The NBA Finals have given us a lot. Spectacular finishes. Legendary performances. Bill Russell. Magic Johnson. Tim Duncan. But it’s not always the big trophies and the ESPN specials that we remember. What about the lighter moments?
We dug into some research to try to come up with the 10 best Finals quotes since 2000. Here’s what we found…
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10. 2005 NBA Finals. Tim Duncan Takes a Spill.
Poor Tim Duncan. He gets his nickname from a mentally-challenged, quadriplegic cartoon character, he’s been underrated his entire career and he’s been teased mercilessly by The Onion for his wooden-Indian persona, all this despite being arguably the best player of his generation, not to mention one of the best power forwards of all time. The Big Fundamental has some of the most effective footwork of any big man in the game, but apparently never mastered the fundamentals of walking up stairs. This wasn’t a quote, but hey, it happened at a press conference so we’re counting it.
9. 2008 NBA Finals. “If You Throw Enough of Something Against the Wall, Some of it’s Bound to Stick.”
Kobe has never been very good at concealing his anger or frustration. It’s always right there, just below the surface, like a coiled snake waiting for the perfect time to strike. This particular press conference was relatively tame, but the Mamba does manage to work in a colorful expression, and for a brief, fleeting moment, the drooling zombie horde that is the sports media is reminded that they still have a pulse.
8. 2011 NBA Finals. “The Cough Heard Round the World.”
Okay, this didn’t exactly happen during an interview, but prior to Game 5, a camera crew caught some candid footage of hetero-life-mates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade mocking Dirk Nowitzki for being sick during the 2011 Finals. We all know how that turned out for the Super Friends. Dirk responded by lighting up the Heat for 29 points to win Game 5 and take a 3-2 series lead. Adding insult to injury, Wade was forced to awkwardly address the infamous faux cough during the postgame press conference.
7. 2011 NBA Finals. LeBron Responds to His “Haters.”
The 2011 Finals were not kind to LeBron and the Miami Heat. After losing the series in six games, a reporter asks LeBron to respond to all the people who were hoping to see him fail, to which he basically said something to the tune of, At the end of the day, all the haters still have to wake up tomorrow to their poor, shitty, boring, pathetic, insignificant little lives, and I’m still gonna be mad rich and famous.
6. 2006 NBA Finals. Shaq Responds to a Bizarre Question about His Mother and a Snakebite.
Okay, so apparently Shaq was in on this one. The reporter in question is one Corby “The Snake” Davidson, a local sports radio host in Dallas known for occasionally trolling press conferences. Nonetheless, Shaq plays it masterfully on an unwitting audience.
5. 2006 NBA Finals. Avery Johnson Has a Question for You.
You might remember the 2006 NBA Finals, when Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat overcame a seemingly insurmountable 0-2 deficit to the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA championship. Asked about his impression of a questionable foul that sent Wade to the free throw line late in the game, Avery Johnson turns the table on the reporter. Awkwardness ensues. Nonplussed, the reporter struggles to move on before Avery barks at him one last time. In Avery’s defense, Wade tallied a record 97 free throw attempts during the series and in Game 5 shot as many free throws (25) as the entire Mavericks team.
4. 2010 NBA Finals, “The Shrek and Donkey Show.”
Glen “Big Baby” Davis has spaghetti and blueberry pancakes for his pregame meal. That’s what a beast does. But a beast also sometimes tenderly massages his diminutive teammate’s neck and back during a postgame press conference. That’s the nature of the beast. And sometimes a beast is prone to “slobber, snot, spit” in the heat of battle. But don’t try this at home, kids. Have manners and things like that.
3. 2008 NBA Finals. “Where Brian Scalabrine Happens”
There are so many reasons to love The White Mamba. He’s named after “the world’s most dormant snake.” He’s the subject of quite possibly the best basketball mixtape of all time, which according to legend, contains every moment of his entire career. He annihilated every streetball player in Boston who dared to play him one-on-one. And he didn’t let the fact that he didn’t play a single second of the 2008 NBA Finals stop him from being the first one to the podium. Behold: The Man. The Myth. The Legend.
2. 2008 Finals. “Anything is Possible!!!”
Kevin Garnett is an emotional guy. And he’ll do whatever it takes to win, whether that means getting down on all fours and barking like a dog on defense, bringing his own teammate to tears during a game, or claiming to have orally pleasured an opponent’s wife. He really cares that much about basketball. So, when he finally won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, naturally it was a little overwhelming for him, and his delirious postgame interview later became the inspiration for the Key & Peele “you can do anything” sketch. Later, he talks about “knocking out the bully” that is the Lakers, and the irony of that analogy is utterly lost on him.
1. 2010 NBA Finals. Ron Artest
Kobe stunk it up in Game 7, and if it hadn’t been for Ron Artest’s monster game, we might never have experienced the pure brilliance that was his various postgame interviews. When he started off by saying, “I wanna thank everybody in my hood,” you knew it was going to be one for the ages. He goes on to thank his psychiatrist (multiple times) and manages to work in a plug for his new single “Champion.” He has a Wheaties box, he has an enormous bottle of bubbly, and he has a whole lotta kids. “He [Kobe] never passes me the ball.”
What do you think?
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