The year 2015 was filled with countless NBA memories. From Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry's MVP season to LeBron James losing in the Finals once again, the NBA gave us a year to never forget.
Of course, 2015 included the dunks, ankle breakers, game winners, upset victories, and much more. It also included Andrew Wiggins showing he is ready for the big leagues as a rookie, an NBA Finals that included two rookie head coaches for the first time in NBA history, the Atlanta Hawks shocking the league by winning 60 games, and the injuries to various superstars throughout the season.
While there are many memories and highlights that are expected of certain teams and players, there were also moments in 2015 that many did not expect to happen. Moments like rookie Jahlil Okafor, who is having a great season, getting into two physical fights off the court or when Golden State Warriors rookie head coach Steve Kerr, who just came off an NBA Championship, announced that he was having multiple back surgeries and has not coached a game during the 2015-16 season.
Whether on or off the court, these are the moments in the NBA that fans, players, coaches, teammates, and others never saw coming. These are the times that make us remember why we love the game of basketball, through good and bad times or ups and down. These are the most unexpected, surprising and shocking stories from the NBA in 2015.
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15 Cleanthony Early Getting Shot
New York Knicks player Cleanthony Early did not expect to bring in the New Year this way. On December 30 at about 4:30 a.m., Early was leaving a strip club in Queens, N.Y. with his girlfriend. As they were inside of a cab, multiple vehicles surrounded the cab and a group of masked men jumped out and robbed Early for his money, jewelry and even the gold caps on his teeth. They only took the driver's I.D. but they did not rob the girlfriend, which is raising a lot of questions about whether she was involved in some way?
After the robbers already ruined Early's night , they then proceeded to shoot him in the leg. It's already bad enough that he got shot period, but the fact that he got shot in the leg and he's a professional athlete makes it a lot worst. This is interesting because this incident happened just 10 days after Early's teammate got robbed by two women who he took home after a night out, who took jewelry worth up to $617,000. Early is doing fine with no permanent damage and will not require surgery at this point.
14 Chris Bosh's Health
After playing in his 9th All-Star Game, Miami Heat star Chris Bosh was admitted into a hospital for lung testing. Bosh was diagnosed with a blood clot on one of his lungs and had to miss second half of the 2014-15 season.
This came as a surprise because Bosh was having an outstanding season up until that point, making him an All-Star in the first place. Of course, Bosh returned to the court earlier this year in October and looked healthier than a horse.
13 LeBron James Lifetime with Nike
LeBron James and Nike agreed to a lifetime deal. Nike announced that this was the first type of deal they have ever done with anybody in their 44-year franchise.
Nike is making us suffer by not telling us the actual figure James will be receiving from them, but sources say that it will be worth more than Kevin Durant's 10-year $300 million deal that he received last year.
This deal came in the middle of the season and out of nowhere. Nobody was expecting this deal and the fact that James just turned 31 is also a big deal for him at this age.
12 NYPD vs. Thabo Sefolosha
Atlanta Hawks role player Thabo Sefolosha was outside of a club after it got shut down due to Indiana Pacers player Chris Copeland being stabbed. While outside, a police officer approached Sefolosha and told him "get the hell out." Sefolosha thought the officer was a little aggressive and asked him if he could be nicer.
After a verbal exchange between the officer and Sefolosha with the officer continually telling him to leave, Sefolosha decided to be the bigger person and walk away. While on his way to a cab, Sefolosha sees a homeless person and goes up to give him some money. The officer sees this and brings six other officer with him to approach Sefolosha. They bring him to the ground by hitting his leg viciously. During this altercation, one of the police officers breaks Sefolosha's leg.
With all the issues going on in today's society between law enforcement and the public, this was very shocking that an athlete received this type of treatment.
11 New York Knicks Draft Kristaps Porzingis
For the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks had the 4th overall pick and the locals in the crowd were eager to find out who Phil Jackson and the Knicks would choose. Well, Jackson and the Knicks went with Kristaps Porzingis out of Spain. The crowd booed the selection and felt betrayed and that their season was down the drain.
Surprisingly, Porzingis has played better than what was expected in New York and is putting forth a solid rookie season. This move shows that Jackson knew what he was doing all along and people should have more faith in a man that has a total of 13 NBA Championships.
10 LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 2015 Playoff Run
After losing Kevin Love in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs and losing Kyrie Irving after Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the whole world finally thought LeBron James would not be going to the finals after four straight appearances. Everybody thought that, except for James and the Cavaliers.
Not only did James and the Cavs beat the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they swept them in four games, taking James back to the finals for the 4th straight year. Of course, James and the Cavs would fall short in the finals to Steph Curry and the Warriors.
9 Los Angeles Clippers Losing In Western Conference Semifinals
After the Los Angeles Clippers beat the odds and defeated the San Antonio Spurs in seven games of the first round, everybody thought they might possibly be the favorites to come out of the Western Conference. The Clippers went into the second round of the playoffs and dominating the Houston Rockets. The Clippers took a 3-1 series lead and looked like they were finally on their way to the Western Conference Finals, but then the unthinkable happened.
After losing to the Rockets in Game 5, making the series 3-2 the Clippers way, the Clippers were going back to their home court where they had beat the Rockets twice already. The Rockets, being the underdogs, did not want to go home just yet and forced a game seven in Houston. The Rockets went on to win game seven after being down 3-1 and went on to the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. The Rockets are only the ninth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
8 LaMarcus Aldridge Joining the San Antonio Spurs
The biggest free agent acquisition of the summer was the Spurs aquiring four-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Since 1998, the Spurs have made the playoffs every single season and have been to the NBA Finals six times, winning five NBA Championships.
They already have NBA veterans Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and David West. Now with Aldridge and the growth of star Kwahi Leonard, the Spurs are favorites to give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. You add Aldridge and West to a team that has been to the NBA Finals two out of the last three years and they have a pretty good shot at going all the way yet again.
7 Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher Feud
The NBA has tons of rivalries between players on the court, but have you ever heard of a rivalry between a player and a coach off the court?
New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was dating reality show star Gloria Govan, who just so happens to be the ex-wife of Memphis Grizzles defensive player Matt Barnes. Fisher was at Govan's house when Barnes found out about it. Barnes drove 95 miles to confront his ex-teaammate with the Los Angeles Lakers in Fisher.
When Barnes arrived, there was a little altercation between them, but Fisher only had a few scratches and left before the police arrived to the scene. Fisher decided not to press charges and let the whole thing slide. It appears that Barnes is not over his ex-wife.
6 DeAndre Jordan and Dallas Mavericks Controversy
During the offseason, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was one of the biggest free agents in the league. On July 6, the Dallas Mavericks won the Jordan lottery and were set to sign a contract with him worth about $80 million for four years.
Jordan then changed his mind and decided to stay with the Clippers, leaving the Mavericks fans, coaches, players, and ownership disgusted with him. Jordan apologized to the Mavericks and their owner Mark Cuban personally on Twitter, but they weren't too accepting.
When the Clippers traveled to Dallas to take on the Mavericks, Jordan was booed each and ever time he touched the ball.
5 Golden State Warriors Win NBA Championship
This past June, the Golden State Warriors did something they have not done since 1975, win an NBA Championship.
The Warriors finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA at 67-15, but many still didn't think they would make it to the NBA Finals, with the Western Conference being so competitive.
The Warriors would in fact find their way through the playoffs, setting up a showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors would then win their first NBA Championship in 40 years.
4 Flip Saunders Says Farewell
On August 11, 2015 Phil "Flip" Saunders announced that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which is a cancer that comes from a specific type of while blood cells. Prior to his announcement, Saunders was named the Minnesota Timberwolves' President of Basketball Operations, but in June he forfeited his duties to Timberwolves General Manager Milt Newton, foreshadowing his announcement that came in August.
Saunders was getting treatment for his disease and expected to return to his duties as the Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, but after being hospitalized for a month, the team announced Saunders would miss the upcoming season.
On October 25, Saunders passed away at the age of 60. During his stint in the NBA, Saunders coached the Timberwolves twice, the Detroit Pistons, and the Washington Wizards.
3 Lamar Odom's Close Call
Lamar Odom hasn't played in an NBA game since 2013 with the Los Angeles Clippers, so he was kind of forgotten about, until this year. Odom was rushed to a hospital after being found unconscious in Nevada. Odom was then found in a coma and put on life support. Odom suffered several strokes and kidney failure during his time in the hospital.
Social media began to announce that Odom had passed away but he did in fact survive with the only good thing coming from the ordeal being Odom's planned divorce with Khloe Kardashian was called off so she could help him out with any medical problems.
Odom remains in recovery.
2 Warriors Winning Streak
Following their NBA Championship in June, the Golden State Warriors were still being criticized for beating an injured Cleveland Cavaliers team and furthermore, letting them win two games in the series. So, this season, everybody thought the Warriors true colors would show.
The Warriors took that criticism and ran with it, starting the 2015-16 season an unheard of 24-0. Curry, who is the current MVP, is looking like he wants to win that honor again this season as he leads the charge.
Now that the Warriors have shown that they are the real deal, they have gone from underdogs to favorites.
1 Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement
We all knew this day would come eventually, but we never thought we would see it this soon. Kobe Bryant, "The Black Mamba," announced that he is hanging it up after this season. Since that announcement, Bryant has become the NBA's most popular player by a mile.
Every arena he plays in, whether it's home or away, provides a standing ovation and a extended introduction by the announcer in which he sings the praises of Bryant. The Lakers are having a bad season as a whole but Kobe seems to be enjoying his last ride.
Kobe Bryant leads All-Star voting as the sentimental favourite as basketball fans are saddened to watch him leave the game.
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