NBA Top Moments: 2010s
NBA.com takes a look back at the top moments that define the history of the NBA.
LeBron, Warriors Take Spotlight (2010s)
The center of the basketball universe relocated to Miami in the summer of 2010 when LeBron James announced his plan to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat.
At age 22, Rose was named the youngest MVP in NBA history (22 years and 191 days old on the final day of the regular season; previously Wes Unseld, in 1969, was 23 years and 9 days). He became the second Bulls player in team history to snag an MVP, joining former five-time MVP winner Jordan.
The 2012 Finals were a different story for LeBron James — and his team. His numbers were glimmering (28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists) and the Heat blasted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden’s Oklahoma City Thunder squad in five games. James claimed the first Finals MVP of his career for his efforts and, more importantly to him, got the championship he had pined for in his career.
During the 2012 Games in London, the American team average margin of victory was 32.1 points a game. After a hard-fought win in the gold medal game against Spain, Team USA was back on top on the world basketball stage.
The 2013 Finals culminated in a classic Game 7, with LeBron James (37 points) and the Heat finally vanquishing the Spurs in the final minute to clinch their second straight championship.
The trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh powered the Miami Heat to a title in 2012. Then came 2013, where the Heat had to sweat it out to Game 7 with the veteran San Antonio Spurs to secure their long-sought dynasty.
The Spurs entered the 2013-14 season licking their wounds after perhaps the biggest collapse in NBA history, in which they squandered a last-minute lead to the Heat in Game 6 of The Finals before dropping Game 7 in another heartbreaker.
On July 11, 2014, four years after taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron James ultimately decided he had unfinished business in Cleveland and returned to his original team via free agency.
From Kobe Bryant to Allen Iverson to Tim Duncan (and several others in between), All-Star household names saw their careers draw to a close before the end of the 2010s.
On June 4, 2015, Cleveland and Golden State met to tip off a Finals showdown that would occur every postseason for the next four years.
The Golden State Warriors entered the 2015-16 season as a rare breed — defending champions with a chip on their shoulders. By the time that season ended, another place in NBA lore was firmly in their grasp.
The city of Cleveland ended its 52-year championship drought when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers stunned the Golden State Warriors to win the 2016 NBA Finals.
By the end of the summer of 2016, the only numbers that mattered were 16 and zero. That was the mark the United States Olympic Men’s Basketball Team amassed as they continued to dominate on the world stage. In the process, they took home gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games.
By the summer of 2016, Kevin Durant was a true NBA superstar as well as an unrestricted free agent as well. He shocked the NBA world at large when he opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors rather than stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For 55 seasons, Oscar Robertson stood alone as the only player to average a triple-double for a season. Then Russell Westbrook came along in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Golden State went 16-1 in the 2017 playoffs en route to the championship. The following season, the Warriors found themselves in a position to repeat as champions for the first time against Cleveland, the same opponent they had faced the previous three years. Golden State brushed the Cavaliers aside in four straight games, claiming back-to-back titles and their third in four years.
Many excoriated Kevin Durant following his move to the already-talented Golden State Warriors via free agency, but no one will say he didn’t contribute. Durant came to town in 2016 with a goal to win championships. He fulfilled his mission in 2017 and ’18, and it didn’t come off the coattails of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.