Best NBA Photos of 2013

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 25, 2013

Best NBA Photos of 2013

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Posterizing dunks. Injuries and ensuing returns to action. Celebrations and clutch shots. Heart-stopping rejections. Uniform oddities. 

    Unsurprisingly, 2013 has provided us with quite a few memorable NBA moments, starting with the closing portion of the 2012-13 season and running through the Christmas slate of games. 

    The stars are out in full force throughout this slideshow as we recap the year's best images. From the 2013 NBA Finals and LeBron James' euphoric display to the current futility of the New York Knicks, it's all here. 

    That said, there are only 25 spots and literally thousands of images to choose from. It's impossible to cover everything, so make sure you leave your favorite ones in the comment section below. 

Kobe Bryant Creates a Poster

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Kobe Bryant victimized not one, but two members of the 2012-13 Brooklyn Nets on this drive to the basket. 

    As the Mamba rose up and threw down a sensational dunk, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace helplessly flailed their way into a mutual high five, missing the ball entirely before entering this pose. 

You Don't See This Every Day

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    Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

    There's just something special about seeing identical twins playing for the same team. 

    After the Phoenix Suns acquired Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets for a second-round pick, pairing him with Markieff Morris become more than a possibility. It was a reality. 

R.I.P. Brandon Knight

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    DeAndre Jordan didn't exactly take it easy on Brandon Knight when he slammed home this monstrous dunk, sending the Detroit Pistons floor general to the ground, where he lay in a prone position. 

    On one hand, good for Knight. It takes guts to contest a dunk like this. Then again, just get out of the way and save yourself the embarrassment. 

Sleeves?

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    A new trend began in the NBA when the Golden State Warriors unveiled their sleeved jerseys, which you can see Harrison Barnes modeling up above. 

    Unfortunately, most view this as a negative trend. 

LeBron James Is Mean to Jason Terry

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    Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkxcY45bP2U

    When the alley-oop was tossed up to LeBron James, Jason Terry should've gotten out of the way. He had no business standing in the path of an unstoppable freight train. 

    But he didn't, and the rest is history. And by "the rest," I mean the ensuing posterization, embarrassing fall to the court and technical foul-inducing staredown that was totally worth it. 

Terrence Ross Goes Behind His Back

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    It should not be possible to dunk a ball from this position. 

    But Terrence Ross proved he could do the impossible while winning the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. This year's contest wasn't particularly special, but it's hard to look at this picture and not wonder how in the world the second-year wing player could complete the play.

R.I.P. Brandon Knight, Part 2

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    The 2013 portion of the 2012-13 season was not kind to Brandon Knight. 

    One of the highlights of All-Star Weekend had to be Kyrie Irving's sick handles, as his crossovers and behind-the-back dribbles put Knight on skates. Broken ankles in their truest non-literal form. 

Kobe Bryant Goes Down

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    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Not all images are happy ones, and such is the case for this shot of Kobe Bryant sitting on the ground of the Staples Center after tearing his Achilles tendon against the Golden State Warriors. 

    The Mamba would get up and sink two free throws during a close game, then he retreated to the locker room, ending his 2012-13 season a bit too soon. 

The End of an Era

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    One of the NBA season's most poignant moments came when Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett embraced, thus ending this era of Boston Celtics basketball. 

    At the end of the playoff series with the New York Knicks, everyone knew it was officially over, even if it didn't actually become official until months later. 

Carmelo Anthony Is Denied Entry

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    Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5rxmhZxUQo

    Here's your basic definition of "verticality." 

    Roy Hibbert wasn't going to be dunked on by Carmelo Anthony, and all it took to prevent the slam was an extension of his long left arm...and a lot of force. The Indiana Pacers big man made a lot of impressive plays throughout the 2012-13 season, but this was right up there at the top of the list. 

Mutual Respect

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    Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9v715itxFo

    After Paul George drove the lane and threw down a vicious slam against the Miami Heat during the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James decided to respond with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from well beyond the arc. 

    Before retreating to their respective benches, they found each other at center court (LeBron initiated) and exchanged a high five that spoke volumes. George had earned the MVP's respect, and he'd officially arrived as a superstar. 

The Block to End All Blocks

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    If you listen carefully, you can still hear LeBron James' hand smacking against the ball and stopping Tiago Splitter's dunk attempt in its path. 

    A normal human's hand would've bent backward and been crushed against the rim. But since when has LeBron been a normal human?

Ray Allen's Dagger in Game 6

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    No shot in 2013 was bigger than the one Ray Allen hit during the closing seconds of Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs. 

    With the yellow security ropes circling the court and the San Antonio Spurs ready to celebrate a championship, Allen backpedaled into the corner, took Chris Bosh's feed and drilled the triple to tie the game, completing a miracle for the Miami Heat. 

    As Gregg Popovich told ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Tom Haberstroh,  I've thought about it (the shot) every day."

LeBron Ain't Got No Worries

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    I like to call this the "Hi, haters!" pose. 

    LeBron James deserved to let such an expression cross his face as he celebrated with a championship trophy and Finals MVP in his hands. He'd proven all the doubters wrong yet again, showing that no basketball player could come remotely close to matching his level of dominance in 2013. 

Nothing Can Top This

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There's not much significance to this one, other than the fact that Chris Andersen is celebrating a title. 

    But the picture is still awesome, especially because of the vibrant colors and the sunglasses that Birdman can't possibly see through. 

No One Saw This Coming

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    You have to wonder what was going through Anthony Bennett's head when he was surprisingly named the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. No one saw that coming, as it was generally assumed that three or four other players would be taken before him in some order. 

    You also have to wonder what's going through his head now, as he's struggling more than any No. 1 pick in recent memory. 

A New Super Team(?)

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    This picture looked terrifying when it was first snapped, as no team was realistically going to be able to stop the combined offensive efforts of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez

    Now it just looks hilarious. 

Allen Iverson Retires

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Allen Iverson officially retired from the NBA, and he gave us one last press conference to reflect on everything: the infamous practice rant, his incredible career, his outfits and his personality. 

    A true legend, Iverson will be missed. No matter what question is asked, there will always be "The Answer." 

Derrick Rose Returns

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Derrick Rose may have played during the preseason, but that didn't make his return to action any less special. 

    When he strode out onto the court in front of the home fans at the United Center, waiting to take on the New York Knicks in what would become an 82-81 victory, he was officially back. The roof nearly came off the arena, and goosebumps stood up on the arms of basketball fans everywhere. 

Kobe Bryant Returns

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Speaking of returns, Kobe Bryant made his highly anticipated return against the Toronto Raptors, successfully completing the recovery from the Achilles injury he suffered near the end of the 2013-14 season. 

    At times, it seemed like everyone tuned into this game, waiting to see how the Mamba would fare in his season debut, one that came after signing a massive two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Not Again...

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    Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    I apologize to you for recreating this memory, as this was an image no one wanted to see. 

    Just a handful of games into his 2013-14 campaign, Derrick Rose suffered what would later be revealed as another season-ending injury. The torn meniscus was suffered against the Portland Trail Blazers, and it led to Rose limping out of the locker room on crutches and thoroughly depressing basketball fans around the country. 

Gerald Green Gets Up to Throw Down

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    The Phoenix Suns have been one of the biggest surprises during the 2013-14 season, and part of the credit goes to Gerald Green, who's experiencing a bit of a career resurgence in the desert. 

    As you might expect from the man who has springs in his legs, he's provided fans with plenty of highlights. No image more successfully captures the extreme nature of his athleticism while dunking than this one. 

Andre Iguodala's Game-Winner

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    The 2013-14 season has already blessed us with quite a few buzzer-beating shots, but none were more dramatic than the one Andre Iguodala hit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

    Right after Russell Westbrook hit a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left to take the lead for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Iggy responded with a fadeaway dagger from the corner to put the Dubs back on top. Then Oracle Arena went crazy. 

Summing Up the New York Knicks

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    Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw3RIw-PD-I

    One of the 2013-14 season's biggest stories has been the ridiculous collapse and fall from grace of the New York Knicks, who have continuously found new ways to lose basketball games. 

    They may have beaten the Milwaukee Bucks in a double-overtime contest, but Andrea Bargnani's ill-advised three-pointer at the end of regulation inspired a reaction from the bench that may as well sum up the entire campaign. 

Our Poor Eyes

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

    Leave it to Jason Terry to hypnotize the world on Christmas. 

    Everyone needed something to distract themselves from the ugliness of Brooklyn Nets basketball and the Chicago Bulls uniforms, and Jet provided it. When he was on the court, it wasn't possible to take your eyes off his socks.