Welcome back to the "Greatest Ever" series as we rank the most interesting moments of NBA history.
History is written by winners and by people who leave a strong mark on something, a good or bad thing that they're remembered for.
The NBA is filled with the most talented players playing in the strongest league in the basketball world. Over the past 10 years, there have been some basketball moments that, regardless whether you're a fan of that particular team or that particular player, make you feel good to just be a fan of this global game. These are the moments that make players legends and stay in your memory forever.
The first decade of the 2000s was marked by a couple dynasties (Spurs, Lakers) and the coming of future ones (Heat, Blazers, Thunder). The decade featured arguably three of the best players ever in Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, with the likes of LeBron James ready to jump into that debate soon.
Here are the best moments from the 2000s!
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the best players in NBA history. He's also a very unique person—many will miss him when he retires.
He's arguably the biggest physical freak. He has a raw mix of athleticism, size, skills and power, all of which have made him a dominating center in the 2000s.
He is one of the most dominant players; however, no one was more unstoppable or stronger on the court than he was. Shaq was No.1 in terms of making an impact, drawing fouls, etc. He was an incredibly valuable player.
He won the All-Star MVP first, then his first and only regular-season MVP award and finally added the second scoring title of his career. To crown that season, he went on to average 38 points and 17 rebounds along with three blocks to earn the Finals MVP Trophy, a Championship ring and he started the Lakers three-peat.
Tim Duncan is regarded as the finest power forward and one of the greatest players in NBA history.
He's arguably the most consistent player ever. He has great skills, is fundamentally sound and is a very smart player. And he doesn't care about stats. He shares those attributes with the great Bill Russell.
In the 2002-03 season, he had yet another double-double in stats and was awarded the league's regular-season MVP. He then exploded in the Finals, averaging 24 points,17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks while earning Finals MVP honors.
He became the last player to win those two awards in a row. We're still waiting on the next one.
This was the year Kobe shut down haters, everyone who went against him, yet he didn't get the credit he should have gotten.
He put too much effort in the three-peat for Los Angeles during 2000-02, when Shaq proved that he should be in the debate of best player ever. But for the numbers that he had, the clutch shots that he made...
However, that still didn't get him the respect he should have gotten way earlier, because most of the fans who were not from LA demolished his achievements. In 2003, he was distracted by the assault charge in Colorado and he didn't do well. Between the arrival of Pau and after Shaq era, he was called a ball hog...
In other ways, his 32.4 points, 7.6 assists and 5.4 boards displayed his skills and explains why he stands tall in the debate of the best ever. He became the first player since Jerry West to have at least 30 points and seven dimes and is the last one since Jordan to have at least 30/5/5 in a series.
After that, he earned so much respect.
LeBron James, who is now arguably the best player in the NBA, decided that the Cavaliers were not the franchise with which he would win his championship.
It's not as if he didn't want to earn rings there, he just couldn't win one. He took the Cavs to their first NBA Finals ever, but lost in a sweep to the more experienced and stronger Spurs. The Cavaliers then had the best record for two straight seasons, but failed to win in the postseason.
LeBron led the Cavs to success, earned major respect, achievement, awards and two back-to-back MVPs, but did not take his game to that level needed for Cleveland to win a championship. In the meantime, the NBA competition got stronger.
He has major all-time great statistics, such as finishing third in scoring average, recording 28 triple-doubles, attaining third-best scoring average in the playoffs and reaching the Top 10 in triple-doubles in both the regular season and the playoffs.
Blame it on him, blame it on the coach, on his teammates who never gave the impression that they were helping him out there, blame it on the GM and owner who never brought him a true All-Star when they had the chance to go after Amar'e, etc.
He played seven years of golden basketball in Cleveland. It was a difficult situation for LeBron to be in, but you should at least wish him luck in trying to win couple of championships in Miami and end up in the Greatest Of All Time debate.
Don't demolish his talent by the fact that he's awful as a person. Respect him as a player, not as a person—which I sure don't.
In the 2004 NBA Finals, the underdog Detroit Pistons went head to head with the Los Angeles Lakers, who at that point had already grabbed four titles in five years, a sign that they were a dynasty and a team to fear.
The Pistons were, on paper, not really better at anything. They didn't have two of the best players in the game that LA had in O'Neal and Bryant, their veterans were no Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Larry Brown was a great coach but he wasn't at the level of Phil Jackson....
They were outmatched and the Lakers were smelling another NBA Championship to add to their collection—but they got nothing. Detroit shocked the world by beating the favourites in a near sweep, 4-1. Chauncey Billups earned the Finals MVP.
Rasheed was lights-out on three-point shots, Big Ben Wallace came of age as Defensive Player Of The Year, Rip Hamilton outplayed Kobe and Prince played all-time great defense on Kobe. These were pretty much the keys for the Pistons' first title since the Bad Boys era in Detroit.
This was arguably the most interesting Finals in the 2000s that wasn't a sweep (or near one), which was the case for most of the decade's Finals.
The San Antonio Spurs, led by Mr. Fundamentals himself, Tim Duncan, with rising stars like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, led the team to a title against the defending champion Detroit Pistons in seven games. Timmy was the biggest key for the title.
He averaged 20 points and 14 rebounds per game against the pretty good defensive big-men combination of Big Ben and Rasheed Wallace. He posted 25 points and 11 rebounds in Game 7 to earn his third Finals MVP.
More San Antonio Spurs history. They are just born winners, you may think. Anyway, the French can claim the first European player ever to win a Finals MVP. Tony Parker did that by averaging 24.5 points per game on 56.8 percent from the field. That's a huge achievement in Tony's incredible career.
Another great moment of the 2000s came in Boston, when they first got Kevin Garnett, then Ray Allen in the offseason, to team up with Mr. Pierce.
"The Truth," as Shaq once called him, and which later became his nickname, Pierce is one of the greatest small forwards to play the game. He will most likely go down as one of the five best players in the history of the Celtics' storied franchise.
His offensive arsenal is insane, with a nice jump shot, the ability to get to the line, fade-away and pull-up shots and so on. He's good overall as he's on his way to become the all-time leading scorer in the Celtics franchise, which is a great achievement.
But the best moment of them all came in 2008 with his great performances of 21.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game to earn the Finals MVP and his first NBA Championship ever.
Yes, another story about the Finals MVP, and this is one of the most impressive. It doesn't just rank in this 10-year span, it ranks as one of the best moments the league has ever seen. It comes from the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, who put a show.
If anyone did the best Jordan impression, it would have to have been Wade's in getting so many trips the line, a rarely seen thing for a guard since Michael himself. Anyway, his clutch playing and killer instinct showed up in these moments.
He put the team on his shoulders and averaged 34.7 points along with nearly eight boards and four assists, leading the Heat to their first title ever. His scoring average in the Finals was the third-highest ever, and he scored over 38 three times.
He did all of that despite his team being down, 0-2. Now, he's teamed up with other great players like LeBron and Bosh. The question is, can they win many titles? I think they will.
There's no better way to place Shaquille in the greatest of all time debate than to simply show his fantastic performances in the Finals.
Yes, that's right, the Shaq Attack was the most dominant through those three years of the 2000s, as he earned three Finals MVP awards in a row and three straight NBA Championships, which speak to his insane domination of the league.
He averaged superb stats in all three Finals series, with 38, 33 and 36 points, alongside 16.7, 15.6 and 12.3 rebounds and 3.4, 2.8 and 2.7 blocks per game, which are the highest-scoring averages in the Finals for any big men.
Not to mention that his rebounding averages are one of the finest in the history of modern basketball. He proved that he's excellent all around and at defense as well.
He also became one of two players (Jordan is the other) to have three Finals MVP Trophies, and one of the rare legends to win at least three straight NBA Championships (Russell, Jordan, Kobe are among those).
When you think of Dwight Howard, you think of defense, athleticism and rebounding. In those areas of basketball, he's simply a beast!
Let's focus on the rebounding part. He's a machine who's got a really good vertical jump for a big man and is a strong, athletic and skilled center who has excelled at all aspects of the game, which makes him so valuable.
He recently broke the record of the great Wilt Chamberlain in leading the NBA in total boards five times in a row. Can he do it six in a row?
Yes, another slide about rebounders. Kevin Garnett is one of the best rebounders in NBA history. Perhaps his best argument is his stats: He successfully led the league in rebounds per game an incredible four times from 2003 to 2007.
Steve Nash is one of the game's biggest overachievers of all time, putting his game on an entirely different level for the Phoenix Suns.
This guy just went off for two seasons, leading the Suns deep into the playoffs, leading four times in total assists through this decade and, his biggest achievement of all, winning back-to-back MVP awards.
LeBron James and Tim Duncan are two of the best and best-known players in the world. The fine Timmy is arguably the best at his position while James is still a work in progress, but will eventually end up there.
They are also the two other players who won back-to-back MVPs.
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant have been rivals ever since 2004 when Shaq left the city of Angels, and they had an incredible number of feuds between them.
But there was a time when their two huge egos were put aside, and they combined their strengths and greatness to give the Lakers fans "Showtime."
In 2002, the Sacramento Kings gave them a headache as they needed seven games to finish the Kings off.
Shaq and Kobe took care of the knockout as the big fella had 35 points and 13 rebounds while Kobe had 30 points, 10 boards and seven assists. They also brought three titles to the city of NBA legends, as I like to call LA.
Real Showtime came in the 2000s after Showtime in the 1980s.
Kobe and Shaq, when they played well together, often put the opponent in trouble. If you double team the big fella inside, Kobe will make you pay, and if you double Bryant on the perimeter, Shaq will make you pay.
In another great display of teamwork, both won the NBA All-Star Game MVP!
Another great performance that happened in the 2000s has a lot of meaning as well, when two of the best big men in NBA history, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan, who both can be argued to be No. 1 at their positions, played well together and earned the All-Star Game Co-MVP honors in 2000.
LeBron James is one of the best players during playoffs. He has no trouble at all taking over games when it matters and dominating. That's right. During that game, James played well, putting the Cavaliers on his shoulders. And that jump shot was just....phenomenal!
Here is the link:
Let's not forget that dude even averaged 38 points, eight assists and eight rebounds against the Orlando Magic during those playoffs. Wow...just wow.
LeBron James has had excellent moments in his career and this is one of his best. He likes to torch the Detroit Pistons and he has done so often. But his 48 points, nine rebounds and seven assists against favorite Detroit in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals were...wow!
That included 25 points in the last quarter as well. The dude is a beast. Here is the link:
Kobe Bryant is often recognized as one of the game's finest players of all time. The reason is his ability to score fearlessly in the clutch. There's a reason that Kobe has been a warrior his entire career.
He's too competitive to let himself or his team go down. When you are down, he wants to keep you at it and has proven that many times in his career. In 2009-10 season, it was Kobe all over the buzzer-beaters at Showtime!
Kobe Bryant is regarded as one of the best scorers to ever touch a basketball. His ability to score in so many ways is what makes him a threat. But luckily for the defense, sometimes he's around 45 percent, which is little off.
Anyway, Bryant led the league four times in total points while capturing two scoring titles, which makes him by far the top-scoring player in the decade. He has had many games with 40, 50, even 60 points! Anyone remember the game where the Lakers faced Dallas? By the end of the third quarter, it was Kobe 62, Dallas 61...
Kobe Bryant scored a crazy 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, which is the second-highest number of points that a single player has ever scored.
He scored all that despite his team being down by 18 at one point in the game. That's probably the best scoring performance caught on camera in NBA history (Wilt's 100 weren't), and he also nailed 12 from downtown, which is another record.
Note: Drazen Petrovic's 112 points tops everything. :D
If you are a Kobe fan, this must have been a pretty bad moment for you, but if you are an AI fan, then I am sure you are happy.
Anyway, the battle of arguably the best perimeter players of the decade happened in the Finals as the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers, led by Iverson, shocked the world. He scored an insane 46 points against Kobe. Wow...and did we forget to mention the crossover on Tyronn Lue and that move...
O'Neal flirted with the first quadruple-double in Finals history with 28 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists and a record-tying eight blocked shots. That was a game against the Defensive Player Of The Year, Mr. Dikembe Mutombo himself.
Timmy scored 21 points and added 20 rebounds, 10 assists and eight blocks in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the SBC Center to eliminate the Nets.
Ray Allen against the Heat looked like the best version of himself, nailing seven three-pointers, which is a tough thing to do. The guy is hard to contain and his shots hard to contest, especially since you have to battle your way through those picks.
Anyway, in Game 2 of the 2010 Finals, Ray burned the Lakers nice and sweet with eight three-pointers. Wow...that's a new playoff and finals record. A beast indeed.
"Ray Ray for three.....and it goes in!!!"
This came from the announcers who broadcast the 2008 Finals between Boston and LA, which ended in a victory for the rivals from the East. The dude is a three-point machine who will most likely set a new record and surpass Reggie Miller's very soon.
He hit 269 three-pointers during the 2005-06 season. Amazing!
Dirk Nowitzki is a talented offensive player who plays from the perimeter, though he should be more inside since he's a small forward with a body of a power forward. But he has improved his post game, and his turnaround jump shot is nearly impossible to block.
He's also a productive rebounder, passer and good overall. With teammate Nash, he was nearly the worst in defense for some time, but with Avery Johnson as his coach, he has shown some progress and he's now above average.
In 2007, he earned the regular-season MVP Award for leading Dallas to 67 wins! He's the first and only player from Europe so far to win that award. He's also the first player not born in North America to make the All-Star Game.
In the 2005-06 season, Dirk Nowitzki joined the All-Star Game's Three-Point Shootout Contest. His competition included guards like Ray Allen and Gilbert Arenas, who was actually great at that point of his career.
But it didn't stop the big fella from topping them all and winning the contest with the last money ball. He's the first and so far only seven-footer to ever win the Three-Point Shootout Contest!
Jason Kidd, according to some fans of the game, is the best point guard in NBA history. That speaks a lot for the greatness of this point guard who's known for his all-around game and ability to get all those triple-doubles.
Speaking of triple-doubles, in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, Kidd averaged 17.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists for the New Jersey Nets. He achieved this feat again in the first round of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Raptors by averaging 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 13.2 assists per game.
Kidd finished with averages of 14.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists in 12 games during the 2007 NBA playoffs, which makes him only one of two players to ever do so. He's the leader in total triple-doubles in the 2000s.
What's the greatest thing that T-Mac has done in his career?Perhaps this video is the answer to it,enjoy
Tracy McGrady was one of the biggest candidates in the debate of the league's top players at one of his career.
The dude was an amazing scorer,with smooth touch from just about anywhere,had a sweet post up game for a forward/guard,can hit turn around,fade away shots and so on.He can also drive to the rim well thanks to his athleticism and quick first step.
He had the quickest first step in the NBA for years.Anyway,he was fantastic scorer who led the NBA twice in a row,in scoring.He captured 2 back to back scoring titles!
Allen Iverson is often recognized as one the game's greatest scorers and it's for a good reason.His ability to get himself to the rim thanks to his quickness,nice crossover and IQ to use his body to draw contact that often sent him to the line
He was small man who barely stood at 6'0 feet,but had a huge heart,as he led the Philadelphia 76ers to a Finals trip in 2000 but eventually lost to the champions,Lakers.He won the scoring titles in 2000,2001 and 2004
All of those came with averages above 30.He had 31.1,31.4 and 30.7 points in all of those successful years for him
On the 19th November in 2004,the hometown Detroit Pistons team took on the visiting Indiana Pacers in a regular season match up where the visiting team,got the win 92-87.But what's so important about that game?
This is the answer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3nOFLCprtE
Watch,this tells best
In 2007,the eight seed Golden State Warriors faced off with the first seed the Dallas Mavericks who were coming off an incredible 67 win season.
Even though the Mavs had trouble to the Warriors in the regular season as they lost in the direct match up against them.In the playoffs,the Warriors led by Baron Davis succeed to pull a major upset,placing them in the history of the NBA for doing.
That's the first upset where the 8th seed beats the 1st seed after the Nuggets pull a surprise on the Sonics in the 90's
Kevin Pritchard is one of the best General Managers in the NBA whose intelligence alone was the key for building the Portland Trail Blazers into one of the best teams right now with one of the brightest futures as well.
He managed to get the draft rights in the 2006 draft,in order to get with the #2 pick Aldridge and using the #6 pick to get Roy,one of the most important players that are now the face of the Blazers franchise and successful player
He also created this future dynasty,with drafting in 2007,Greg Oden at #1,a defensive minded big man who with should learn how to score.He was drafted especially because the Blazers were desperate in important aspects like rebounding,shot blocking,defense and easy points inside
Andrea Bargnani is the next coming Dirk Nowitzki,a guy with great shooting abilities for a big man,mobility and ball handling skills who's learning to produce on the boards and defense.
His selection at the #1 pick,made him the first European born player to get drafted.So far in his career,in the NBA,he averaged nearly 14 points per game with 4.8 boards.His best season was actually last season when he had career high 17.2 points,6.2 boards,47% FG and 37.7% 3 pt FG...
He was close to an All Star selection,so it's not a bad pick for the Raptors
In many ways,the debate who should have been the #1 pick in 2007 and wearing the Blazers jersey,it's still active despite it's been 3 years after.
Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?One of the greatest sports debates of all time.Both players were not miss type of players in college,were different from each other,yet so good in what they do.The big man,Oden is a guy that brings defense to the table but Durant brings offense.
There were two solutions.The first one,was to draft the big fella who dominated in college with his defense and would brought,everything what the Blazers need:defense,rebounding,easy points in the paint and nice compliment to Aldridge,Roy.He doesn't ask for too many scoring chances yet would produce so much for the team without even scoring points
The second call,was get Kevin Durant,a guy who dominated with his offense in college.He could play as a power forward who would damage teams with his scoring and shooting abilities,is solid on the boards and can use his length to be good defender.Durant,Roy and Aldridge would be super scoring trio of their own but there would be problems with who should get the shots,etc.However the lack of boards,blocks would still be on
The Blazers selected the first option.Oden's career is so far dominated by injuries but when healthy,he is a dominate defender in the interior,man to man,is strong on the boards,is good at picks and scores well in the paint.That showed last year until injury stroke again.
On the other hand,Durant went to OKC where he became an All Star and captured scoring title.Was that a bad decision?Maybe,but i would still say it's not.Oden needs to be just healthy and he will dominate again like he did in the previous season and can become All Star
Vince Carter is arguable the greatest dunker in the history of the NBA,who has everything what a fantastic dunker of his caliber should have:style,power,hang time,unseen dunks.
He has showed that his entire career as a pro and surprising people with his ability to throw it down like few have.In the 2000 Dunk Contest,he did sick dunks,that got him the title but most of all,he earned the reputation of the game's finest dunker
That's the dunk contest and here is it:
His top 10 dunks of his career
Jason Richardson is one of the top 10 shooting guards in the NBA,who's such a beast even now.Back in the day,he could dunk with a phenomenal style.The dude,had some of the finest dunks ever seen in the NBA.
He won 2 dunk contest titles and here are the links of them
Dwight Howard is dubbed as Superman and this is why
Now that you've read this article, please comment and feel free to add a historical moment of the 2000s that you feel should be here, because the writer cannot get everything.