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The 27 best moments from the 2017 NBA Finals

From Rihanna, to 3-1 leads, to deleted “Cavs in 7” tweets, the NBA Finals held plenty of surprises.

2017 NBA Finals - Game One Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Look, the basketball: it was good. But, with the exception of a wild Game 4, the NBA Finals unfolded as expected: The Warriors dominated and destroyed the Cavaliers, despite Cleveland’s best efforts.

While the final result wasn’t surprising, we did have some twists and turns along the way. From Rihanna’s appearance, to J.R. Smith’s deleted tweet, to KD and Steph’s moms dancing after a win, here are the best moments of the 2017 NBA Finals.

1. When Rihanna won Game 1

Rihanna showed up courtside and walked by Jeff Van Gundy, who was all of us when he yelled, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

Things only got better from there. Rihanna’s a huge LeBron fan, so she bowed to him during the game at one point, then turned around to dab on the fans who told her to sit down. Never tell Rihanna to sit down.

Not long after, Rihanna’s long time friend and assistant Jenn Rosales yelled out “BRIIIICK” during a Durant free throw. Durant then appeared to stare Rihanna down after nailing a three-pointer, though that depends on who you ask. He wouldn’t confirm or deny. But, I mean ... show me a world in which Rihanna doesn’t get in someone’s head, and I’ll show you a world in which a current NBA team can beat the Warriors.

Steph Curry tried to play it off like Rihanna didn’t have everyone completely shaken, saying that she’s never been on a Warriors locker-room playlist. Which is clearly their loss: There are few songs inspire the vanquishing of enemies like Desperado.

2. When it came out that LeBron and KD once recorded a rap song together

The track is ... something. I mean, it’s not good. I mean, it’s bad. Let’s hope these guys don’t quit their day jobs to pursue their art anytime soon.

3. When Jay Z taught the world how to take a truly great candid photo

He’s a pro.

4. When we learned that JaVale McGee has a hairless cat named Raja

Where were you when you realized that JaVale McGee not only owns a sphynx cat named Raja, but has created an Instagram account for her?

Where were you when you realized she gets massages?

5. When we all got to meet LintBron James

I am not in the business of being speechless, but this sculpture made out of 30 pounds of dryer lint rendered me completely mute.


6. When the dude washing the court pulled off the most incredible scooting motion America has ever seen

But you’ll just have to take a look and decide that for yourself.

7. When KD and Steph’s moms got super amped together after their sons won Game 3

Do you know how incredible it feels to watch your son torch another team in the NBA Finals? Unless your son is an NBA player, then no, you don’t. Seems pretty great, if this video of Sonya Curry and Wanda Durant celebrating after their sons won Game 3 is any indication.


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8. When Mark Jackson said “full steam of head” instead of “full steam ahead”

LOL! I could be wrong (gotta check the facts) but I’m pretty sure this was the greatest mix up in the history of the English language. “Play it by year” and “in egg shell sits Deio” have nothing on “full steam of head.”

Slightly related: Highly recommend saying “that train has sailed” or “whatever toots your boat” in everyday conversation. Really kicks people for a loop.

9. When Kyle Korver dunked and Draymond Green smiled

Look, it’s not every day that we get a Korver dunk, OK? Even Draymond realized this was something special to behold.

10. When Steph Curry appeared to maybe pretend to poop on the court and then said he didn’t (I know, I can’t believe this is where we are, either)

There was this whole thing where Steph squatted down on the court at one point during Game 3, and everyone was like, “Oooooh Steph mimed pooping on the floor!”

So a reporter asked about it:

“Steph, I’m sorry we keep asking you about squatting, but while Draymond and Steve were arguing with the ref and one of them got the technical, it looked like you squatted down. And were you just stretching there, and what did Richard Jefferson say to you?”

“Are you serious right now?” Curry said to the reporter.

“You got to be better,” Durant added.

Sports writers, folks.

11. When Jeff Van Gundy defended Khloe Kardashian?

JVG went on this whole soliloquy about how people should stop saying that Khloe is the reason Tristan Thompson has been playing badly. JVG: not a fan of the Kardashian Kurse.

12. When Dwyane Wade showed up in a track suit to Game 4, and the internet roasted him for it

Everybody had jokes when D. Wade appeared on the sidelines dressed like Usher.

13. When Draymond did or didn’t get a technical for elbowing Iman Shumpert in the head

I mean, he did. But then when he got another technical, the refs said that the first technical was supposed to be on Steve Kerr, so Draymond didn’t end up getting tossed out of the game. Which is totally fine and normal and not at all something that would make anyone suggest the NBA is in anyway (to quote Ayesha Curry) “absolutely rigged for money.”

14. This goddamn self-alley-oop from LeBron James ...

LeBron makes me hyperaware of my physical limitations. How do you DO THIS in the middle of a GAME?!

15. ... which J.R. Smith credited to the fact that LeBron is a Gatorade Baby

What on God’s green Earth is a Gatorade Baby, J.R.? The “made in a lab” part I largely agree with, given what LeBron can do, but the Gatorade part is giving me pause. Maybe J.R. is referring to those 90s ads where Mia Hamm ran around to that “Everything you can do I can do better” song.

Or maybe this doesn’t make sense nor mean anything, but we’re going to roll with it because it’s J.R.

16. When the third quarter of Game 4 turned into a WWE match

LeBron and KD mouthed off at each other, Draymond almost got ejected ... we were one metal ladder away from Undertaker coming out of retirement to drop Kerr with a piledriver.

17. When the Warriors blew a 3-0 lead and the internet exploded with 3-1 lead jokes

They wrote themselves. And namely consisted of: Remember that time the Warriors blew a 3-1 in the 2016 Finals with the first-ever unanimous MVP?

18. When Draymond basically called all of Cleveland stupid

I mean, if you’re going to play games like WWE matches, you can’t begrudge Draymond for really leaning into his role as a heel.

Cavs fans don't like Draymond. The feeling is mutual.

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19. When Snoop Dogg showed up to Game 5 dressed like Merlin

Maybe he didn’t get the memo that D.C. wasn’t in the finals, because he was doing his best Wizard impression.

20. When LeBron dunked KD through space and time back to Oklahoma City in Game 5

The laws of physics don’t apply when you’re LeBron James.

21. When David West and Tristan Thompson got into a fight and accidentally kissed in Game 5

Things got heated on the court when West rebounded a layup that Kyrie missed in the second quarter of Game 5, and then Kyrie tried to take the ball back. West snapped, then Thompson got involved, and then all hell broke loose when the two big basketball men appeared to kiss each other before refs and teammates separated them.

The Bachelorette might’ve gotten pushed from Monday night because of Game 5, but at least we still got a make out. It raised the very important question: Is kissing on the court a technical foul?

22. When the intimate moments continued, and Draymond caught Klay and held him up in Game 5

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna turn around and desert youuuu...”

23. When the Warriors pulled away like a getaway car leaving a bank, went up 122 to 110 with three and a half minutes left, and we were all like, oh, that’s right. The Warriors have Kevin Durant. And this is all over. And it’s ending just the way we thought it would, only one game later, so we still got to make our 3-1 lead jokes, and now we can all go to sleep and wake up next June when the Warriors are in the Finals again

^That’s all I have to say about that.

24. When Wanda Durant also deserved to get a ring

25. OK, fine, here’s a celebration picture because KD’s mom is in it

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

26. And the best GIF of all time, maybe

Congrats, Warriors, on the basketball.

27. And finally, here it is, the best moment of the Finals: When J.R. Smith tweeted and then deleted “Cavs in 7”

Minutes after Game 3 ended, a tweet appeared on J.R. Smith’s timeline that said “Cavs in 7.” He or someone else deleted the tweet after it had racked up close to 40,000 retweets.

In the parking lot after the game, J.R. claimed he was hacked (classic) but that he agreed with whoever sent it.

Who knows. Maybe J.R. sent it. Maybe J.R. was hacked. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because that transparency — whether it was Russell Westbrook’s pettiness, or Draymond’s taunts, or the Celtics showing up to Game 6 against the Wizards in D.C. wearing all black — was what kept us on our toes this NBA season. We all knew what would happen. We all expected to be here. It was the little dramas, the glorious gossip, the deleted tweets that gave it life.

So here’s to next season. The Warriors just dunked on a year’s worth of 3-1 lead jokes, and it’s hard to imagine a world in which we don’t find ourselves right back here when June comes around again. So, to that I say: Cavs in 7, Gatorade babies.