The 2020s are practically here.
Several NBA players were asked their favorite moment of the 2010s (omitting any moments related to their careers) as this decade reaches a close. Common answers include Kobe Bryant’s unbelievable finale in 2016 and Derrick Rose’s 50-point eruption in 2018, but other memorable moments such as Ray Allen’s iconic shot in the 2013 Finals were mentioned.
Here’s what a few players around the league had to say:
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“It was Miami Heat vs. San Antonio, they rolled the trophy out, LeBron misses a shot, Chris Bosh gets a great rebound from the right block and passes it out to Ray Allen who relocates and hits the shot. That was stunning to me. I think just like anyone else in America I was like, ‘Welp this game is over and we’re just waiting to see the Spurs celebrate and Kawhi not laugh and have any emotion or anything.’ It was dope to see him go out there and make that shot. That shot was big time. That shot’s a historic shot, especially in LeBron’s career and especially in the NBA’s decade right now. That shot is something I won’t forget because I remember jumping out my seat when he caught the rebound and said ‘that’s in’ and my dad was like ‘no way.'”
“The Kobe final game, when he scored 60 points and his team won. He gave it all until the very end. That’s how it’s supposed to be. He played every game like it was his last, and even the last one.”
“For me, it was Kobe’s last game. Nobody I can think of went out the way that he did, man. He told me after the game was over, he couldn’t even walk to his car.”
“Favorite moment. That’s hard. The 60-point game from Kobe? It’s hard to say. Moments like that are almost bigger than basketball because it’s like it encapsulates somebody’s entire career. With Kobe, he’s always been a performer, always stepped up to the challenge and the big moments. And I think everybody was watching Kobe’s last game. To put on a performance like that was incredible. I certainly watched it on a big-screen at home.
“D-Rose, I’ve known Derrick since I was, I think, 11 years old, 12 years old. After all that he had gone through. I saw him here [in Cleveland], played against him when he was an MVP, was with him on world championship teams [with Team USA], known his family for a long time. To see that, him coming back and having a 50-point game after all that he had been through was super emotional and positive. I’m trying to think of all the moments like that that stick out.
“I actually think Klay Thompson because I grew up with him. When he had 11 dribbles and scored 60 points, man, that will never be done again. Eleven dribbles, 60 points, that will never be done again. Mark my words. I mean, James [Harden] scores 65 and does 700 dribbles. And that’s really impressive. I’ve never seen a scorer like him. But then again, I mean, 11 dribbles? Consider that. That’s unbelievable.”
“That’s tough because there were so many moments. But I’ve never heard of anybody doing what Klay did, going to get 60 on 11 dribbles. I think Golden State caught a perfect storm and had the perfect pieces for something like that to happen. Sixty on 11 dribbles, no, that’s not ever happening again.”
“The continuous evolution. There’s not a moment, but 2010 was a completely different style of basketball. And the game has grown internally as well. [It’s great] how much the franchises invest into player development from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint. Everything has grown so much, and you could see it on the floor and what the final product is.”
“I’d probably say when the Heat beat OKC for the first time. That was pretty special. LeBron, D-Wade and all them. That was my favorite team growing up, that was pretty special. Growing up, being a LeBron fan, D-Wade fan, being able to see that happen was pretty special.”
“D-Rose coming back and scoring 50. Seeing him come back and go play at a high level from injuries. It’s always great to see certain guys come back from major injuries and still do some great things. Everybody’s been a big fan of Derrick. To see him come back and play the way he’s playing right now is probably one of the best moments.”
“When the Spurs won the championship. Watching those guys, especially Boris [Diaw], Tony [Parker], the French guys win the NBA title, it was a great moment. It was big for me, it was inspirational, especially after seeing them lose the year before and lose badly. Being able to come back from that was huge, and it was great to watch Tony and those guys win.”
“Definitely Kobe’s last game was by far the best [moment] just because all the things he had been through. I would say Kobe’s last game, and Derrick Rose, when he went for . You could just tell. He was crying after that game because he just left it all out there on the floor. Even though he’s still playing I would say Derrick Rose’s moment was one that really meant a whole lot just because of all his injuries and all that extra stuff that was going on with him. Those two sit up there at the very top of my list.”
“Honestly being an Ohio guy, watching LeBron and them win that first title was pretty cool. Even though I’m competing against him, at the same time I know what that meant to the state. It was pretty cool.”
“Seeing Toronto win the championship and actually being in the building to witness that. I was sitting with T-Mac, and I remember two minutes left in the game, maybe a minute and a half, I remember turning to him saying, ‘They’re actually about to do this. The Toronto Raptors are about to have a championship.’ And that was probably one of the most surreal, unreal feelings and defining moments of the last 20 years for me. Seeing guys that I know. Kyle’s a good friend of mine and golfing buddy. I was genuinely happy for the organization and people I know there.”
“In this decade, there were quite a few great moments. But just witnessing what Kobe did on his way out in his last game. That was something to see.”
“Had to be 2014 for me. Seeing the ‘Big Three’ and young guy Kawhi going at it. I’m a big Spurs fan so that was a big moment for me. It was a good run.”
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NBA.com’s Michael C. Wright and Shaun Powell contributed to this story.