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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

USA Home Video presents
Greatest NBA Finals Moments (2000)

"He was slow, but he'd lead the fastbreak. He couldn't jump, but he'd come up with an important rebound."
- K.C Jones, talking about Larry Bird

Review By: Robert Mandel   
Published: October 12, 2000

Stars: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Isaiah Thomas
Director: Larry Weitzman, Steven Merrill

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:01m:32s
Release Date: October 10, 2000
UPC: 696306008521
Genre: sports


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-C+B A-

DVD Review

I cannot tell you how long I have been waiting for some sports on DVD, and in particular, basketball. I don't keep many discs these days for myself, but when I saw Greatest NBA Finals Moments in the package from USA I nearly wet myself with excitement - MJ on DVD! Awesome. Even the menu has some great clips of Bird, MJ, Cowens and others - but the opening 03m:06s has fantastic buzzer beating shots, which again cater to my liking since it contains a cavalcade of assorted Bulls making great shots and plays—MJ's supporting cast. I apologize for being such a homey, but HEY - we don't have much to brag about in Chicago sports these days after the early demise of the White Sox in the 2000 Playoffs. (We won't begin to mention any other franchise yet.)

While the main feature is on the short side (01h:01m:32s), there are FULL stats (career, playoffs, allstar games) for Bill Russell, Willis Reed, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Earvin Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas and MJ and other nice extras on the disc.

The problems with programs such as this is that simply aren't given enough time to even deal with the subject at hand, let alone evenly. Of the 6 championships the Bull's won, there were far better moments than the ones presented here. While the best section is the part on Bird, with his ugly white ass showing the majesty of basketball know-how, hard work and sweaty determination mixed with some of the most amazing passes and timely shooting ever in the sport. Still, over the entirety of the NBA's history are you telling me these are the best of the Finals? Hell, not even George Mikan (best player of the first half century) could make this show (there is a brief celebratory clip of him in the music video? Dr. J gets almost no air time. This show should have been called "Recent NBA Superstars and Oh, Bill Russell," because that's what it is. I would have loved to see a year by year showing of the best moments—truly the best among all, or those still available on film or video.

The show begins with a series of game winning shots, but then settles into a pattern beginning with Bill Russell and the legendary Celtics of the sixties as they win their last of 8 straight consecutive championships - a feat only perhaps Michael and the Bulls could have matched had he not retired to play .200 ball for the White Sox. For some reason the program skips the miracle 1970 Knicks (they are returned to briefly later on in the program) that produced the likes of Chief Triangle (Phil Jackson) and President-wannabe, Bill Bradley. Magic and the 1980 championship versus Dr. J and the 76ers shows one of the reasons it was hard to hate the Spartan Alum - although I did my best. Bird gets his revenge in the fantastic 1984 finals—one of my favorites to this day—and my favorite section on the disc. As a Bull's fan I was forced to sit through Chicagoan Isaiah Thomas' "heart of a champion" praise - I guess the documentary makers must have forgotten what piss poor sport the little maggot was when the Bull's finally swept his tiny ass out of the Conference Finals on their way to their first championship—hugging the trophy in Magicland (No, I'm not bitter - I rooted for Rodman, right?!) This is when they decide to throw in the Knicks and the 7th game miracle when Southern Illinois Alum Walt Frazier led the Knicks after the heroic 1st quarter appearance by their captain, Willis Reed, who played enough minutes to hit two shots on a BROKEN LEG! Finally, we watch "The Shot" over Cleveland's poor Craig Ehlo—the beginning of the legend that would become MJ. We then cut to the last championship run against the Mailman, where he never delivers on Sunday. Since he did deliver on the previous Friday—the night I paid $900 to see my 2nd Championship Celebration in 3 years (I was there for the Seattle win), I was also more than happy to see footage of little crying Baldy, the "Jazzman"-license toting Utah fan who led a delegation of rude Utah fans into the United Center only to have their hearts torn out by the god that masqueraded as the mortal basketball player, Michael Jordan. You gotta love a court without a 3-point arc, teams that actually passed to each other and played as a team, and those hilarious tight short shorts!! There is some great stuff here to show to your children, and to watch when there is no good basketball being played in your city (as here in Chicago we are getting used to). But the more I think about the content, the more it makes me itch for MORE. While I think this disc is a nice first step, it doesn't do any one of the stars on it any real justice. Also, while they scatter many great finals "moments" throughout, this concentrates on a too selective set of finals and stars.

I want whole games, whole finals series sets, perhaps even whole playoff sets!! Heck, I'd like to see college basketball, March Madness discs, even woman's college hoops. Give me Classic Sports on DVD! This is my mission. If we can have full season sets of TV shows I believe we can have whole playoff sets. Mainstream it may be going, DVD is still a strongly testosterone filled hobby, and to believe these wouldn't sell well....

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Mostly, the picture quality gets better as the age of the source material decreases—not bad, but don't expect Fight Club. The interview clips on video are not perfect but far better than some of the older footage, as one would expect. The best and worst is captured in the shots from the 1976 Championship, where the shots on film are blurry and grainy, washed out or dark, but the video clips are as colorful, crisp and clear as if they had been played today and being shown on the nightly news. The Lakers vs. 76ers is far more grainy than 1976 series footage, and pixelization abounds. Still, considering the variety of the source material, without the expectation of restoration for the archival footage, I found this an above average transfer by USA.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This Dolby Surround 2.0 is a yeoman's transfer, anchored almost entirely to the center channel. No pops, hissing or dropouts, but nothing spectacular in the way of effects or musical immersion either. Simply solid.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Player stats
  2. 1999 and 2000 Finals footage
  3. Music Video
  4. 50 greatest players ceremony
  5. DVD-ROM links to photo gallery, screensavers, etc.
Extras Review: There are some very nice extras on the disc that help make up for the shortness of the main program.

1999 Finals
Tells the tale of the dreaded New York Knicks demise at the hands of a healthy Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

2000 Finals
Shaq grows up and Kobie matures at the hands of the Zen Master and earn their rings. (I was rooting for Pip.)

Player stats
Career stats for Bill Russell, Willis Reed, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Earvin Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas and MJ. These appear both here and as links during the show via "multi view"-like prompts. Easily readable, despite that one has to page endlessly to retrieve more info, it is because of the depth and breadth of the stats that one must "scroll," and is very impressive. Included are Regular season stats such as games played, points, rebounds assists, free throw and shooting percentage, as well as All Star game appearance stats and playoff stats.

NBA at 50 Ceremony

The introduction of the Top 50 All-time players at the 1997 All-star game at Cleveland. Can you say 'Craig Ehlo?'

The NBA's 50 Greatest Players
Again showing the same people but this time with clips and interview snippets. Too bad many of these guys weren't included in the main section.

Music Video
A nice reason to collect Finals moments in montage.

Year by Year Results
Finals round results from way back.

DVD-ROM
Links to original NBA screensavfers, games, photo gallery and more.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

I have watched this 3 times now. The first time I enjoyed the disc. The 2nd time I began to get angered by the shortness of the progam. The third time I fell back on the positive charm of the story of basketball greatness. It may have taken me a while to write this review, but you notice my reviewers haven't pried this disc out of my hands yet.

 


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