Three Fantastically Cool Photos from NBA History

Sports are events that are full of movement. Even if a player doesn’t have the ball, they’re likely on the move. A basketball player cuts to an open spot. A football player blocks for a teammate. A baseball player adjusts a jockstrap.

There’s so much going on over the course of a game that it makes single photographs super special. We’ve captured one moment that will live on for eternity.

Here are three of my favorite images from NBA lore. Enjoy!

Josh Smith in the dunk contest

Image courtesy of Bill Frakes for Sports Illustrated

I always think dunk contest images are super cool. You’ve got everyone in the arena watching what’s unfolding in front of them.

All heads are turned in one direction. The anticipation is palpable. And when you snap the photo at the perfect time, you get something awesome like this.

I remember this 2005 dunk contest well. A group of pals was watching at my friend’s house, and his cable went out in the middle of the festivities.

We all screamed in horror. This was before you could immediately log onto Twitter and see a cool play, so I thought we missed the end of things.

Thankfully, my parents recorded the entire All-Star lineup and subscribed to a different cable company, so I was still able to see all the magic here.

My favorite dunk was this one: Josh Smith, then a rookie for the Atlanta Hawks, ran across the court and caught a pass from Kenyon Martin, who was seated in a chair.

In one fell swoop, Smith grabbed the pass (it was not a crisp bounce pass, more like a lob), leaped over Martin, and thunderously dunked the ball home.

The place, rightfully so, went nuts.

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James embrace their role as villains

Image courtesy of Morry Gash/AP Photo

From 2010 to 2014, the Miami Heat were the league’s top villains.

The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh had teamed up in South Beach, with hopes of bringing an endless supply of championships to the franchise. Because of the way everything came together, the rest of the league (and many fans) hated them.

But the Heat seemed to relish in that. This picture is from December 6, 2010, just a few games into Miami’s dominant run of four straight Finals appearances and two championships.

Dwyane Wade has just thrown a pass to LeBron James, who was running behind him like a freight train that forgot what brakes are. Wade doesn’t even need to look at what’s unfolding. He knows his teammate’s got it. LeBron is about to crush the hearts of an entire city with one dunk.

Meanwhile, Bosh, who many people considered the third wheel of this trio, is just chilling by the other basket, watching the magic unfold.

Blake Griffin destroys poor Timofey Mozgov

Image courtesy of Noah Graham/NBA/Getty Images

That same season as the Heat’s initial run, Timofey Mozgov was a rookie for the New York Knicks. He was in just his 12th NBA game, doing his best to contribute.

I feel his pain. Anytime I join a new team in organized or pick-up sports, even if I’ve played with everyone before, it still takes me a bit to find a rhythm.

Unfortunately, in this case, “finding a rhythm” meant getting switched onto Blake Griffin right when he was leaping for a dunk.

Mosgov tries his best to foul Griffin, to slow his momentum down. But this endeavor winds up with the same effectiveness as throwing a pebble at a raging rhinoceros.

I mean, look at this picture! Mosgov is not a short man and his face is in Griffin’s crotch. That is next-level leaping.

Perhaps my favorite part of this picture, though, are two people to the left of Mosgov.

One kid is on his phone. He will claim he saw this dunk live. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM.

The other is the man in the yellow shirt and gray sport coat. Perhaps he was coming back from the bathroom, but thankfully he kept his eye on the action.

And my goodness, will he have a nice story to tell.

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