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The 15 best basketball shots of the decade

What was your favorite shot of the 2010s?

Kyrie Irving (left), Arike Ogunbowale (center), and Ray Allen (right) in a collage.
What was your favorite shot of the decade?

Ten years is a long time with lots and lots of shots between the NBA, WNBA, and college basketball. But these 15 shots stood out as particularly memorable. Join us on a trip down memory lane.

Ray Allen, Heat vs. Spurs, 2013

The stakes are high for a lot of shots on this list. Here’s a refresher on the stakes involved here: if Ray Allen misses this shot, the Spurs win Game 6 and thus the 2013 NBA Finals. Instead, he makes it, the Heat win in overtime and win Game 7. Best shot in NBA history.

Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers vs. Warriors, 2016

The Game 7 winner in the 2016 NBA Finals, coming amid a scoring drought for both teams, over the top of the reigning two-time NBA MVP. Incredible shot and moment.

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors vs. Sixers, 2019

Boing. Boing. Boing. Boing. Swish.

Chris Paul, Clippers vs. Spurs, 2015

Extraordinary capper to one of the best first-round series of all-time. This series was so intense that it ruined both teams’ title dreams: the Spurs because they were eliminated and the Clippers because they ran out of gas in the next round. What a shot, though.

Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks vs. Heat, 2011

You wouldn’t expect Dirk’s most famous shot ever to be a lay-up, but Nowitzki attacked the rim with seconds left in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals to give Dallas a lead and a win that felt monumental in the moment and ended up being one of the most consequential shots of the decade. This shot tied the series at 1-1 and gave Miami its first home loss in the playoffs that year. This shot kept Dallas in the series, and really turned the series in their favor. And he did it with an injured left hand!

Stephen Curry, Warriors vs. Thunder, 2016

The most memorable regular season shot of the decade in the NBA. A perfect distillation of Steph Curry’s greatness.

Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame vs. UConn, 2018
Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame vs. Mississippi State, 2018

One of the greatest performances of the decade came in Arike Ogunbowale’s 2018 Final Four run for Notre Dame, where she notched clutch game-winning shots over both UConn to get to the championship game and then over Mississippi State to win the national title. Incredible.

Kris Jenkins, Villanova vs. North Carolina, 2016

Here’s another beautiful buzzer-beating three to win the NCAA championship from this decade. So many onions!

Ron Artest, Lakers vs. Suns, 2010

The Western Conference Finals were tied 2-2 with Game 6 set for Phoenix. The game was tied at 101 with a couple of seconds left. Kobe Bryant tries to be the hero with a wild turnaround three on the wing — look at him hold the pose as if it’s going in! — that airballs about a foot and change short. But Artest is Ronnie on the spot and gets the putback at the buzzer to win the game, putting LA up, 3-2. They close it out in Phoenix and win the Finals against the Celtics.

Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks vs. Lynx, 2016

To cap a frantic final minute of a frantic WNBA Finals — one of the best pro basketball series in the decade, period — Nneka Ogwumike hits a one-legged putback bunny while falling down in the lane to clinch the win in a series that truly could have gone either direction.

Damian Lillard, Blazers vs. Rockets, 2014

Portland was up, 3-2, in the first round against James Harden and the Houston rockets. Lillard was finishing his second season in the NBA. The Blazers hadn’t won a playoff series since 2000. Portland was down two with 0.9 seconds left.

Dame did that.

Damian Lillard, Blazers vs. Thunder, 2019

Portland up, 3-1, on Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook, OKC’s point guard, has been talking real wild about outplaying Lillard, even doing a special celebration to honor the rivalry (rocking the baby to sleep). Dame puts an end to that with a gentleman’s sweep off a 27-footer and a wave goodbye to Westbrook.

Dearica Hamby, Aces vs. Sky, 2019

This is beautifully messy and messily beautiful game-winner from Las Vegas’s Dearica Hamby, who picks up a clutch steal, tiptoes the sidelines, shows zero clock awareness, and still drills the game-winner to send the Aces to the semifinals. What a moment.

Sundiata Gaines, Jazz vs. Cavaliers, 2010

Not every amazing shot has incredible stakes. Here’s an undrafted rookie in his fifth NBA game playing against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and nailing a game-winning three at the buzzer. Gaines didn’t last long in the NBA, but he put an unforgettable stamp on his career with this shot.