With the NBA playoffs fast approaching, now is the time to start following it. I only started watching basketball around 3 or 4 years ago, but I have grown to love it, even though the late hour that games are played has ravaged my sleeping patterns. These videos hopefully will provide some kind of introduction to NBA basketball, and what makes it so special.
Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA Finals
Let’s start with some history. Although he hasn’t played professional basketball in about 15 years, most people should have heard of Michael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basketball player to ever live. It is a rare thing in sport to have a clearly defined ‘greatest ever’, and whilst there are some people who might place Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Lebron James ahead of MJ, these people are clearly fools and you would do well not to pay attention to them.
This video features the last sequence of Jordan’s career before he retired for the second time in 1998. He would later return to the NBA in 2001 at the age of 38, but he was never the same player and never would achieve the unparalleled team success to which drove the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.
It’s game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals. Chicago lead the Utah Jazz 3 games to 2. The Bulls however, find themselves down by 1 point with 30 seconds left. What comes next is perhaps the defining moment in the career of the greatest player ever, as none of his teammates even touch the ball as he wills the Bulls to victory.
2016 NBA Finals Game 7
Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, and the winner will earn the NBA title. The game is tied at 89-89 with two minutes to go. The stakes could not be any higher. Two big plays, a block from Lebron James and a three pointer from Kyrie Irving, secures the victory for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2014 San Antonio Spurs: The Beautiful Game
This video really shows the aesthetic quality that basketball can have when players string together consecutive passing sequences. The 2014 San Antonio Spurs played some exquisite team basketball, sharing the ball beautifully on their way to the NBA title in that same year.
Steph Curry’s Shooting
Steph Curry and the Warriors were last season’s most exciting team, even if they fell short in the NBA Finals. They broke the NBA record for wins, winning 73 whilst only losing 9 games, and Curry was unanimously voted by the media as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Curry is a remarkably unique player. He’s probably the best long range shooter that the sport has ever seen, and this allows him to make shots that other players wouldn’t dream of even attempting.
The Lighter Side of the NBA
One of the things that makes basketball such a great sport to follow is the way that the personalities of all of the players are on show. You are really able to follow the characters in your team as they respond to success and adversity. This makes for not only fascinating viewing, but often for hilarious moments.
BONUS CLIP! (Because there is never a bad time to watch this video)