The NBA Restart at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, began on July 30 and has produced a plethora of highly discussed and memorable moments that had NBA Fans talking across social media. These memorable moments include highly contested games, game-winning shots, controversial moments from the games, virtual fans, social media feuds, players violating the rules of the NBA Bubble, and moments that produced new memes, to name a few.
As I stated previously in my article, “12 Interesting Takeaways From The NBA’s Return Plan”, only 22 of the league’s 30 teams were invited to the NBA Restart in Orlando to participate in regular season and playoff games. The 22 invited NBA Teams (13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams) each played eight regular-season “seeding” games to conclude the 2019-2020 NBA Regular Season and determine playoff berths.
Please be aware that all of the moments featured in this article that are considered as the “Most talked about” are moments that happened both on and off of the basketball court.
Now, with all of that being said, let’s take a look down below and check 15 of The Most Talked About Moments So Far From The NBA Restart:
1. No. 1 Seeds Lakers and Bucks Loose First NBA Playoff Games:
As of August 22 (the day that this article was written), the NBA Restart is currently in the middle of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. One of the most discussed moments from the NBA Restart that happened during the first few days of the postseason was the fact that both of the No. 1 seeded Teams of The Western and Eastern Conferences, The Los Angeles Lakers and The Milwaukee Bucks respectively, each suffered Game 1 defeats.
The Bucks lost 122-110 to the Eastern Conference No. 8 seed The Orlando Magic on August 18. The next day, The Lakers lost 100-93 to the Western Conference No. 8 seed The Portland Trailblazers. The last time that both No. 1 seeds lost Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs was in 2003.
2. The Phoenix Suns Finish 8-0 in the NBA Bubble:
One of the most talked about teams during the NBA Restart was The Phoenix Suns. Besides having players’ families introduce the starting lineup prior to their game vs. the Philadelphia 76ers on August 11th and Devin Booker’s game-winning shot vs. The Clippers (see #3 below), the Suns made headlines for missing the NBA Playoffs despite their 8-0 Bubble record in the NBA Restart.
Of all 22 Teams playing in the NBA Restart in the Bubble in Orlando, The Suns were the only team to win all eight of its seeding games. For the team’s undefeated record, Suns Head Coach Monty Williams was named the NBA Coach of the Seeding Games while Booker was one of the five players named to the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games First Team.
3. Devin Booker’s Game-Winning Shot vs. The Los Angeles Clippers:
Although The league is currently in the middle of The NBA Playoffs, one of the top plays of the entire NBA Restart will Phoenix Suns Guard Devin Booker making the game-winning shot at the buzzer (see below) in the Suns’ Game vs. The Los Angeles Clippers.
4. Damian Lillard Being Named The Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games:
Without any question, the best player of the NBA Restart has been Portland Trailblazers Guard Damian Lillard. For averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists in the eight seeding games, the five-time NBA All-Star was voted unanimously as The Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games, in addition to making the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games First Team.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Head-butting Moe Wagner:
The first player to be ejected from a game during the NBA Restart was the reigning MVP, Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. During the Milwaukee Bucks -Washington Wizards game on August 11, Antetokounmpo was ejected with 8:50 left in the second quarter for head-butting Wizards Center Moe Wagner. The reigning MVP also received a one-game suspension for his actions. Antetokounmpo’s head-butt set social media on fire and was perhaps the most-talked about head-butt since Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Final.
6. Kristaps Porzingis’s Controversial Ejection During Game 1 of The NBA Playoffs Series vs. The Los Angeles Clippers:
Kristaps Porzingis was controversially ejected from the game during the Game 1 of the first round NBA Playoffs Series between The Dallas Mavericks and The Los Angeles Clippers midway through the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul.
Many argued that both of Porzingis’s technicals were soft and many current and former NBA Players, in addition to fans, expressed their outrage on Twitter. Porzingis’s ejection is probably dumbest ejection in NBA History since Tim Duncan got ejected for laughing on the bench!
7. The Damian Lillard vs. Paul George & Patrick Beverly Feud:
The feud between Lillard and Clippers Players Paul George and Patrick Beverly started after the latter missed two crucial free throws that caused The Trailblazers to loose to The Clippers in a really close game.
The feud between all three players has been brewing for years and after the Trailblazers-Clippers game, we saw it the entire beef play out during the post-game interviews and on social media. The photo below is of the exchange on Instagram. Things got even more heated when Lillard’s sister La’Nae and George’s girlfriend Daniela got involved in a feud of their own on social media.
8. Lou Williams & Magic City Chicken Wings:
Early in the NBA Restart, Los Angeles Clippers Guard Lou Williams made headlines for going to a strip club called The Magic City after being granted permission to leave the NBA Bubble to attend the funeral of a family friend back in Atlanta (Williams’s hometown). While Williams claimed he only went to The Magic City to grab their famous chicken wings, that didn’t stop former NBA Players from roasting him.
As a result of his trip to The Magic City, Williams had to sit out the first two seeding games of The NBA Restart for violating the rules of the NBA Bubble.
9. Boban Marjanovic:
I mean, who doesn’t love Boban Marjanovic? The Dallas Mavericks Center is perhaps the NBA’s most liked player. Check out this interview he did with Shaquille O’Neal below.
10. The San Antonio Spurs Failed To Make The Playoffs:
Another one of the most talked about moments from The NBA Restart was the fact that The San Antonio Spurs failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1996–97 NBA Season. The team’s failure to make the 2019-2020 NBA Playoffs snapped their record-tying 22-year consecutive playoff streak. The Spurs finished the regular season with a 32–39 record, which was also the team’s first losing season since the 1996-97 NBA Season.
11. Virtual Fans:
The rules of The NBA Bubble state that no outside fans will be allowed to attend the games, a limited number of players will be allowed to watch games they are not playing in, as well as a limited number of media, team executives, league and union personnel and even some sponsors. In addition, a limited number of family members and guests of players from the teams who advance past the first round of the NBA Playoffs will also be allowed to watch in-person too, but won’t be allowed to leave the Bubble.
Despite the lack of in-person fans, the NBA installed 17-foot screens to allow 300 virtual fans to “attend” games throughout the NBA Restart. Notable virtual fans who attended games during the NBA Restart include rapper Lil Wayne and former NBA Players Chris Bosh and Paul Pierce, to name a few.
Fishing is one of the popular activities that players are allowed to participate in when they are not practicing or playing games. It is also one of the most talked about off-court moments from the NBA Restart. Fans have seen various players’ showing off their catches on their social media feeds.
13. NBA Players Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor:
Throughout the NBA Restart in the Bubble in Orlando, we have seen many players dedicate portions (or entire) of their sessions with the media to steer the conversation towards social justice issues and Breonna Taylor. Notable players who did so include Jerami Grant, Tobias Harris, Kyle Kuzma, Paul George, and Lebron James, to name a few.
14. JJ Redick’s Blank Stare Becoming a Viral Internet Meme:
As The New Orleans Pelicans found themselves down by 32 points at halftime in their game against the Los Angeles Clippers (the Clippers eventually won the game 126-103), ESPN cameras caught Pelicans Shooting Guard JJ Redick looking dejected. The image of Redick’s dejected stare instantly turned into a viral Internet meme, which Redick later called ’embarrassing’.
15. Jimmy Butler’s Coffee Shop:
Besides getting busted by the NBA Snitch hotline for dribbling a basketball in his hotel room late in the night, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler recently made headlines for starting a coffee shop in the NBA Bubble, charging $20 a cup (regardless of size).