One of the perks of covering the NBA is that you get to attend a ton of games, so you're bound to witness some wild moments firsthand. Our writers have been covering the league for many years, so we asked:
What's the craziest NBA moment that you've witnessed in-person?
Alex Kennedy: For me, it has to be Ray Allen's clutch three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. During the fourth quarter, my boss and I were sitting in the media area and figuring out our travel plans. If the Spurs won, the series was over and we'd fly home the next day; if the Heat won, we would need to stay in Miami for Game 7. With 28.2 seconds remaining, the Spurs went up by five and my boss, Steve Kyler, booked our flight home for the following day. He assumed the series was over! Shortly after, Chris Bosh grabs the rebound, Allen hits the shot and everyone was stunned. After the game, talking to Bosh, Allen and their teammates was a lot of fun; everyone immediately realized that they had just been part of something really special and historic. And, fortunately, we were able to reschedule our flight!
Spencer Davies: With the exception of seeing Kevin Durant nail a three over LeBron James to win his first championship (and subsequently repeating the shot over JR Smith in the following Finals), I would be lying if I didn’t say LeBron’s 2018 playoff run as a whole. There were two times -- Game 5 vs. the Indiana Pacers and Game 3 vs. the Toronto Raptors -- where The King nailed game-winners at the final buzzer. The first occasion, LeBron actually came up with the block on Victor Oladipo’s layup and then knocked down the three out of the inbound (Indiana likely wins that series without it). With the second, LeBron ripped Toronto’s soul right out of its heart with a full-court drive up the left side of the floor, threw up a 16-foot floater and banked it in as his body was going toward the baseline to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a commanding 3-0 lead. Just absolutely ridiculous moments to witness in person, especially having to withhold your thoughts being at the media table.
Moke Hamilton: I'm so blessed to have covered seven NBA Finals and seen some truly incredible moments at Madison Square Garden, both as a young fan and a pro covering the league. Like in 2003, when Latrell Sprewell set the single-game record for most threes made without a miss (he shot 9-for-9). Years later, I saw the late, great Kobe Bryant score 61 and saw Carmelo Anthony top that by scoring 62. I covered Linsanity. And I saw some crazy things covering the Atlantic Division some years ago. But truth is, I think the craziest thing I ever saw was Ray Allen making “the shot” in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals; I had the good fortune of witnessing that piece of history live. I think what’s more crazy about the shot itself was the amount of blunders the Spurs made in the final minute of that game. From missed free throws to blown coverages to failing to box out, the team that’s always credited for its fundamentals couldn’t close out a game they needed and they lost both Game 6 (and the ensuing Game 7) as a result. That outcome was crazy and it was only possible with Allen’s shot, so I’ve gotta go with that.
Imman Adan: Raptor fans booing Vince Carter… while he was still on the team. I’ve been to many games that saw fans in the Scotia Bank Arena (formerly: Air Canada Centre) boo Vince Carter, but none like this. It was a cold autumn night, November 20, 2004, and the Toronto Raptors were in the midst of getting their derrières flambéed by the San Antonio Spurs. A dejected Carter looked like he’d rather be anywhere else than on the court when boos began to rain down. Eventually, head coach Sam Mitchell put Carter and fans out of their misery by benching him. This miraculously allowed sophomore Chris Bosh to lead a 19-point comeback, with the Raptors outscoring the Spurs 33-9 in the fourth quarter to win, 96-91. Now, this is far from the craziest NBA story, but it was a pivotal game in Raptors history -- a franchise-changing moment that signified a shift in leadership from Carter to Bosh.
Jonathan Concool: This is a tough one, but I’m going to go with the November 20, 2010 game between the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. This was Blake Griffin’s rookie year and it was still early in the season, so no one really knew how good this Griffin kid was since he had just missed the previous year due to injury. Well, I’d like to think this is the game when the whole world got to know Griffin. Griffin had two literal jaw-dropping dunks during this matchup with the Knicks. One of them, Griffin was on a fast break against Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari and he spun into a monster slam on Gallinari in the open court. The other (more famous) one is, of course, the Timofey Mozgov poster, which will live on for eternity. Being in the arena to witness those dunks was truly an unforgettable experience.
Kelsea O'Brien: Norman Powell’s Game 5 dunk against the Indiana Pacers in his rookie season. I was behind the basket when it happened. It was my birthday. It was electric -- a total tectonic, cultural shift for the Raptors (who went on to win the game).
Nekias Duncan: I went to a Heat-Bobcats (yes, Bobcats) game during the 2011-12 season. I was still early in my writer phrase, so this was simply a “Hey, I want to watch the Heat” experience. Anyway, with around three minutes left in that game, Chris Bosh ISO’s at the top of the key. He pumps, drives, then jams over DJ White for an and-one. It was one of the best dunks I’d ever seen in a live setting, and also terrifying because Bosh landed so awkwardly that I was sure he’d broken a leg or torn his groin or something.
Chris Sheridan: The craziest moment I have ever seen came when Shaquille O'Neal attempted a foul shot. The ball hit the rim so hard that it actually bounced over the basket stanchion. I challenge anyone to try to replicate that happenstance, and I would love to see a video of it happening. I am unable to find the video, but I saw it with my own two eyes.
Ethan Fuller: Tacko Fall's preseason debut against the Charlotte Hornets was unlike any game atmosphere I have ever witnessed in person. The crowd was thundering when Brad Stevens motioned for Fall to jump in with nine minutes left. It's the loudest I have experienced TD Garden -- and it was a preseason game. Two guys were wearing taco suits! Truly a bizarre, awesome, mythical game to be at.