The end of a decade is near, and in this time we have all witnessed some of the most memorable moments thinkable. Many of these memories will forever be etched in our thoughts, and reminisced upon for the rest of our lives.

As you sit and begin to ponder on those exact moments from this decade that resonated with you most, I’ll be mentioning the five moments that stood out the most to me.

5.) Social Activism

Not to engage in too much political conversation, but one of my favorite moments in this decade has been when players in the NBA decided it was time they use their platforms to spread awareness and speak for those who do not have a voice of their magnitude in our country. The likes of Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony took to the ESPYS in 2016 to up the initiative and challenge their counterpart’s to break the silence. Many conversations were had within the confinement of locker rooms across the NBA, those conversations have now become public and engaged upon on social media by the players that make our game special. This was a truly beautiful thing to see. Although it has had its moments where players are challenged or their opinions are deemed unqualified and told to “Shut up and dribble,” the overarching goal of spreading awareness has been as good as possible and has helped the NBA grow and differentiate itself frm other professional leagues.

4.) The King Fulfills his Promise

In his 4 year run with the Miami Heat where they made the Finals each year, LeBron learned a lot both from Dwyane Wade and about himself. His Heat tenure was where he learned more about winning on the ultimate stage, as well as what he needed to do to take his next step in ascension as one of the games all-time greats. In making himself more well-rounded, LeBron would take the learned lessons back to Cleveland, and win a championship against all the odds. In the 2015-2016 NBA season, after losing to the Warriors the Finals prior, LeBron was on a mission. Equipped with a healthy as could be roster (unlike the first meeting with the Warriors in the 2014-2015 Finals), LeBron was ready for war. Along with some clutch shooting and timely help specifically from Kyrie Irving, LeBron was able to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Cleveland in dramatic fashion… a game 7 win on the road after being down 3 games to 1. Having never been done in Finals history, it made this feat that much more unfathomable. Nonetheless, LeBron made his most impactful stamp on NBA history with this accomplished. All of his skills, but even more so his intangibles, were on display in this.

3.) 2017-2018 Houston Rockets

The most talented and balanced team I have followed on a game to game basis, this rendition of the Houston Rockets is undeniably one of the best teams to never win a championship. Analytically driven and built by Rockets GM Daryl Morey, there was no weakness to be found on paper. Exemplified by the lack of weaknesses able to be found in the on court product, this team had its way with the league to the tune of 65 wins and a demanding best record in the NBA. This all coinciding with the addition of Chris Paul the summer leading into the ’17-’18 season, James Harden also enjoyed his first MVP campaign. Aside from the top two players being established, Morey would also bring in exemplary role players like PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute to solidify elite level of play on both sides of the ball. Even in Morey’s wildest dreams, he would not have seen this assembled roster play to the sustained level of success they enjoyed this season. Captained by the offensive brilliance of the MVP James Harden and the Point God, the Rockets were expected to be one of the best offenses ever and they were just that. In combination with this high powered offense that ranks 12th all-time in the leagues best offenses, they touted the 6th best defense of that season. 6th is not truly a fair assessment as their pace often times inflated the opportunities other teams had possession-wise. Nonetheless, this is unbelievable. For context, of the teams with a full 82 games completed on the list, this Rockets team claims one of the four best defensive ratings (106.1) only outdone by the likes of the 1995-1996 Bulls (101.8), 2016-2017 Warriors (104.0), and 1991-1992 Bulls (104.5). To match a all time great offense with an elite defense is a balance not most teams can do. This Rockets team was able to do that. Unrelenting ball pressure combined with savant-like IQ and unmatched defense on ball in the pick and roll from Chris Paul, along with menacing length and efforts on the wing between Ariza, Mbah a Moute, and Tucker, then elite yet still growing rim protection in the back line from Capela made for one of he best Rockets teams in franchise history, and the most fun I’ve ever enjoyed for a seasons entirety of a team Chris Paul has been on.

2.) Dwyane Wade’s Farewell Tour

Much deserved, Dwyane Wade’s final season was one to remember. From game winners to unexpected dunks, Wade County was on fire for his final campaign. It was like a going away party for the entire season. This was the perfect ending to a career worthy of all the praises. The 3x champ went from city to city receiving standing ovations, signing jerseys, taking pictures, and swapping jerseys with his favorite players from opposing teams. It was a sight to see for a player whose autograph I received just before he headed to the draft in 2003.

1.) CP3 Goes Full Point God

In a series far too worthy of the first round variety, the CP3 led Clippers found themselves in a heavyweight matchup with the then defending champion San Antonio Spurs. A back and forth series with stars, up and coming stars, and cemented legends both on the court and manning each teams sideline made for one of the most memorable series ever. Clutch buckets, controversial calls, and dramatics of every nature could be found in this 7 game gauntlet. In the mix of everything was Chris Paul. He enjoyed one of the best series I can remember, and his most complete series in my opinion. Chris, having not beaten the Pop led bunch in a playoff series in two tries, knew this series would demand the absolute most from him as well as demanding him to do things he isn’t accustom to, which was being score first. In this series, the tell-tell sign of Coach Popovich’s defensive strategy was when, in game 1 and truly throughout the series, he took his best defender and assigned him to JJ Redick instead of having him guard Paul. This essentially took Redick out of the series and also made Chris often had to look off his initial read in the floppy and staggered sets the Clippers often ran offensively. Fast forward to game 7, Paul came up gimpy late in the first quarter after making a move to evade a defender and assisting Glenn Davis on a bucket. This almost set the stage even more as Chris already had the adversity of yet another game 7 (where his has been historically great in his career, mind you) but now had a new one in the form of a left hamstring strain. Paul would leave the game then return with a vengeance, and put together a legendary closing performance. Making for my favorite moment in his Hall of Fame career to date. Relive this moment below.

This was a tough list to compile and there were many moments by Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antentokounmpo, and plenty others that were close to making my list. Nonetheless, these were my 5 moments of the decade in the NBA. The next decade is sure to provide us with just as much entertainment and memorable moments. Happy New Year to you all and feel free to share with me what your five favorite moments from this decade are.

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