both in court awareness and calmness under immense pressure, finds the three point line and nails the shot to tie the scores.
Few would even know Allen’s ending box-score (shooting only 3-8 from the field), but his shot will forever go down in NBA folklore as one of the greatest clutch shots in the sport’s history. The Heat went on to win game six 103-100, and eventually the series.