The Weirdest NBA Moments Of All Time
There are always beautiful shots and thrilling dunks happening in the NBA every night, but sometimes the things that stand out are the mishaps and unusual occurrences. That’s why we put together this list of weird NBA moments that have stood the test of time and continue to delight us over and again.
Manu Ginobili becomes The Batman
For the first weird NBA moment, we go way back to a regular-season game in 2009 involving San Antonio Spurs legend, Manu Ginobili. Somehow, someway, a bat was on the loose at the Spurs’ home arena and play was halted until this winged menace could be stopped.
Of course, no one expected a player to intervene, but that’s just what happened, as Ginobili whacked the poor bat out of the air and placed it on the side of the court. A determined competitor if there ever was one, nothing was preventing Ginobili from finishing the game. Well, the bat kind of did, as the famous Argentinian was forced to leave the arena for a tetanus shot.
Thunder and Grizzlies turn up in white
During a matchup between Oklahoma City and Memphis in March 2022, every player on the court turned up in a white uniform.
In the old days, it used to be that the home team chose white and the road team wore a colored uniform. However, the NBA now allows teams to mix it up and pretty much wear any uniform they want, as long as they don’t clash with each other. Well, someone didn’t get the memo, as every player was as confused as the fans when the game was delayed due to both teams wearing white.
The situation was resolved after 15 minutes when Memphis, being the road team, was forced to run back to the locker room and switch into their blue away jerseys.
Michael Jordan wears No. 12
Everyone knows Michael Jordan for his famous No. 23 jersey, but do you know about the one game where he was forced to wear No. 12? It happened just before a game between the Bulls and Magic in 1990, where not long before tip-off, no one could find Jordan’s 23 jersey.
As this was a road game for Chicago and teams only brought one jersey back in the day, a frantic search began for a replacement. The Bulls scoured the stands for a Chicago fan wearing a No. 23 jersey to see if they could borrow it for the game, but no suitable size was discovered.
As the game was soon to start, the Bulls could only find a No. 12 jersey with no name on the back, which the NBA approved as a result of having other good option. Jordan wore the jersey and scored 49 points in a loss to the Magic, but it was later revealed the No. 23 was stolen from the Bulls’ locker room before the game.
Apart from 18 games in 1995 where Michael Jordan wore No. 45 before switching back to 23, this was a weird NBA moment of seeing the league’s greatest player wearing No. 12 and no name on his back.
Jason Kidd “accidentally” spills his drink on the court
The current coach for the Dallas Mavericks, ex-player Jason Kidd, was incredibly crafty during his first coaching stint with the Nets back in 2013. His team was two points down to the Lakers with only a few seconds left in the final quarter, but as the Nets had no timeouts, Kidd had to get creative in order to draw up a sideline play.
Kidd is seen on video saying, “hit me” to Nets player Tyshawn Taylor as he walks to the bench, and what happens next is a great display of acting. Kidd, holding a full cup of water, takes the bump from Taylor and absolutely-on-purpose drops the contents all over the court. Of course, the Nets gain a break in play while the spillage is mopped up.
The Nets would go on to lose the game and Kidd was given a $50,000 fine for the incident, but to be fair, the coach did own up to the act and admitted it wasn’t the smartest decision he made.
Bogdanovic and Decker have a nice trip
These are two of the best (i.e. embarrassing) falls we’ve seen in the NBA.
The first is from Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was ready to catch a pass from Trae Young during a game in 2021, but stumbled over his own feet and hit the floor. If that wasn’t bad enough, Young’s pass sailed through the air and as Bogdanovic started getting up, the basketball hit him squarely in the face for the double whammy.
The second is from Sam Dekker in 2017, and this one is probably worse than Bogdanovic’s because it was entirely self-inflicted. Playing for the Rockets, Dekker stole the ball and was on his way to either simple a dunk or lay-up with no one around him, yet somehow he tripped over and the basketball bounced right into his face and out of bounds.
Devin Booker annoyed by lone Raptor mascot
In early 2022, any games played in Toronto had to be without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. Due to this, the Raptors’ team mascot was the only fan able to cheer on his team, which he did unfailingly. However, the weird NBA moment happened when Phoenix star Devin Booker went to the free-throw line.
During the first attempt, the mascot stood near the basketball hoop flailing his arms wildly and jumping around in an effort to distract Booker. Despite hitting the shot, Booker complained to the refs and the mascot was sent away before the second free-throw.
Booker must have forgotten that in a regular NBA game with thousands of fans, there are many people trying to distract their team’s opponents at the free-throw line by being as annoying as possible.
J.R. Smith meltdown
J.R. Smith has performed many weird acts during his NBA career, from throwing soup at coaches to untying opponents’ shoelaces, but nothing comes close to his weird moment during the 2018 NBA Finals.
When playing for the Cavs against the Warriors in Game 1, Smith had a golden opportunity to potentially win the first matchup but made a monumental error. With the score tied at 107 and only five seconds remaining, teammate George Hill missed a free-throw but Smith came out of nowhere to grab the rebound and could have easily put the ball through the hoop for the lead.
Except, Smith did not do that, because he later admitted that he thought that the Cavs were winning, as he inexplicably dribbled the ball away from the basket and ran out the clock. The moment shocked fans of both sides, as no one could believe any player could be that clueless.
The game went into overtime, which the Warriors not only won, but also continued to sweep the series, 4-0. The incident remains a fantastic “what if?” moment, as the Cavs winning Game 1 could certainly have changed the course of history and there’s no telling if the Warriors would have continued to dominate the series.
Kawhi Leonard’s unusual laugh
This weird NBA moment didn’t actually happen on the court, but rather at a press conference. At the start of the 2018-2019 season, the Toronto Raptors introduced Kawhi Leonard to the media after the blockbuster trade that brought him from the Spurs for DeMar DeRozan.
The trade, of course, worked out because the Raptors won the 2019 championship against the Warriors, but one thing that stood out long before all that happened was Kawhi’s laugh.
Kawhi has always been regarded as an emotionless robot on and off the court, but never has this been truer than when we got to witness his strange, off-key laugh after a reporter asked him what fans should know about him. Kawhi replied that “he’s a fun guy” and the world fell in love with his mechanical laugh that sounded like the complete opposite of fun.
For the promotion of Terminator: Dark Fate, there was even a video starring Kawhi Leonard, fellow NBA player Paul George, plus actors Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the short clip, the actors make fun of Kawhi’s laugh and are uncertain even if he’s human or perhaps a terminator.
Lance Stephenson celebrates way, way too early
One of the most amusing Indiana Pacers players of all time, Lance Stephenson would routinely commit weird and wonderful acts on the basketball court, but one of his best was against the Hornets in 2018.
Stephenson made an incredible block on Charlotte’s Dwight Howard going in for a dunk and immediately flexed and celebrated his achievement. The problem? The ball bounced off the backboard and straight into the hands of the Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who picked up an easy two points with a dunk.
Author: Joe Garland