10 NBA Players You Need to See Live Before You Die

  • 10. Joe Johnson

    I know some of you are probably shaking your head right now, but you can make an argument that Joe Johnson has been one of the most clutch NBA players in recent history. It seems like every time the Nets are in a close game, Joe hits a clutch shot in the final few possessions. Rant Sports actually recently wrote an article calling Joe Johnson the most clutch player in the NBA. Brooklyn is in my backyard, so whenever I get invited to Jay Z’s house I go. I missed that triple-overtime game against the Bucks and I am still kicking myself for not going.

    “IsoJoe” might not be an All-Star talent anymore but he is still a top 10 NBA player that you must go see before you die. Witnessing Joe Johnson with the ball in his hand and seconds winding down in the game is a priceless experience.

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  • 9. Chris Paul

    Besides Vince Carter, CP3 is up there as my favorite player of all time. Chris Paul has just played the point guard position at an extremely high level since he was drafted into the league. Whether it is playing swarming defense, getting teammates involved or hitting an important shot, CP3 does it all. It’s hard to believe that he hasn’t won an MVP award in his nine full NBA seasons.

    I grew up playing point guard so I have extra appreciation for the position. When it is played correctly and proficiently it is a beautiful thing. Chris Paul just might be the best point guard since joining the league and that is why you must see him before he retires. He also plays with a few guys who can dunk the ball well. Go check out a Lob City game when you can.

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  • 8. Kyrie Irving

    It is scary to think that this kid was born in 1992. Makes me feel old. The good thing about that statistic is that you still have plenty of years to witness the youngster play ball live. I went to the Cavaliers vs. Knicks game on December 4. There were two guys on the court (who are also on this list) by the names of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James and neither of them looked like the best player. Kyrie dropped 37 points and stole the show. He hit the biggest shot of the game and generally looked like the leader of the team. I understand the LeBron and Kyrie experiment is still new, but there might be a passing of the torch before too long when it comes to late-game situations. That layup, live, in person, was one of the most demoralizing shots I have ever witnessed.

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  • 7. Carmelo Anthony

    I’m still mad at myself for not attending that 62-point performance ‘Melo had last season. Carmelo Anthony has been one of the best offensive players this league has seen since being drafted in 2003. As a season ticket holder I get to see Melo play, a lot. It has been a frustrating season for the Knicks, but hearing “CARMELOOOO ANTHONY” at a game in the Garden is an awesome experience.

    Anthony is absolutely a player you need to watch live before you die.

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  • 6. Kobe Bryant

    I’m currently sitting here watching this Lakers vs. Kings game on NBATV while writing this article. By the time you read this, Kobe Bryant will have moved passed Michael Jordan into third place on the all-time career points list. If you really dissect that, it isn’t absurd to now compare the two.

    Kobe Bryant has five championship rings and is probably the most competitive player I have ever watched play. Before his time runs out, you must go to a Lakers game. The dude did score 81 points in a single game. When Kobe is in the game anything can happen.

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  • Vince Carter
    5. Vince Carter

    My favorite player and one of the best in-game dunkers of all time. My first email address ever was Vince15JMF@yahoo.com (still works) so you know I have been a fan for a while. I have had the pleasure of seeing Vince Carter in his prime several times. Vince is probably the most incredible dunker to ever play in the NBA and until YouTube came around and people created the concept of the “professional” dunker, no one in the world was more impressive than VC.

    Not only is he a great dunker, but his teams seem to get better no matter where he ends up. This offseason VC signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, who now hold the best record in the NBA. Before this man retires, please go see him live.

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  • 4. LeBron James

    This doesn’t need very much explanation. Did you need to see MJ during his prime? Yes. Do you need to see LeBron James in the middle of his prime? Yes. Did I pay $260 to see LeBron face the Brooklyn Nets last season? Absolutely. Worth it? One hundred percent.

    LBJ dropped a cool 49 points and ended up with the winning assist to Chris Bosh in that game. The 4-time MVP is a must-watch live experience. He is worth the price of admission.

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  • 3. Kevin Durant

    Who doesn’t want to watch the reigning MVP dominate a game? You must see the Texas alum at least once in the next couple of years. Since joining the Thunder, Durant has hit countless game-winners and scored an absurd amount of points. He is an offensive juggernaut.

    It’s a beautiful thing when him and Russell Westbrook are healthy and on the same page. The Thunder have been a playoff team the past handful of years. Go see them when you have a chance.

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  • 2. Derrick Rose

    I almost put Derrick Rose as the NBA player you most need to see before you die, but he will have to settle with the No. 2 spot. The only time I watched Derrick Rose live was during his rookie season in a game against the New Jersey Nets. Vince Carter was part of that game. My good friend from high school drove us to the game to watch his favorite team, the Nets, battle the Bulls. D. Rose finished the game with 21 points, 13 assists and a plus/minus of plus-24, his best of that season.

    His dominance didn’t impress me, rather it was his quickness on the court. I really haven’t seen a quicker point guard in my life. You might not believe me or strongly disagree with that statement, but pre-injury Rose was nasty. Derrick Rose needs to stay healthy; the kid has so much potential.

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  • 1. Stephen Curry

    Here is a quick little story for you guys. Bring it back to the morning of February 27, 2013. I get a surprising call from my father in which I had a bad feeling about. He let me know that his mother, my grandmother, had passed away. Death is never easy to deal with and I personally don’t know whether to be sad or celebrate their life. Fast forward a couple of hours and my roommate texts me telling me he got us suite seats to the Knicks vs. Warriors game that night.

    My emotions were all over the place that day, but I had a feeling that the night would be special. He ended up hitting 11 3-pointers and finished the game with 54 points. It was the most dominating performance I have ever watched live in sports.

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  • Joe Johnson
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Vince Carter
  • Kevin Durant
  • Derrick Rose
  • Stephen Curry

Let’s get something straight. There is a huge difference between watching a game from your couch and being at the live action. I have been a huge basketball fan ever since I could walk. Fortunately, I have seen the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and many more play.

Sports experiences are memories that people never forget. You remember parts of your life by comparing it to a sporting event you watched. I will never forget where I was watching the two Giants Super Bowls against the New England Patriots. I relate the 54-point outburst by Stephen Curry at Madison Square Garden to the death of my grandmother. Going to the actually event isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Here at The Drop we take you through a list of 10 NBA Players You Need to See Live Before You Die. Some are getting toward the end of their career (Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter), while some are just getting into their prime (Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose). Either way, for specific reasons, each guy on the list is a much-watch player.

Tonight, 20 percent of this list will be competing against each other on national television when the Oklahoma City Thunder and their ridiculous star Kevin Durant travel to the Bay Area to take on Curry and the Warriors. So if you cannot be in Oakland for the night, the least you can do is watch the game. But if you want to have an amazing sports experience, the ultimate, make sure to see these 10 NBA players live before you hit the coffin.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @imfitterthanyou

image via Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images