NBA Finals is one of the most memorable sporting events each calendar year. It is the battleground of champions, a truly intense and blood-chilling experience of thrill and fear for players, coaches, fans, and those who love indulging in NBA betting.
In its 72 years of existence, the NBA has been the coronation ground for basketball icons like Michael Jordan, Willis Reed, Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, and many iconic basketball stars. In basketball, especially the NBA, this is where stars are made and the history books forged.
This article contains a concise review of the 8 top moments in the history of the NBA Finals. While we have compiled this list for you, they’re not ranked in any order. So, let’s get to it.
1. Gar Heard Supernaturally Scores to Tie-Game 4, 1976
This shot announced the arrival of Celtics legend Gar Heard to NBA fans worldwide. Losing by only one point, Bolton Celtics could use extra help in reviving the game and turning the tides in their favor. However, John Havlicek scored an amazing shot that seemed to have sealed the victory for the Phoenix Suns.
Fans were already in delirium, but there were still a few seconds until the game ended. While Phoenix requested a timeout, they weren’t given, and the Celtics had a free throw. Heard took that shot to place them three points ahead at the end of the match.
2. Kareem Scores a Sky Hook – Game 6 1974 Finals
Averaging 32.6 points plus 12.1 rebounds in Game 6 in the 1974 NBA Finals, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit a record-breaking shot, which gave the Bucks a 102-101 double-overtime win against the Celtics.
The Abdul-Jabbar SkyHook is still talked about even in 2022. This shows how important and iconic it was. Following this performance, the Celtics would go on to win the series in game seven.
3. Michael Jordan, the Flu Game – Game 5, 1997
Michael Jordan had no business being on the court for game 5 in the NBA Finals in 1997 as he was severely ill from food poisoning a day before the game, yet he took part and delivered a blinding performance that will go down in history.
Though MJ appeared exhausted, he kept a laser-focused vision on the battle as he delivered astounding performances, rounding up with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a game-winner. While he was too tired to speak with the press after the game, he delivered where it mattered – on the court.
4. Gerald Henderson’s Saving Steal – Game 2 1984 Finals
With two points down and less than 17 seconds to the end of the round, the Boston Celtics desperately needed a savior. As he had done on several occasions, Gerald Henderson stepped up just at the right time to save the day.
Henderson interrupted Magic Johnson’s pass to James Worth, deflecting, stealing the ball, and turning the tides to a tie. Then, the Bolton Celtics moved over to gain victory in the Finals in overtime.
5. Ray Allen: Three Pointer – Game 7, 2013
Ray Allen made a 3-point clutch in Game 6 in the NBA Finals in 2013. This was a story changer for San Antonio Spurs and even placed Ray’s shot among icons like LeBron, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Dwayne Wade, and other amazing shooters. Only a handful of shots made history like Ray Allen’s at the 2013 Finals.
6. Magic Johnson and the Baby Hook – Game 4 1987
Magic Johnson proved his in-depth prowess in the 1987 Finals while playing the Boston Celtics again. Lagging by one point with less than 7 seconds countdown, the Lakers were walking on a thread and about to lose. Then, Magic Johnson conjured his magic.
He took over the ball, dribbled, and leaped over Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Larry Bird to score a 3-points lead over the Boston Celtics.
Magic’s move took the Lakers to attain their fourth championship title in over eight years.
7. Kobe Bryant’s 81-Point Game – 2006 Finals
Kobe’s 81 point-game is one of the most remarkable individual performances in history at the 2006 NBA Finals. The late iconic Black Mamba had many extraordinary performances, but that match was a record-breaker.
This was a defining moment for Kobe and one of his greatest performances. It was also the second-highest points haul in one game in the NBA Finals, following Wilt’s 100-point.
8. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game – 1962 Finals
Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-peat is, in fact, the most notable individual performance in the history of the NBA Finals. Before Kobe Bryant’s awe-inspiring 81-point performance in 2006, there was Chamberlain’s.
Chamberlain’s odds-defying performance in the 1962 Finals with the Knicks set the whole world ablaze and has since stood unrivaled. It’s worth noting that this record was set over 60 years, and with the way things are going, there’s a huge possibility of it lasting for another 60 years. A truly remarkable performance.
The Bottom Line
These are undoubtedly some of the most amazing, jaw-dropping, and mind-blowing performances in the history of the NBA Finals. Many fans were left stunned by these moments, many cried for joy, a lot cried in anguish and disappointment, and many records were set and shattered in the process.
The NBA Finals are moments that make individuals, as we have seen with cult heroes like Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan, to mention but a few. In the future, the hope is that a new set of NBA teams and stars will stand up and deliver amazing performances that could rival some of the ones on this list. That’s the beauty of the game, and that’s what all true fans want to see.