The NBA Finals, that epic clash between East and West for basketball supremacy, has had a lot of great moments. There are lists all over the place talking about great games in the long and storied history of the Finals. However, those lists are just that, all over the place. That’s not how the games are played, so that’s not how this list is constructed. One representative has been selected from Game 1 through Game 7 to be the best, most memorable embodiment of Finals basketball.
Game 1: 2001 – The Step Over
The Lakers were an uncaring juggernaut of a team, going up against Allen Iverson’s swagger and his down-on-their-luck pals in Philly. While the series ultimately went LA’s way, the first game featured an incredible performance from The Answer, including perhaps one of the most iconic moments in Finals history.
Iverson, being checked by Tyronn Lue, shook the poor kid until he dissolved into his component molecules. AI drained a jumper, and then, treating the still-warm corpse of Lue like a fresh wad of gum he didn’t want on the soles of his shoes, Iverson stepped over Tyronn with a look of utter disdain and disregard.
It was the only game the 76ers took in the series, and The Step Over cemented it as the most memorable game 1 in Finals history. Lue, for his part, can laugh about the play these days. The Cleveland assistant coach even took a picture with a fan rocking a step-over T-shirt.