“When I was twelve, I went to Hell for snuffin’ Jesus” -Nas
We all knew Ray Allen was the greatest shooter before he threw that dagger in the Spurs corazon in Game 6, but can any ‘shooter’ ever enter Ray’s realm? To even be considered the greatest shooter you had to at least be nice, cuz Steve Kerr and Mark Price don’t ever get brought up in this convo. Reggie would trade in that bogus hairline to hit that shot, Danny Green would trade all twenty-whatever threes he made in the first 5 games to hit that 1 shot. Clearly, Walter Ray is the greatest shooter so we won’t discuss that. What we want to know is where does that corner 3 with about 5 ticks left on the clock in Game 6 of the NBA Finals rank among the greatest shots in NBA history. I’m not one for fancy intro’s so we’ll get right into it.
1. Uncle Swish: There hasn’t been a more unexpected game winner than this one. After Timothy hit that weird fadeaway leaner we were ready to crown the Spurs champs. Who even knew that 0.4 seconds even existed, and who knew that you could actually chuck a shot up to the rim in that much time, let alone make it count in a heated WCF Playoff contest.
This shot is always referenced to at the end of a game when there’s less than 1 second left on the clock. Derek Fisher made something that was deemed impossible a reality. What makes this shot so great is that we still haven’t seen a duplicate of it till this day, damn near 10 years later.
2. Sacramento Queens: 7 rings is no fluke, granted he’s played with the best big men since Kareem (Hakeem, Shaq, and Timmy). Robert Horry has had his moments, most of them great, but none of them bigger and more heart breaking than the Vlade Divac tip out (pause) 3 pointer.
What makes this shot so critical is that if this doesn’t drop, the Lakers go down 3-1 to Sacramento and more than likely bow out to the Kings in this 7 game series, changing the course of NBA history as we know it. This Horry celebration is also underrated, who else could celebrate a game winner without hand/arm motions?
3. Made Patrick Proud: A shortened 98-99 season had the 8th seeded Knicks go up against recent rival and #1 Miami Heat. Back in the good ol NBA on NBC, 5 game first round days we witnessed a classic. Who was the Knicks go to guy at this point? Was it Spree, Houston, or the t(rusty) vet Patrick? I don’t think any of us watching the game truly knew, but with a little New York butter roll on the rim, history was made and we saw an 8 seed take down a 1, something we’ve only seen twice since then.
New York Knicks fans were in for a hell of a ride that post season as the “underdog” Knicks went on to make it to the NBA Finals before making way for the start of the Duncan/Popovich epic. Sadly this (and maybe LJ’s 4 point play from the same 99 Playoffs) have been the most that Knicks fans have had to Spike Lee for in eons.
4. Knick Killer Reggie Miller: This isn’t quite one shot, but it’s a sequence of shots and the pinnacle of Knicks fans hatred of every and anything Reggie Miller related.
Chris Copeland couldn’t have seen these highlights!! Of course the Pacers wouldn’t go on to even make the Finals this season but this is why in the back of your mind you still consider 4th quarters “Miller Time”. Shouts to Anthony Mason, this is probably his only career highlight. Lance (prematurely) throwing the choke sign at Lebron is 2012 adds to the legend of this moment.
5. The Last Shot: Or so we would have liked to have considered it. As close as anyone gets, they’ll never truly eclipse MJ as the GOAT, because who could ride off into the sunset like this, hoop earring and all?
I think we should petition to have Mike’s follow thru on that shot be the new NBA logo. Nobody born after 96 knows who Jerry West is. And for the record Byron Russell’s mother wouldn’t have called that a push off on Mike.
Obviously we weren’t digging in the crates for these, it’s the swish generation. Who even remembers Paxson vs the Suns, or Gar Heard shot vs Boston, or Magic’s skyhook vs the C’s, or Jerry West’s halfcourt 2 pointer vs the Knicks?Just relive these recent gems, and call rank em how you please!