If we are to look at the most popular sports in America, the NBA will enter the conversation on every single occasion. Alongside the National Football League (NFL) and the Major League Baseball (MLB), it has been a staple of American culture for over 75 years.
Every NBA team plays 82 games in a sixth month season so there are hundreds of NBA highlights throughout the more than 2,500 games played in a season. We’ve curated those NBA plays, storylines and highlights into five of the biggest moments that have shaped the NBA in 2022. This includes some of the biggest individual moments and some of the biggest games.
The NBA has provided us with some of the greatest moments and greatest characters in the history of sport. Today, we will look at the huge moments that have unfolded throughout 2022.
LeBron James 38th birthday antics
Many legendary athletes begin to slow down once they hit their mid-30s. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the biggest soccer stars in the world who turns 38 in 2023, has signed for a completely unknown club team in the Middle East.
Although the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t considered one of the favorites to win the title this year, LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time. NBA betting apps allow you to check out some of this season’s favorites and other individual markets, such as MVP or outright match betting.
Compare Ronaldo’s recent experience to that of LeBron James, who scored a season-high 47 points against the Atlanta Hawks on December 31st. This isn’t the first time the Hawks have felt the wrath of LeBron on his birthday.
Strangely enough, back in 2009, he scored 48 points against them on his 25th birthday. It doesn’t look like he is slowing down as he heads towards his 40th birthday.
Golden State Warriors – Champions again
The dynasty of the Warriors team from 2014 onwards will go down in the history of the NBA. Through this period, they have been led by the iconic Steph Curry and coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time in Steve Kerr.
Lifting their fourth title in eight years, the Warriors have proven they are their generation’s greatest team. Following their blistering and frightening form between 2015 and 2018, it appeared as though this legendary team was beginning to lose its killer edge.
However, an iconic return to the pinnacle of basketball was in store for Steph Curry and his teammates as they lifted the title again. This had another great moment and that was Steph Curry finally winning a much-deserved NBA Finals MVP.
The return of Klay Thompson
Sticking to the Golden State Warriors theme, the return of Klay Thompson was a huge boost for the franchise and its fans. Having been sidelined for over two years with a debilitating injury, many analysts and experts were concerned it could spell the end of his career.
However, Thompson managed his return with the same tenacity and skill that made him such an important piece of the Golden State Warriors over the last few years.
His return has galvanized the team. Although the Warriors are rank outsiders for this year’s title, nobody could completely write them off, given the level some of their players have operated at over the last eight years.
Taking a look at favorites for the league and taking a pick of the outsiders can be a fun pastime. Gambling on NBA games can add excitement to an already enthralling sport which is constantly full of twists and turns.
However, if you feel as though you are becoming overly reliant on gambling to make the games exciting, or you are in a position where you are placing too many wagers on basketball, then taking stock and curtailing your spending is important.
Even though millions of people place wagers on sports and set time and spending limits, some unfortunate gamblers become addicted and lose a lot of money. It is important to spot the early warning signs.
Chasing losses is one and spending too much time gambling is another. If you feel you have an issue with your gambling, reaching out to a professional counsellor or a trusted friend or family member is a good place to begin addressing your problem.
Continuous rise of European players
This generation of NBA superstars consists of more internationals than ever before. Looking back through history books highlights that many top superstars were of American origin. However, as we look at some of the all-stars in the modern game, they come from countries such as Slovenia, Serbia and Greece.
Slovenian hero Luka Doncic is regarded as one of the rising stars of the NBA. Despite only being 23 years old, he has been named to the NBA All-Star team three times. There’s plenty more to come from him, and his career looks destined to become one of the top careers in the next decade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is another all-star who is of Greek and Nigerian heritage. Much like Doncic, he has been named to the NBA All-Star team on multiple occasions and is widely considered one of the best players in the league.
He has been named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team too, which shows just how much ability he has.
Another player who has featured in multiple All-Star teams and hails from the European continent is Serbian center Nikola Jokic who plays for the Denver Nuggets and was named MVP for the second consecutive season. The influence of these players has been profound in the league, resulting in seismic change.
Going into the 2022-23 season three of the five most-likely MVP candidates are European players Jokic, Giannis and Doncic.
Gregg Popovich sets a new record
One of the most legendary coaches in the game set an incredible record in 2022. Popovich has been involved in top-level basketball for nearly 50 years. He is one of only five coaches to have won five NBA titles as a head coach.
His name is cemented into the legacy of the San Antonio Spurs, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in the league’s history. Popovich will likely rank up a few more wins before he retires as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
It is a record that will likely stand the test of time for a considerable period before any other coach gets near.
The Alien Unicorn
Basketball heads have known about Victor Wembanyama for a couple years now, but 2022 was when the hype for the 7-foot 4-inch French prospect went wild. The 18-year-old has caused mass hysteria with his size, skill and all-around ability.
Wembanyama might be the best NBA prospect in the history of fantastic prospects and unless something crazy happens, he’ll be the #1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Some teams have been accused of tanking to get the first choice of Wembanyama next season in the draft pick due to the incredible talent of the precocious young French star. His offence and defense are already of a frightening standard, and his ethereal movement is that of a man who is two feet smaller.
Plenty of NBA fans and enthusiasts are looking toward the future to discover what teams or players will deliver the iconic moments that will shape the sport in 2023. Don’t be surprised to see some of the names that have appeared in today’s article in the headlines over the next 12 months.
As some of the older legends in the league, such as LeBron James and Steph Curry, reach the twilight of their careers, it will be down to players like Wembanyama to inject fresh excitement into the league. He is already doing this without ever playing a single NBA game. The future is looking bright.