NBA, NBA Finals

The NBA Finals’ Most Iconic Moments in NBA History

In any sport, there are always games that determine the true champions. When it comes to the NBA, the NBA playoffs is that competition. After a team must have played 82 games in a season, their win percentage determines if they will finish in the top eight of their conference league. The top eight teams in both conferences go into the postseason NBA playoffs, with the best from each conference facing off in the iconic NBA Finals.

The winner of the NBA Final is awarded the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and unofficially crowned the king of basketball in the United States. That’s why millions of fans tune in to watch the games yearly; even betting on NBA Final odds is a big deal. But let’s talk about the most iconic moments in the NBA Finals.

Iconic Moments in NBA Finals History

This article will look at some of the greatest moments in the NBA Finals. Although our views are purely subjective, no one can argue with the frenzied atmosphere created by fans after watching Michael Jordan clinch the Bull’s sixth championship in eight years. Here are some of the most iconic moments in the NBA Finals.

Michael Jordan’s Infamous Shrug (1992)

We could literally make this entire article about Jordan’s iconic finals moments, and it still won’t be enough. The basketball great established himself in the 90s with his dominance of the sport, bringing about a worldwide audience and love for it.  In one of his most unforgettable games, Jordan hit six three-pointers and scored thirty-five points in a single half. This was undeniably the greatest individual half performance in the history of the NBA, with Michael Jordan waving it off with his infamous “What can I say, I’m too good” shrug.

The Chicago Bulls went on to beat the Portland Trail Blazers, winning their second consecutive championship.

Ray Allen’s Three in Heat’s Comeback (2013)

Never write off any team until the final whistle is blown: this is true for any sports game, and the NBA finals are no different. The San Antonio Spurs were on course for their fourth championship title. With only 5.2 seconds to go, officials were already setting the yellow ribbons to celebrate Spurs, but Ray Allen wasn’t going to have it.

Heats needed three points, and Allen gave it to them with a well-hit throw from the right corner to level the scores at the dying minute. The game went into overtime, and the Miami Heat ended up winning the championship.

Magic Johnson’s steps in for Kareem (1980)

It’s hard for any twenty-year-old to play in big games like the NBA Finals. It’s even harder when they’ve to do it while filling the boots of legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That was Magic Johnson’s dilemma in the Lakers’ game six final against the Philadelphia 76ers. After Kareem was ruled out due to an injury, Johnson had to step in and play an unfamiliar center position. The 20-year-old played all five positions that day, putting up 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in leading his Lakers to a 123-107 victory. The Los Angeles Lakers not only won the game but won the championship that day and the rookie point guard was named 1980 NBA Finals MVP.

Triple Overtime for the Celtics and Suns (1976)

If you ever want to show someone why NBA basketball is one of the greatest sports leagues in the world, this is the match you should show them. This game has been termed the greatest NBA game of all time, and rightfully so. It had all that was needed: buzzer-beaters, the intensity, and fans going crazy in the Boston Garden. The most famous clip from this iconic NBA Finals game was of Garfield Heard’s high-arching turnaround jumper to force a third overtime. After that final overtime, the Celtics preserved and came out on top, but it was a game that will forever be remembered as one of the best NBA Finals games in NBA history.

Michael Jordan and “The Flu Game” (1997)

Resilience is one of the most vital traits of any successful sportsman. Luckily, Michael Jordan had it in abundance. Just days before the fifth final game against the Utah Jazz, Jordan came down with the flu. The Bulls legend didn’t back down though. He fought through the flu and scored an amazing 38 points to win Bulls the game and championship. This was Jordan’s fifth championship title.

Frank Selvy’s Buzzer Beater (1962)

Rarely do we get a look at any highlights prior to the 1980’s so we were surprised to find actual footage from one of the most-iconic moments from the early 1960’s. After years of the Celtics’ NBA dominance, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally poised to end their streak. They were seconds away from clinching the championship in game seven before Frank Selvy’s — known for his 100 point game while playing for Furman — shot found its way into the rim, sending the game into overtime. The extra period was just what the Celtics needed to win their fourth consecutive title.

In game five of the 1962 NBA Finals, Elgin Baylor scored a shocking 61 points to set the record for most points scored in a single NBA Finals game. It’s rather unfortunate that those points didn’t win Baylor or the Lakers the championship that year, but it’s been six decades, and his record still stands.


There’s no doubt that we must have left out some iconic finals from our list because there are just too many to mention. But that’s the beauty of sports, everybody has the moments they cherish. As far as we are concerned, the performances listed here are the most iconic in NBA Finals history, and we’re sure many fans still reminisce on some of these unbelievable performances.


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