NBA Quotes of the Year

It’s an awkward time to dole out NBA accolades, since the season straddles the new year. But as this collection will attest, a lot of the biggest quotes don’t come from the season, or the playoffs, but from the summer. NBA players and figures yap year-round. These quotes, presented in chronological order, were chosen for their impact, how memorable they were, and how well they summed up major developments and themes of the NBA over the past 12 months. If nothing else, they reflect one quality that has made basketball my favorite sport to follow over the years. More than any other league, the NBA has personality.

“I thought we was playing Michael f—— Jordan tonight.”

Kevin Garnett, 3/31, on the referees’ treatment of Kevin Durant in a 109-104 Thunder win over the Celtics

“I never heard anybody say ‘I’m going to Cleveland on vacation.'”

Joakim Noah, 4/19, embracing the role of instigator in the Bulls’ first-round playoff series with the Cavaliers

“I spoil a lot of people with my play.”

LeBron James, 5/11, after shooting 3 for 14 in a loss to the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals

“I definitely want to thank my doctor, Dr. Sandy, um, my psychiatrist, she really helped me relax a lot, thank you so much.”

Ron Artest, who would later become a mental health advocate, 6/17, after the Lakers’ Game 7 Finals Win

“Count me in.”

Phil Jackson, 7/1, announcing his return to the Lakers’ bench for the ’10-’11 season

“I want to return to the NBA this season, and help any team that wants me, in any capacity that they feel that I can help. I’m disappointed,”

Allen Iverson, 7/5, via Twitter; unable to latch onto an NBA roster, he signed with Besiktas in October

“Exstension for 5 more years wit the #thunder….God Is Great, me and my family came a long way…I love yall man forreal, this a blessing!”

Kevin Durant, 7/7, via Twitter, a day before LeBron James’ scheduled hour-long special on ESPN

“In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”

LeBron James, 7/8, The Decision

“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one”

Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers owner, 7/8, in Comic Sans and all caps, in an open letter responding to James’ departure

“He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to.”

Charles Barkley, 7/13, on James’ choice to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

“Charles, I lost the bet.”

Karl Malone, teary eyed, 8/13, during an emotional Hall of Fame acceptance speech; he’d bet Charles Barkley he wouldn’t cry

“KG called me a cancer patient, I’m pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he’s tossing it like it’s a joke,”

Charlie Villanueva, who has alopecia and serves as spokesman for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, 11/2, via Twitter

“I got fined for talking to myself.”

Stephen Jackson, 11/6, after getting penalized under the league’s controversial new Respect the Game rules

“I’m working hard to see whether there can be basketball next year”

David Stern, 12/16, on the status of negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the ’11-’12 season

Think we missed some? What other quotes do you remember and why? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.

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