Now when another NBA season is already in the books, it is time to start asking real questions. For instance, what is the best NBA moment in history?
Recently, Google News Lab and Polygon collaborated on a project, where they tried to identify the most watched NBA moment on YouTube. To make it happen, they found every NBA video on the platform and filtered out the ones with less than 10.000 views. The views were summed and sorted by the decade, game and play. The moments reach back to the 1980’s.
The results are more than pleasant to watch. Out of the hundred of thousands of videos, here are the top 10 best NBA moments of all time.
10. Kobe Gives Curry Respect After Draining Long Three.
In the 10th place with almost 10 million views, there is a fun moment from 2014-15 regular season. During a meaningless blowout game in Los Angeles, veteran Kobe tries to test MVP-to-be Stephen Curry by pressuring him at the half-court and gets an appropriate response.
Let’s admire that at the time, it was a great honour to get your butt slapped by Kobe.
9. Cavaliers beat the Warriors in the last minute of the game 7.
The entire 2016 season was incredible and marked with many records. The finals were just another case of awesomeness. Cavaliers made history and became the first team to win series despite being down 3-1. Last game of the season, last minute, against the record-setting 73-9 Warriors, on their home court. It doesn’t get better than this.
8. Shaq brings down the basket in New Jersey. Apr 23, 1993
Even in his rookie year, the raw power of Shaq was scary. After his first season, the league had to introduce “Shaq-proof” backboards and started to implement stricter hanging on the rim rules.
7. Jordan blocks Shaq in their first meeting.
Apparently, Shaq breaking the backboard video is not as popular as his first meeting with MJ in 1992-93 season. Michael schooled young Shaq, and the funny thing is that this episode happened in the 23rd second of the game. Welcome to the league, big guy.
6. Stephen Curry scores 46 and a game-winner against Thunder.
The NBA champs are on their way to their 53rd victory in a record season, and Stephen Curry leads the way. Here, he ties the NBA record with 12 three-pointers in a game and knocks down a clutch game winner.
5. Kobe scores 60 and steals the victory from Jazz in his last game.
All-time greats usually leave with a loud bang, and that is what Kobe did here. In his last career game, he scored 60 points, and 17 of that came during his last 3 minutes on the court. Lead by him, Lakers overcame 10 points deficit and stole the victory from Jazz. Hollywood movie worth career ending.
4. Jeremy Lin hits game-winner versus Raptors.
Remember Linsanity? I mean, the hype was real. For a brief period in 2012, Jeremy Lin took the league over by storm. Out of nowhere, the 3rd Knicks point guard started to play at an all-star level, leading Knicks to a series of impressive victories. In this video, there is not a lot to say, other than that at this point, Linsanity reached its peak. A game-winning triple against the Raptors in their home court. Have you ever heard an enemy crowd cheering so loud for the opponent’s buzzer beater? That’s what Linsanity was.
3. Kobe’s 81 point game.
2nd best all-time NBA scoring performance, recorded in a modern NBA. A regular game against Raptors turned into the “The Kobe show” which won’t be forgotten. The legend at his best and definately one of the best NBA moments of all time.
2. Tracy McGrady scores 13 points in 33 seconds.
This one is my all time favourite. It appeared to be just a regular, low scoring game between Spurs and Rockets. With one minute on the clock, Spurs were ahead by 10 points, and some fans had already left their seat. However, suddenly everything just turned around, as Tracy McGrady stole one for the Rockets with what I call the greatest comeback in the NBA history.
1. Best NBA Moment: Michael Jordan’s last 3 minutes as a Bull.
The best NBA moment of all time. It’s 1998 Finals game 6 versus the Jazz, and everyone already knows that MJ will retire at the end of the season. Jazz were already preparing for the game 7, but the all-time great Michael Jordan had other plans and brought NBA fans Hollywood-worthy career-end performance.
That wraps up the list of most viewed NBA plays on YouTube.
From the data, it can be seen that popularity does not reflect the most significant events in the league’s history and views are mostly the side effect of the story going viral. Also, with the increasing internet accessibility, the fresher stories have a higher chance of going viral and getting more views than the old ones.
However, it is always nice to reflect back on something, that brought us so many good memories, and I hope you had a lovely time watching this.
In case you want more of the iconic NBA moments, here is an extended list.
Top 25 list
- Michael Jordan’s last 3 minutes as a Bull.
- Tracy McGrady scores 13 points in 33 seconds.
- Kobe’s 81 point game.
- Jeremy Lin hits game-winner versus Raptors
- Kobe scores 60 in last game.
- Stephen Curry scores 46 with game-winner.
- Jordan blocks Shaq in their first meeting
- Shaq brings down the backboard Apr 23, 1993
- The Cavaliers beat the Warriors in game 7
- Kobe Gives Stephen Curry Respect After Draining Long Three , 9.9M views
- Jordan’s ball fake.
- Derek Fisher hits game-winner with 0.4 seconds on the clock.
- Blake Griffin dunks on the Heat.
- Jeremy Lin career-high 38 points.
- Jordan’s eyes-closed free-throw.
- Jordan’s “Flu Game”.
- Ray Allen hits game-tying three in game 6.
- Blake Griffin posterizes Pau Gasol.
- LeBron stares down Jordan in the crowd while dunking.
- Allen Iverson steps over Tyronn Lue.
- Shaq finger wags Mutumbo.
- LeBron vs. Curry in game 6.
- Damian Lillard hits game-winner against Rockets.
- Michael Jordan game winner against Cavaliers.
- Reggie Miller scores 8 points in 9 seconds.
The complete ranks by plays, decade or team can be found here.