Before the Heat's Big 3 began fulfilling LeBron James' "not one, not two . . . " prophecy, the trio's first go-round in South Beach ended in disaster. An older but wise core of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion -- all 32 or older when the season began -- took James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to task after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1, winning the last three games of the series and celebrating Dallas' first and only title on Miami's home floor. Nowitzki averaged 26 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on the way to Finals MVP honors.
NBAE/Getty ImagesGarrett Ellwood
St. Louis Hawks (4-2) vs. Boston Celtics, 1958
The Hawks would ultimately become a historical footnote in the Celtics' run to 11 championships in 13 seasons but gave Boston one of its greatest challenges during its late '50s and 1960s heyday. Between 1957 and 1969, St. Louis was the only team besides Los Angeles to take the Celtics to seven games in the NBA Finals, accomplishing the dubious feat in 1957 and 1960. Moreover, in 1958 -- when only six teams made the postseason and the NBA Finals were played in March and known as the NBA World Championship Series -- the Hawks became the only team to best Boston in the title series between 1957 and 1966. The St. Louis franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1968.
NBAE/Getty ImagesDick Raphael
Chicago Bulls (4-2) vs. Seattle Supersonics, 1996
Before Stock and the Mailman gave MJ a run for his money, there was The Glove and The Reign Man teaming up under George Karl's direction on one of the most flashy, fun teams to watch during the 1990s. With Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp clicking, the 1995-96 SuperSonics raced to a franchise-best 64-18 regular-season mark and raced through the playoffs before coming up against a guy named Michael Jordan, who averaged 27.3 points and 4.2 assists on his way to Finals MVP honors. He'd go on to win two more titles, both against Utah, before hanging it up for good.
NBAE/Getty ImagesBarry Gossage
Minneapolis Lakers (4-3) vs. New York Knicks, 1952
With the Timberwolves' current span of futility stretching a decade, it's easy to forget the NBA's first dynasty called the Twin Cities home. The Minneapolis Lakers' back-and-forth, tightly fought affair in 1952 that culminated with an 82-65 Game 7 beatdown of New York was one of five titles in six years for the franchise that would ultimately leave for Los Angeles and grow into one of the world's most recognizable basketball brands. There was no Finals MVP award bestowed back then, but two-time NBA scoring champ George Mikan likely would've earned it for tabulating 21.7 points, 17.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, including 22 points in Game 7.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNBA Photos
Houston Rockets (4-3) vs. New York Knicks, 1994
It's been called "The Forgotten Finals," but if it weren't for O.J. Simpson, it may have gone down as one of the greatest basketball title bouts ever. Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing squared off in a physical, defensive slugfest Houston eventually won in seven games, thanks to "Hakeem the Dream" and his 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 3.9 blocks per contest. Ewing was almost as impressive, compiling a line of 18.9, 12.4, 1.7, 1.3 and 4.3. But most of America didn't watch it, instead turning its attention toward Simpson and the infamous high-speed chase that ultimately led to his arrest and trial for murder. The chase itself occurred during Game 5 of the Finals, which New York won 91-84. Houston shot back and won Game 86-84 then claimed the first of two back-to-back championships with a 90-84 Game 7 triumph.