• The year has been a particularly kind one to basketball fans who wanted to see some changes
  • Phoenix's trip to the Finals, Milwaukee's title win and Chicago's massive offseason all shaped the year that was
  • Stephen Curry's record-breaking performance put the exclamation point on a wild year for basketball

Despite the global pandemic, NBA fans were treated to some of the best basketball moments in recent memory and are on pace to do the same once 2022 rolls around.

Phoenix Suns' Near Cinderella Run

The 2020-21 Phoenix Suns stormed through the league for the better part of the regular season and 20 postseason games en route to its first NBA finals berth since the days of Charles Barkley back in 1993.

Going up 2-0 against the vaunted Milwaukee Bucks is nothing to scoff at as the Suns were two games away from realizing a dream that felt perpetually impossible.

The Suns saw their hopes of winning a championship drastically go down in flames as the Bucks won four-straight games to seal the title after backup forward Dario Saric tore his ACL and Devin Booker nursed a hamstring issue.

Carrying one of the league’s most potent offenses with a slightly retooled roster, the Suns are looking to end their 54-year journey to the title by the conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Phoenix Suns
Head Coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns holds the Western Conference Champion trophy after the Suns defeated the LA Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Giannis Ends Milwaukee’s Title Drought

Giannis Antetokounmpo brought the Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the world against an upstart Phoenix Suns team after it looked like “The Greek Freak” would miss the Finals due to a gnarly knee injury against the Atlanta Hawks.

It was Antetokounmpo’s 50-point triple-double in Game 6 that made sure the Cream City took home its first title since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson in 1974.

Winning the title in his ninth year in the league has put Antetokounmpo head and shoulders above his peers, despite being dismissed as a scrawny teen from Greece who will never make it in the NBA early in his career.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points to power the Milwaukee Bucks over Phoenix on Tuesday to claim their first NBA title since 1971 and win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points to power the Milwaukee Bucks over Phoenix on Tuesday to claim their first NBA title since 1971 and win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JONATHAN DANIEL

Russell Westbrook Joins The Lakers

The former Oklahoma City Thunder star found his way back to the City of Angels donning the purple and gold of the Los Angeles Lakers thanks to a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards.

It was a move that surprised the NBA as the Lakers are gearing up for the 18th NBA title with LeBron James and Anthony Davis co-captaining the ship.

The experiment has been so-so thus far as the lack of depth the Lakers have has certainly affected their success in the regular season.

It remains to be seen whether the Lakers will be able to even reach the playoffs based on how the team is currently performing.

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a picture with his jersey during a press conference at Staples Center on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images | Katelyn Mulcahy

Chicago Bulls Go All In

General manager Marc Eversley and vice president for basketball operations Arutras Karnisovas went all in during the offseason by acquiring game-changing talent for a potential run to the NBA title this season.

Netting Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan via trade was only the start for the Bulls’ rise to playoff contention as they were also able to poach Alex Caruso from the Lakers on a deal that the headband-wearing spitfire is currently living up to.

Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic finally have a worthy title contender playing alongside them this season, and it has made the Bulls one of the teams to watch by the time the playoffs roll around.

Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan
Lonzo Ball #2 and DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls celebrate a shot made by Ball during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 15, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Stephen Curry Passes Ray Allen For Most Threes Made

December 14, 2021 will forever be remembered as the date that Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry firmly etched himself in the annals of basketball greatness by passing NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen’s record for most made threes.

The fabled Madison Square Garden was the site of Curry’s achievement with Allen, former record holder Reggie Miller and his father Dell Curry in attendance–a microcosm of the NBA’s best three-point shooters.

Similar to how Allen made the title-saving shot against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, basketball fans around the world will always remember where they were on the night that Curry cemented himself among the league’s best players.

Questions of Curry lacking athleticism and his overreliance on the three-point shot prior to the 2009 NBA Draft should already be thrown out of the window at this point.

The only question that should remain in the minds of NBA fans is how much threes will Curry accumulate by the end of his storied career.

Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks to become the NBA's all-time leader in three point baskets during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden on December 14, 2021 in New York City. Curry passed Ray Allen with his 2,974th three pointer. The Warriors defeated the Knicks 105-96. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images