In 2023, the NBA fandom will have a bunch of moments that will fuel them with plenty of memories. The fandom got to see a lot of unexpected things this year. Sometimes, it was a record-breaking moment followed by the announcement of the new big things arriving or the satisfying performance seen by fans on the court, dusting off the year with some drama.
The NBA went through moments fueled by plenty of moments from different segments. Not just one or two, but a series of them covering each of them has amazed the fandom. From winning to losing to someone achieving a lot, someone got broken, and each one was trying to make 2023 more momentous.
The top moments of fandom from 2023:
Starting from the breaking of records, the NBA fandom got to see a series of surprises, starting from the breaking of records to the arrival of the upcoming bigger moments to outstanding performances, whether on the court or off, giving the NBA fandom some momentous occasions to embrace.
The 7-foot-4-inch Frenchman, Victor Wembanyama, from his phenomenal arrival, has marked a bright future in his name. In May, during the NBA Draft lottery, Victor was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. While making his debut, he had reached nine points, eight rebounds, and five blocks, but he tied up all the leftover efforts together and gave a spectacular performance in his second and final, along with the summer league game.
Till this far in his rookie year, Victor has made an average of 18.3 blocks and 10.6 rebounds. He has led per game with 3.0. Within a short time span of just a year, Victor obtained much love and support. The tickets to the Las Vegas Summer League were sold out of the all-day session in advance of the fans’ craze for having an early glimpse at Wembanyama.
LeBron James has ruled the year ‘2023.’
2023 just sounds more satisfactory for the NBA fandom by marking it as “The Year of LeBron James.” The 39-year-old player has continued to dominate the NBA this year as well, in ways never seen before. In February, he overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by setting an all-time scoring record. James had also led the Los Angeles Lakers to the Western Conference finals, followed by their fall to the eventual championship Denver Nuggets.
There was talk all around of him retiring after the end of the Lakers’ season, but eventually, the fans were given a happy treat as he was seen with more passion in the 2023–24 season. Due to LeBron’s vengeful spirit, the Lakers were led by him to an undefeated run during the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament to win the first NBA Cup.
Nikola Jokic and the NBA Companionship
The already two-time MVP holder and five-time All-Star Nikola Jokic has added one ultimate star to his honor by winning the NBA championship in 2023. This has raised him in the Bill Russell Scale ahead of the 2023–24 season. Jokic had scored a league-best 8.2 points on the scale of the last season, which raised him from 75th to a tie or 60th on this year’s list.
If, in the upcoming opportunities, Jokic performs the same as the last one, then no sooner will he rank in the top 40 and move ahead of two-time MVP Steve Nash. By giving the same performance as his previous one for two more seasons, Jokic will reach the pantheon at the age of 30.
‘The Sacramento Kings’
The Kings have had the longest playoff drought in NBA history this season. In March, they marked North America’s longest postseason drought by sliding into their first playoff spot in 16 years. To celebrate the win, the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento was lit with a purple beam after the Kings win.
Trades of the two seasons that had shaken the fandom.
The trade deadline of 2022–23 was moving forward steadily until it got shaken up when Kyrie Irving made a request to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets. Irving was sent from the Nets to the Dallas Mavericks, whereas there were assumptions about him making his way to the Los Angeles Lakers and his good friend LeBron James.
There was still planning left on the plate for the Nets to get done with. Later, when Irving made his Mavericks debut, Brooklyn imploded the remnants of its Big 3 experiment by trading Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns.
The trade of two other league stars caused turbulence this summer as James Harden of the ill-fated Nets Big 3 wasn’t willing to stay in Philadelphia any longer. Harden called Daryl Morey, the president of basketball operations, a liar because he didn’t facilitate his decision to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Finally, during the early hours of Halloween, Morey sent Harden to LA.
On the second day of free agency, Damien Lillard, after getting tired of doing a weight for a championship-caliber team to approach him, made a request for a trade. Even though Lillard had eyes on the Miami Heat, the team did not have anything to offer the Trail Blazers.
The player and the team had to wait until September, when Lillard got traded to the Milwaukee Bucks The trades made in 2023 showcased the empowerment of the player and respect for their will in the NBA.
Rise of the Stars at the FIBA World Cup
The United States had some lofty goals at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but since they did not have the top NBA superstars on the roster, they had to settle for 4th place in the tournament. Still, it’s not a big matter of stress, as the stars still rose.
After the bronze medal game in September, Manila from the Philippines said, “These are the games that later become remembered as chapters when a bronze medal match could have been a forgettable 4:30 a.m. ET snoozefest marked into a thriller.”
Donavan Mitchell and Damian Lillard scored 71 points in a single game.
James has already set the all-time scoring record for this year. The other two players, Donovan Mitchell and Damian Lillard, scored 71 points in the first two months of the year, making history as the highest-scoring individual performers within six seasons. On January 12, 2023, Lillard scored 50 points, following the 60 points scored on January 25, 2023.
Joel Embiid Wins MVP
Joel Embiid achieved the title award of “The Most Valuable Player,” which definitely means a lot to the player, and the emotions on his face were a witness to it. While accepting the trophy, he had a display of emotions on his face, which marks the best of all moments of 2023 for the fandom.
Draymond Green brought drama to the NBA fandom.
During game 2 of the opening round series, Green got involved in a four-season altercation after he stopped on Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis’ chest, which got him an ejection and a one-game suspension. NBA fandom thrives on drama, and Green has served the fans well.
This wasn’t the first time Bed Green caught himself in trouble, as he had already been suspended for five games for a chokehold on Robert Gobert, the center of the Minnesota Timberwolves, in November.
While handing him out the suspension, Green was called a “repeat offender,” as after his return from the November suspension, he again got an indefinite suspension for a while, swinging at the phonics center Jusuf Nurkic’s head.
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