Today we bring you a short but sweet video with one of the greatest sports photographers of the past few decades (certainly when it comes to pro basketball and the NBA). Andy Bernstein has served over 3 decades NBA league photographer and official team photographer for the Lakers and Clippers and Kings for many years. Through his long career, he was privileged to cover many NBA Finals and in this 3 min video, he shares some of his favorite images from the NBA Finals he took over the years and why.
For any true NBA fan, Bernstein’s career sounds like a real dream come true spaning back to the early 1980s and covering some of the most magical moments in NBA history including the famed US Olympic national basketball team since the 1992 “Dream Team”.
Bernstein’s favorite image is the one he took of Michael Jordan after he and the Bulls won the championship against the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan is seen crying with his dad next to him. According to Bernstein, this image is not just special to him because of the moment and emotions it brings but also since it shows the special connection that Jordan had with his father (which Bernstein had with his dad, and apparently the two dads have even met). Bernstein had a chance to document most of Jordan’s career and that is not something that many sports photographers can say.
The second iconic photo in Bernstein’s list is that of the two big NBA rivals “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird (who were also good friends outside the court) trying to gain the upper hand with the ball. Bernstein also explains that although the two played against each other their roles did not create many opportunities to have them physically interacting within the same frame during the game and this is another thing that makes this image so special.
The third image of Kenny Smith from the Houston Rockets cutting the net after the finals in 1994. According to Bernstein throughout his career, no other player has ever cut off the net after the NBA Finals, and this awards this image a special place.
The fourth and final image is that of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant after they won their first championship victory in 2000 for the Los Angeles Lakers and it was taken several hours after the game with a lot of true joy (and probably quite a bit of alcohol as well) holding the championship trophies.
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