• Gus Saltonstall

Top 15 Fan Moments of the NBA Season

Sporting News

With the NBA season winding down it seems like the right time to reflect on the unique pleasure that is the 82 game campaign.

Baskets were made, charges were taken, and many predictable scenarios played out in the way one would expect. The Golden State Warriors are at the top of the Western Conference, Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden are battling it out for the MVP crown, and the New York Knicks still stink.

Other narratives didn’t go at all as predicted. Chiefly amongst them LeBron James and the Lakers not making the playoffs, but also the sustained excellence of the Denver Nuggets, the inconsistency of the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers ability to survive after the injury to superstar Victor Oladipo.

Plenty of top ten lists will come out in honor of the culmination of the NBA season. The top 10 plays, dunks, assists and blocks will all serve as fun videos. However, none of them will honor all the truly entertaining moments that make the NBA the greatest league in the world.

Here’s a ‘Fans Top 15 Moments of the NBA Season’.

15. Luka Doncic step back 3’s

Luka Doncic wasted no time proving his ability on the NBA level. The hype machine surrounding the then 19-year-old rookie from Slovenia was operating at full throttle in the pre-season, and the 6-foot-7, 218 pound guard has still smashed the lofty expectations.

The most fun part of his game has been his already patented step-back threes he takes when going to his left. He’s amongst the lead leaguers in the category and it gets fans fired up every time he even attempts one.

14. Kawhi Leonard’s laugh at his introductory press conference.

Easily one of the biggest moments in the NBA Twitter world of the season, the perfect meme, and in many ways the signifier of the beginning of the viral landscape that is the NBA season. It was an astonishing clip from Leonard’s introductory press conference, from the fact that it was a product of Kawhi’s inability to articulate what he does outside of basketball, to dropping a wild, “I’m a fun guy”—before unleashing the laugh heard around the world.

13. Sacramento Kings announcers reacting to Bogdan Bogdanovic’s game winner.

The Kings’ announcer Grant Napear is a bit of a legend in the NBA world with his, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE THAT, YOU DON’T LIKE NBA BASKETBALL. It doesn’t even matter if you like the call, it just matters that basically the whole NBA community knows it.

Former NBA player Doug Christie is Napear’s booth partner and the two had an all time reaction to Bogdan Bogdanovic nailing a game winner against the Lakers.

Everything from the shot, to Christie’s facial expression, to Napear so clearly dying to break out his signature call—it’s one of the best moments of the season.

12. J Cole almost throwing it down during the dunk contest.

For some reason this just got me more excited than anything else that happened in the dunk contest. It doesn’t even matter that he missed the dunk. The collection of the reaction of the All-Stars on the bench, with Cole’s smile and the way the commentators handled the whole thing. Just a great seven seconds.

11. Jeremy Lamb vs. the Toronto Raptors X2

Jeremy Lamb might single handily ruined relations between the United States and Canada. The UConn Huskie product hit two game-winners against the Toronto Raptors in the span of two weeks.

The first of the two was just a casual heave from half court, down by two and the clock showing 0.00 by the time the attempt landed. Watching Kemba Walker go through an emotional roller coaster during the whole sequence might actually be the best part.

10. New Orleans Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, forget they don’t have a timeout and lose the game by one on a technical free throw.

The fact that this actually happened in a NBA game is absurd. I want to say that it was somehow the product of either Anthony Davis tampering or Chris Webber announcing the game somewhere.

Watching Alvin Gentry trying to play it off like he didn’t call a timeout is also laugh out loud funny.

9. Dwyane Wade with just a preposterous game winner against Golden State.

Dwyane Wade balling out for the Miami Heat in his last season in the NBA has been one of the best storylines of the year. The highlight of the farewell tour has got to be the Flash’s incredible double pump, game winner against the mighty Golden State Warriors.

The clip was also one of the most shared highlights of the entire season across all social media platforms.

8. Serge Ibaka vs. Marquese Chriss

It just kind of seemed like there was a real lack of fighting during the 2018-19 season. Obviously it’s never good to be a proponent of physical conflict, but I’m glad Serge Ibaka stepped up to keep a little bit of the fighting energy up for the entire league.

It was also a great moment for how little Chriss does to provoke such a direct attack from Ibaka.

7. Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks 4OT Game

The game might not have counted for anything, but completely removed from meaningful context, it was the best game of the NBA season. Only 13 games in NBA history have ever gone to quadruple overtime and the amount of big shots hit on both sides of the court was crazy to watch.

The Bulls ended up prevailing eventually 168-161, but the highlight of the game was the battle between Trae Young and Zach LaVine. The two accounted for a casual 96 points.

6. Jayson Tatum Wins the Skills Challenge from half court.

What you didn’t know was that’s exactly where Tatum wanted to be. Tatum allowed Trae Young to have just a little sense of false hope and then bang. The bank is always open for the impossibly smooth Celtic.

It has to be the boss move of the season.

5. The Coyote takes down a bat in San Antonio.

For what seemed like a two-week stretch of time bats were absolutely on the loose in San Antonio. It got to the point where it was happening every night, and with no Manu “Bat Tamer” Ginobili in the arena—the good people of San Antonio had no answer for the flying creatures.

Someone had to step up.

The Coyote wrangling the bat, and the whole arena exploding in jubilation has to be one of the best moments of the season.

4. Image of LeBron sitting on the bench by himself/LeBron passing MJ in scoring

To play with LeBron James is to play a part in a circus. No one, not even the mighty Warriors, attract nearly as much media attention as the team LeBron James is playing on. The Lakers weren’t very good at basketball this season, but my God did they supply drama.

The picture of LeBron sitting on the bench alone with the rest of the Lakers team on the other side, in the midst of the Anthony Davis trade saga, made me gasp. It blew twitter up and was a huge moment in the NBA season.

On a similar level of importance LeBron also passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list. Jordan and LeBron are two players that will have their names intertwined for all of time. Say what you want about the King, but on some level all you can do is respect the consistency of his incredible output.

3. Mario Hezonja putting LeBron and Giannis in his back pocket

Mario Hezonja fears no man, man shall feareth Mario Hezonja. I’m not positive this is written in some type of book of worship, but I also can’t be sure it’s not. Hezonja is a giant killer and the NBA community lost its mind on both these highlight plays from the regular season.

First putting the Greek Freak on a poster and then having the audacity to step over him.

Followed by blocking LeBron James at the buzzer and then staring into the King’s soul after winning the battle.

2. Russell Westbrook puts up a 20-20-20 triple-double in honor of Nipsey Hussle.

Say what you want about Russell Westbrook. Say what you want about the stat hunting, the poor shooting numbers, or the Oklahoma City Thunder’s inability to win games in the latter half of the season.

However, there is a reason no other player has averaged a triple-double for a whole season since Oscar Robertson. There is a reason that no other player in NBA history has put up a 20-20-20 stat line besides the great Wilt Chamberlain.

What Westbrook did April, 2nd against the Lakers is one of the great feats in the NBA of the past 40 years, and it was made all the more powerful by the Thunder guard yelling, “That’s for Nipsey!” in honor of the fallen rapper gunned down earlier in the week.

1. Derrick Rose scores 50 points and gets emotional in the post-game interview.

No moment had the NBA community more in its feels then the Derrick Rose 50-point game against the Utah Jazz. The youngest ever MVP has obviously had his string of major injuries in the past years and his strong play all season has been one of the best parts of the 82-game campaign.

Rose gets emotional in the post-game interview and it's hard not to do the same watching it.

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