Issue 102: Celebrate Good Times, Come On — NBA Championship Celebrations

Another NBA season is in the books! Congrats to the Milwaukee Bucks for bringing home the franchise’s first title in 50 years.

There will be a lot of celebrating over the coming weeks, and rightfully so. However, there are a plethora of ways to celebrate. Here are some of the finest.

Giannis Antetokounmpo with two honeys

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the freshest addition to this list, having just won the championship three days ago. While his on the court performances were otherworldly, his postgame celebrations cracked me up.

Yes, the moment of him sitting on the court and crying as he took the moment in was beautiful. And his oversized champagne goggles, while Monty Williams offered his congratulations, was a funny juxtaposition. Giannis even put an unsuspecting Chick-Fil-A employee on Instagram Live, which is cool (despite her having absolutely no idea who he was).

But for my money, his postgame speech where he’s cradling his NBA Finals and Finals MVP trophies gets top billing here. I also like that he kisses one and tells the other not to be jealous.

J.R. Smith is shirtless forever

When the Cavaliers won the championship in 2016, it ended a 52-year championship drought for the city of Cleveland.

It also ended a drought of J.R. Smith going shirtless.

Smith spent most of the summer without a shirt after a teammate suggested he do so. After all, with all of his tattoos, it’s like Smith is wearing a t-shit anyway. Plus, he got then-President Barack Obama to call him out, which is a pretty cool accomplishment.

More than anything else, this really shows the power of being a successful athlete. I probably wouldn’t recommend following Smith’s strategy if you have not recently won a championship.

LeBron James starring in “It’s About Damn Time”

Even when he was still in high school, LeBron James was already being hailed as a future all-time great. He was a surefire number one pick, is built unlike just about any other human, and has a drive to be amazing.

But all of that attention adds up to a lot of pressure, too. And for his first few years in the league, LeBron didn’t have much playoff success at all.

It wasn’t until the 2012 Finals that he finally became an NBA champion. And you can just hear the relief in LeBron’s voice.

Dirk Nowitzki leaves the court entirely

When you’ve worked your whole life to reach a goal and then finally achieve it, the moment can overwhelm you.

As the clock ticked down to the Dallas Mavericks’ first-ever championship, said moment pushed Dirk Nowitzki to tears. The big German had to leave the court to compose himself.

Perhaps my favorite part of this is that Nowitzki appears to leap over a chair or barrier to get to the walkway toward the locker room. If I had just exhausted myself and then tried to do this, you better believe I’d faceplant right into the ground.

Michael Jordan weeps on the floor

During the 1995-96 season, the Chicago Bulls set what was then a record for regular-season wins. Of course, without winning the championship, that record would have been MEANINGLESS (or at least less impactful).

Michael Jordan and co. weren’t about to let that happen, and they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in six games to capture the title. It was Jordan’s fourth championship in six years, but this one hit a little different.

Jordan’s father was murdered in 1993 during an attempted car robbery gone horribly wrong. And this championship happened ON Father’s Day in 1996. It was Jordan’s first title without his father there to celebrate with him, and a flood of emotions came pouring out.

When this happened, it did not have the dramatic singing of “Ave Maria” in the background. But it makes the moment even more touching.