By Toby Berlinski
One aspect of our daily lives missed significantly at the moment is the great enjoyment of watching sports. We would be in the midst of a crazy NBA playoffs if the season was alive today. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but as The Last Dance has shown us, we can reminisce on the great basketball past as we await the return of the basketball present.
Over the past decade the NBA has experienced multiple monumental moments and impactful decisions that have altered the league. From Lebron James’ “The Decision” to move to Miami to Kawhi Leonard returning to the finals with the Raptors and defeating the Warriors; this past decade saw many influential moments. This article reviews the most influential moments of the NBA the 2010-11 season up to the 2015-16 season.
The inaugural season of the new decade had huge league altering news before the season even started in free agency. Lebron James held the ESPN special “The Decision” and shocked the Cavaliers organization by joining the Miami Heat; Lebron joined a new Big Three of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Miami Heat completed the regular season with a record of 58-24, second in the eastern conference. They finished the postseason as the second best team in the NBA, losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in an incredible series.
Derrick Rose also became the youngest player to ever be awarded the Most Valuable Player Award at just 22 years old. Rose was also the leader of the Chicago Bulls who held the League’s best record that year at 62-20. They went on to lose in the playoffs but Rose’s wonder season at 22 years old will always be remembered and valued.
The 2011-12 season saw the first lockout of the NBA in many years, as a result many players seeked alternatives. Big time players such as Deron Williams, Kenyon Martin, and Tony Parker played overseas but there were many alternatives in the U.S.. The vast majority joined leagues such as the Drew League or the Melo League or the Goodman League. Even an NBA player only tournament began in Las Vegas.
After the season finally resumed on December 25th the Big Three of the Heat won their first championship together. This title run also became the first of three finals victories for The King. The Miami Heat defeated OKC’s Big Three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The following year Ray Allen would leave the Boston Celtics and join Lebron in Miami where eventually “The Shot” happened. In Game 6 of the 2012-13 season, Ray Allen hit a huge three after a Lebron miss and Chris Bosh rebound. This sent the series to Game 7 where Lebron won his second ring.
The 2014-15 season saw another big Lebron sized change when he moved back to the Cleveland Cavaliers; Cleveland also picked up Kevin Love to create another Big Three of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. This Cleveland team faced the Golden State Warriors led by first year coach Steve Kerr and first time MVP Stephen Curry. The 4-2 victory for the Warriors became the first of three of the 2010 decade.
The 2015-16 season was perhaps the most influential and entertaining of the decade. On the last day of the regular season Kobe Bryant played his final game and the Warriors set the all time regular season wins record. To finish Kobe Bryant’s 20 season career, he dropped 60 points against a Jazz team that was fighting for a playoff spot that night. Not only did he drop 60 points, but he closed the game as he did numerous times throughout his career. Then, in a win against the Grizzlies the Warriors finished with a 73-9 record, just beating out the Chicago Bulls record of 73-10. After finishing their record breaking regular season, the Warriors faced the Cavaliers. The Warriors shot out to a 3-1 lead but the Cavaliers rallied and won three straight games to win the series 4-3 in Game 7 and bring Cleveland its first ever NBA championship. In that Game 7 Lebron James infamously blocked Andre Igoudala and then Kyrie Irving hit the three to win them the championship, Lebron’s third ring.