Relive some of the Top 10 Moments in the NBA in 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
From the rise of Linsanity to the coronation of King James to the US Olympic Basketball team winning gold, it was quite a year for basketball and the NBA in 2012.
As 2012 winds down, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable moments in the NBA from this year:
10. New York gets two basketball teams as Nets move to Brooklyn
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It was a move that changed the face of New York basketball forever with the Nets, formerly of New Jersey for decades, packed up their bags and moved to Brooklyn following the conclusion of the 2012-12 NBA season. With the move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, just a bridge toll away from historic Madison Square Garden, and a slew of offseason moves that included resigning Deron Williams and bringing in steady stars Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson, it set the tone for a crosstown rivalry between the Nets and the New York Knicks, who were backed by a longtime and loyal fan base and stars such as Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
9. High profile coaches in NBA fired, resign – D’Antoni, Avery Johnson, Mike Brown
The NBA’s high-paced pace makes for little room for failure, especially in the big markets. A few high-profile coaches found that out the hard way this year.
Mike D’Antoni abruptly resigned from the Knicks in midseason amid rumors of discord between himself and Knicks star Anthony. However, D’Antoni would later find a new gig in another big time market by taking the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching job from Mike Brown, who was fired after a winless preseason and a 1-4 start to the 2012-13 season for the Lakers. Meanwhile, Avery Johnson, who was named NBA Coach of the Month in October and November, was fired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets last week after a struggling December and stories of another power struggle between himself and Nets superstar Williams.
8. David Stern announces pending retirement
After being credited for expanding the fame and exposure of the NBA since taking over as commissioner in 1984, Stern announced his intention to step down as NBA Commissioner in 2014.
7. Lockout shortens NBA season
After a disagreement between owners and the league’s Players Association over a new collective bargaining agreement, the preseason was cancelled and part of the 2011-12 NBA season was also lost until early December in a five-month lockout that shortened the NBA’s season for the first time since 1998-99.
6. Derrick Rose Injures ACL; The Road to Recovery
It was a moment that brought Chicago Bulls basketball to a heart-stopping standstill. Late in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose went down after attempting a crossover in the lane with 1:20 to go. As he clutched his let knee in agony, Bulls fans feared the worst. It turned out that Chicago’s best player and one of the best stars in the NBA tore his left ACL, sending a stunned Chicago reeling out of the playoffs and Rose to embark on a months-long journey of rehabilitation as he works to get back to the court.
5. Lakers Land Nash…followed by Dwight Howard; But Still Struggle to Build Chemistry
It would be a monumental offseason for the Lakers as they snared both a legendary point guard and the most dominant center in the league with the signing of Nash in July, followed a blockbuster four-team trade that netted the Lakers Howard, putting together a star studded lineup in L.A. including superstars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. However, the Lakers have been struggling to get it together this season, going through spurts of losing streaks as they look to build chemistry.
4. Debut of New Rookie Class – Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The future is in their hands—and it’s looking pretty good. With the debut of the Hornets’ dominant Davis, the Trail Blazers’ dynamic Lillard and the Charlotte Bobcats’ slick-passing Kidd-Gilchrist, the league is looking to have a fun-to-watch crop of new talent to watch for years to come.
3. Lebron James, Miami’s Big Three win First NBA Championship
When they arrived together in the most hyped—and most controversial—offseason in NBA history in the summer of 2010, they promised “not two, not three, not four” but many championships to come to South Beach.
One year removed from a disappointing and stunning loss in the NBA Finals in 2010-11, James, one of the NBA’s most celebrated players, and his fellow “Big Three” of Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade came through on at least one of those golden promises, staving off challenges from the scrappy New York Knicks in the first round, the youthful Indiana Pacers in the semi-finals, a grueling seven-game Eastern Conference Finals series with the veteran Celtics and a threat in the NBA Finals from the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder to win their first NBA Championship as a unit.
Could they be the first of more to come?
2. Team USA Wins Gold Medal at Summer Olympic Games in London
Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. Carmelo Anthony. Kevin Durant. Tyson Chandler. Chris Paul. Kevin Love. Deron Williams. Russell Westbrook. All on the same team.
Scary, isn’t it?
And dominant. And dominate they did, with these stars and more comprising a Team USA Basketball team that went undefeated in the Summer Olympic Games in London this year en route to a gold medal for the U.S., with Team USA outscoring their opponents by an average of more than 30 points during the summer games.
1. The Rise of “Linsanity”
It was the story that captivated audiences around the Big Apple, across the nation and around the world.
Only a little more than a month after being cut by the Houston Rockets and languishing on the bench in New York, a rash of injuries prompted then-coach D’Antoni to give Jeremy Lin, a little-known, undrafted, Asian-American kid from Harvard a chance to play in a Feb. 4 game against the Nets.
The result? A 25-point, seven-assist explosion that led the struggling Knicks to a 99-92 win over the Nets. It would be the first of several such games for Lin, who became an overnight sensation across the globe during the phenomenal stretch of play through most of February that saw the Knicks’ season saved thanks in part to the birth of a new star in the NBA—a phenomenon that became known as “Linsanity.”
Lin would eventually go to Houston during the summer, but fans around the world would not soon forget the new star, as he brought with him to Houston a new slew of fans as the point guard of one of the most exciting offenses in the league.