Greatest Moments in NBA Finals History

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Greatest Moments in NBA Finals History
Was Michael Jordan falling into Scottie Pippen's arms the greatest NBA Finals moment? (Courtesy of AP)

Picking the greatest moment in NBA finals history depends a lot on your definitions.

First, what is a moment? For me, it's a play, an appearance, a tableau. A moment only lasts a moment.

For example, some will tell you Michael Jordan's flu game was a great NBA Finals moment. I can't agree. You see, it was a great game, not a great moment.

But at the contest's end, when MJ fell into Scottie Pippen's arms…that was a moment.

Next what makes it the greatest? Well, the greatest moment has to have infinite staying power. It had to directly affect a pivotal finals game, or perhaps win the championship outright.

And with one exception, the greatest moments are from the NBA's golden era of the 1980s until now. That's because the moment can only be truly great if the sport is great, and until the '80s, though there was terrific basketball being played, professional basketball experienced uneven popularity: Its nadir was the late '70s, where Finals broadcasts were, unbelievably, shown on tape-delay.

So for example, this shot by Julius "Dr. J" Erving, which I used to play over and over again in slow motion just to marvel at, doesn't make the list—even though it defies every natural law of physics.

Bearing those definitions in mind, what is the greatest Finals moment?

They are listed in ascending order, from fifth to first.

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