The NBA is filled with some of the best athletes in the world, and throughout basketball history, these athletes have created some amazing moments that are still talked about today.
Memorable moments in basketball history include some of the most important moments in the game, such as when Michael Jordan hit his first shot or when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points.
There are so many incredible moments, but here are a few favorites you should know about.
1. Jordan’s Final Shot – 1998 Finals, Game 6
Michael Jordan is the one person most responsible for the popularity of basketball today. His legendary career and great marketing from Nike made basketball famous. He quit basketball multiple times, but his 1998 retirement game went down in history.
The Chicago Bulls were behind the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. After making some deft moves to get to the hoop, Jordan scored a huge layup with 40 seconds left to tie the game at three points.
The Bulls were still trailing by one point, and it was Utah’s turn to play ball. Despite John Stockton’s efforts to feed Karl Malone in the post, Jordan rushed in and snatched the ball from his grasp.
2. Magic Plays All 5 Positions—1980 Finals, Game 6
Magic was an amazing basketball player, and in hindsight, he did a lot for AIDS awareness in the USA. His career got off to a great start when he joined the NBA at age 20 and then capped off his rookie season with an NBA Finals MVP award and one of the most legendary games ever.
In Game 6 of the NBA finals, Magic Johnson played all five positions, and he was imposing when he took over as center for an ailing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 NBA championship finals.
Lakers center Magic Johnson scored 42 points and added 15 rebounds while dishing out seven assists to lead the team to its first title since 1972.
Before we go to the final 2 greatest basketball moments in history… Are you interested in seeing basketball moments first-hand? The best way is to secure a ticket for a big game by buying them on Gametime, SeatGeek, or StubHub.
3. The Greatest Game of All Time: The 1976 Finals, Game 5
Game 5 of the 1976 Finals is famous because of a rowdy crowd, insane action, and big personalities. The game went into double overtime, and the Celtics took the lead.
The Suns got the lead down to 1 with 20 seconds left on the clock. The Celtics inbounded, but the Suns stole the ball, made some frantic passes, missed their shot, got the rebound, and eventually made the shot. Suddenly, a stampede of supporters rushed onto the court.
The game was incorrectly called, and the fans thought the game was over, but the teams were called back out.
One of the players then approached the referee, and the game ended up going to a third overtime. It was a wonderful mess of a game and is still remembered almost 50 years later.
4. The Rivalry that Started it All: 1984 Finals, Game 7
Jordan gets some credit for lifting the NBA, but the Bird and Magic rivalry was also a major turning point for the league.
These two mega-stars changed how the game was played and created a heated East Coast-West Coast rivalry that lasted throughout the 1980s. The two teams were completely dominant and traded the championship between 1984 and 1988.
The first of three NBA Finals meetings between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson was an epic start to the rivalry. Despite the Lakers’ valiant effort to rebound from a 14-point hole late in the fourth quarter of Game 7, they didn’t make it that year. However, the Lakers were still a major force and took the championship in 1985, 1987, and 1988.