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2002 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson 4
New Jersey Nets Byron Scott 0
Dates: June 5 – June 12
MVP: Shaquille O'Neal
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Television: NBC (U.S.)
Announcers: Marv Albert, Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones
Game 1: Joe Crawford, Ron Garretson and Jack Nies
Game 2: Steve Javie, Bennett Salvatore and Don Vaden
Game 3: Dick Bavetta, Dan Crawford and Bob Delaney
Game 4: Ted Bernhardt, Bernie Fryer and Eddie F. Rush
Hall of Famers: Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Eastern Finals: Nets defeated Celtics 4–2
Western Finals: Lakers defeated Kings 4–3
 < 2001 NBA Finals 2003 > 

The 2002 NBA Finals was the 56th championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The series started on June 5, 2002 and ended on June 12, marking the conclusion of the 2002 NBA Playoffs and 2001–02 NBA season. The first two games of the Finals were played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California because of their home court advantage and the last two games were played at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers swept the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets to capture their 14th NBA championship. It also marked the fifth occasion in which a team has won at least 3 championships in succession.

Shaquille O'Neal, who averaged 36 points and 12 rebounds in the Finals, was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.[1] Lakers coach Phil Jackson won his ninth ring, tying him with Red Auerbach for most all-time.[2] During the series, he surpassed Pat Riley for most career playoffs wins with 156.[2]



East Conference's New Jersey Nets (0) vs. Western Conference's Los Angeles Lakers (4)

Game Score Date Location Attendance Series
1 New Jersey Nets – 94, Los Angeles Lakers – 99 Wednesday, June 5 Staples Center 18,997[3] 0–1
2 New Jersey Nets – 83, Los Angeles Lakers – 106 Friday, June 7 Staples Center 18,997[4] 0–2
3 Los Angeles Lakers – 106, New Jersey Nets – 103 Sunday, June 9 Continental Airlines Arena 19,215[5] 0–3
4 Los Angeles Lakers – 113, New Jersey Nets – 107 Wednesday, June 12 Continental Airlines Arena 19,296[6] 0–4

The Finals were played using a 2-3-2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals in 1985.


New Jersey Nets Los Angeles Lakers
52–30 (.634)
1st Atlantic, 1st East, 5th Overall
Regular season 58–24 (.707)
2nd Pacific, 3rd West, 4th overall
Defeated the (8) Indiana Pacers, 3–2[7] First Round Defeated the (6) Portland Trail Blazers, 3–0[8]
Defeated the (4) Charlotte Hornets, 4–1[9] Conference Semifinals Defeated the (2) San Antonio Spurs, 4–1[10]
Defeated the (3) Boston Celtics, 4–2[11] Conference Finals Defeated the (1) Sacramento Kings, 4–3[12]

Regular season series

The Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets split both games in the regular season, each winning on their home court.

March 5 Recap New Jersey Nets 92, Los Angeles Lakers 101    Staples Center, Los Angeles KCAL
April 2 Recap Los Angeles Lakers 92, New Jersey Nets 94    Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford KCAL

New Jersey Nets

Jason Kidd, New Jersey's prized acquisition in the summer of 2001.

Entering the 2001–02 season, the New Jersey Nets were enduring a three-year playoff drought and had a dismal 73–141 record over that span. In 1999, the Nets hired Rod Thorn as team president and immediately, he hired the recently retired Byron Scott to coach New Jersey. Thorn then dealt for Stephon Marbury in a three-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves, trading Sam Cassell away to the Bucks.[13] Due to the Nets' dismal 31–51 season in 1999–00 season, they had the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, which they used to select power forward Kenyon Martin out of the University of Cincinnati.[14] Despite the moves, Mew Jersey had another mediocre year with an 26–56 record and were bestowed the 7th pick in the upcoming Draft.

With another lottery pick, Thorn decided to deal it to the Houston Rockets for draftees Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong.[13] The next day, Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo announced a franchise shaking trade; Phoenix would swap their point guard Jason Kidd for his New Jersey counterpart Stephon Marbury.[15]

With the Princeton offense installed from the coaching staff,[16] the Nets rebounded to a 52–30 (.634) mark, a twenty-six win improvement from the last season and clinched the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference. Kidd finished the season awarded with first team spots on both the All-NBA and[17] and All-Defensive Teams[18] and was selected for his fifth All-Star game. He also finished runner-up to San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan in the Most Valuable Player voting.[19] Richard Jefferson was a All-Rookie second team selection and Thorn, the architect of the franchise's resurgent, was awarded NBA Executive of the Year.[20]

In the first round of the playoffs, New Jersey survived a scare against the Indiana Pacers, escaping game five in double overtime to advance.[21] It was the Nets' first playoff series win since 1984. They then dismissed the Charlotte Hornets in five before meeting their Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals.[22] The Nets and Celtics split the first two games in New Jersey before moving to Boston. In Game 3, New Jersey were dominating the Celtics, leading as much as 21 in the fourth quarter. However Boston, led by small forward Paul Pierce, then proceeded to outscore New Jersey 41–16 in the final period, rallying to win 94 to 90. Pierce himself scored more than the Nets combined in the fourth, 19 to complete the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history.[23][24]

The Nets rebounded in a 94–92 Game 4 victory, that came down to two missed Pierce free throws.[25] New Jersey then took control of the series and won the next two games in large fashion to finish off Boston in six games and earn the franchise's first NBA Finals appearance and being the third former ABA team to make the Finals (the Spurs and the Pacers being the first two).[11] With averages of 17.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per game during the six-game Conference Finals, Kidd become only the fourth player in NBA history to average a triple-double over a course of a series and the second to have at least three.[26][27]

Los Angeles Lakers

All Star center Shaquille O'Neal averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds in the regular season.

In stark contrast to New Jersey, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the season with high expectations, having won the last two NBA championships. In addition, Los Angeles was coming off of a 15–1 (.938 winning percentage) run through the 2001 NBA Playoffs, the greatest in NBA history, besting the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers' 12–1 (.923) run and were the first team to go undefeated on the road in the playoffs.[28] Since Phil Jackson had arrived to coach the Lakers in 1999, they had a 123-41 mark in the regular season and a 28–9 record in the postseason.

Amid tensions between co-captains Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the franchise had another stellar season, finishing second in the Pacific Division and earning the third seed in the Western Conference. Bryant and O'Neal were voted starters in the 2002 NBA All-Star Game where Bryant won the game MVP trophy in hometown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[29] The duo appeared on the All-NBA 1st Team and Bryant was honored with a 2nd Team All-Defensive Team selection.[17][18]

The Lakers had a another good start in the playoffs, finishing the Portland Trail Blazers in three with a Robert Horry series-ending shot.[8] The San Antonio Spurs were dispatched in five before Los Angeles met their biggest challenge in the duration of their championship reign in the Western Conference Finals: the Sacramento Kings. With the best record in the West, the Kings held home court advantage against the Lakers and split the first two games in ARCO Arena before the series shifted to Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant showed strong poise in the Lakers' run through the playoffs.

Sacramento blew out Los Angeles in Game 3 and led as much as 27 before settling with a 103-90 win.[30] Game 4 looked to be the same, with the Kings leading the Lakers 40-20 at the end of the 1st quarter and holding a lead as large as 26. The Lakers staged a furious 2nd half comeback to win on a Horry buzzer beater, 100–99.[31] In Game 5, the Kings staged some magical late-game heroics of their own back in Sacramento with a Mike Bibby shot with 8.2 seconds remaining. A Kobe Bryant heave fell short at the buzzer and the Kings took a commanding 3-2 series lead.[32] With their season on the line, the Lakers returned home for Game 6.

In a controversial Game 6, one in which Lakers attempted 27 free throws in the 4th quarter to Sacramento's 9, O'Neal had one of the most dominant performances of his career with 41 points and 17 rebounds to force a Game 7 in ARCO Arena.[33] The outrage was as such that politician Ralph Nader demanded an investigation.[34] The Lakers prevailed in overtime 112–106 to earn their third straight NBA Finals berth.[12]

2002 NBA Finals Roster

Los Angeles Lakers

2002 Los Angeles Lakers Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
G 8 United States Bryant, Kobe 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Lower Merion HS (PA)*
G 11 United States Crispin, Joe 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Penn State*
G 2 United States Fisher, Derek 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Arkansas-Little Rock*
F 17 United States Fox, Rick 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 235 lb (107 kg) North Carolina*
F 3 United States George, Devean 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Augsburg*
F 5 United States Horry, Robert 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Alabama*
G 10 United States Hunter, Lindsey 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Jackson State*
F 35 United States Madsen, Mark 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Stanford*
F/C 6 United States McCoy, Jelani 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 255 lb (116 kg) UCLA*
F 14 Ukraine Medvedenko, Stanislav 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 250 lb (113 kg) None*
C 34 United States O'Neal, Shaquille 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) 338 lb (153 kg) Louisiana State*
G 12 United States Penberthy, Mike 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) The Master's College*
G 23 United States Richmond, Mitch 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Kansas State*
G 20 United States Shaw, Brian 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) California-Santa Barbara*
F/C 52 United States Walker, Samaki 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Louisville*
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: 2008-06-18

New Jersey Nets

2002 New Jersey Nets Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
G 1 United States Armstrong, Brandon 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 188 lb (85 kg) Pepperdine*
C 35 United States Collins, Jason 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Stanford*
G 10 United States Dial, Derrick 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 184 lb (83 kg) Eastern Michigan*
F 54 United States Goodrich, Steve 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Princeton*
G 12 United States Harris, Lucious 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Long Beach*
F 24 United States Jefferson, Richard 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 222 lb (101 kg) Arizona*
G 8 United States Johnson, Anthony 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) C of C*
G 5 United States Kidd, Jason 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 204 lb (93 kg) California*
G 30 United States Kittles, Kerry 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 179 lb (81 kg) Villanova*
C 11 Canada MacCulloch, Todd 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 280 lb (127 kg) Washington*
F 13 United States Marshall, Donny 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Connecticut*
F 6 United States Martin, Kenyon 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 234 lb (106 kg) Cincinnati*
F 21 United States Scalabrine, Brian 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 241 lb (109 kg) Southern California*
F 50 United States Slater, Reggie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Wyoming*
F 44 United States Van Horn, Keith 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Utah*
F/C 34 United States Williams, Aaron 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Xavier*
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: 2002-01-08

Game summaries

All times listed below are Eastern Daylight Time.

Game 1

June 5
9:00 pm
Recap New Jersey Nets 94, Los Angeles Lakers 99    Staples Center, Los Angeles
Attendance: 18,997
NBC, TSN, Canal+, Canal 7
Scoring by quarter: 14–29, 22–19, 27–24, 31–27
Pts: O'Neal 36
Rebs: O'Neal 16
Asts: Bryant 6
TOs: O'Neal 5
Pts: Kidd 23
Rebs: Kidd 10
Asts: Kidd 10
Stls: Horry 3, Kidd 3

Los Angeles's Staples Center sold out for the inaugural game of the 2002 NBA Finals, with nearly 19,000 on hand. The Nets trotted out a lineup of Kidd, Kittles, Martin, Van Horn and MacCulloth to hold up against the two-time defending and heavily favored champions. The Lakers brought out Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Byrant, who drew the assignment of guarding Kidd.. New Jersey head coach Byron Scott, a member of the Showtime Lakers, received a standing ovation.

Taking advantage of a late arrival to the arena by New Jersey, L.A. dominated the first 17 minutes of play with a 42-19 score by the 6:41 mark in the second quarter. From that point on, the Nets went on a 17–6 to close the lead to a respectable 12. They however, had no answer for O'Neal, who had bullied MacCulloth into 16 points and 6 rebounds by half-time. The Nets outscored the Los Angeles in the third but stood steadfast as Bryant scored 11 of his 22 in the third.

" You can't dig yourself a hole, get down by 19 or 20 points and expect to win. We just dug ourselves a hole against the champions. "
—Lucious Harris, Sports Illustrated[35]

New Jersey battled back, coming as close as three several times in the final quarter. Desperate to take the lead, they utilized the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy midway in the fourth. It backfired, as O'Neal was 5–8 from the free throw line and had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the period alone.

New Jersey were doomed by their late start and poor shooting. The Nets, who shoot 45% from the field and 74% on free throws were 39% and 57% respectively.[36] Kidd finished with a triple–double, the 26th in Finals history and the first since Charles Barkley's in the 1993 series.

Game 2

June 7
9:00 pm
Recap New Jersey Nets 83, Los Angeles Lakers 106    Staples Center, Los Angeles
Attendance: 18,997
NBC, TSN, Canal+, Canal 7
Scoring by quarter: 21–27, 22–22, 18–28, 22–29
Pts: O'Neal 40
Rebs: O'Neal 12
Asts: O'Neal 8
TOs: O'Neal 4, Bryant 4
Pts: Kittles 23
Rebs: Kidd 9
Asts: Kidd 7
TOs: Kidd 5

Television and radio broadcasting

The Finals were produced and televised in the United States by NBC. Marv Albert provided play-by-play calling. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones handled color duties. Jim Gray and Lewis Johnson roamed the sidelines for the Lakers and Nets' respectively. Bob Costas hosted pregame and half-time shows with analyst Tom Tolbert.[37] Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay called the four games on ESPN Radio. Hannah Storm hosted the post-game show.

At the conclusion of Game 4, the credits rolled to a final. Shown were highlights the twelve years of NBC broadcasts; the Chicago Bulls' dynasty led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the retirement of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers' new Shaq/Kobe reign. The final image was an empty gym, showing a basketball bouncing into the background and the message "Thanks for The Memories. NBA on NBC (1990–2002)".

As of 2009, Game 4 of the series was the last production and broadcast by NBC and will remain so until at least 2017. In January 2002 the league's broadcast rights were awarded to ABC/ESPN in a six-year deal,[38] which was renewed in 2007.[39]

2002 NBA Finals Ratings

Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
10.6/20 9.1/18 10.2/18 10.8/19


  • The NBA Finals wordmark logo was removed to a championship trophy logo attach next to the NBA logo. And the only Finals that both teams had a red white and blue ribbon on the uniforms.
  • This was the third NBA Finals that ended in a 4 game sweep since the Finals went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985.
  • At the Lakers victory parade Mark Madsen did a rather novel (and now infamous) dance, that was even mentioned by George W. Bush when the Lakers visited the White House.
  • Seven Lakers were on all three championship teams from 2000 to 2002: Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Brian Shaw and Devean George.
  • Horry joined Dennis Rodman and Ron Harper as the only players to be apart of a three-peat with one team and back-to-back titles with another. Rodman and Harper were starters on the Bulls teams that won titles from 1996–98. Rodman's back-to-back came with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 & '90, while Harper was a member of the Lakers title teams in 2000 & '01.
  • The Nets are the third former ABA team to play in the NBA Finals, joining San Antonio in 1999 & Indiana in 2000.
  • The Game 4 win for the Lakers over the Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals marked their first road win in The Finals since Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals at Continental Airlines Arena, which was the last game Chick Hearn ever broadcast for the Lakers.


  1. ^ Associated (2002-06-13). "Shaq, MJ only players to win three straight Finals MVPs". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  2. ^ a b Associated Press (2002-06-13). "Lakers' Jackson has reached new heights in coaching". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  3. ^ New Jersey at L.A. Lakers's Game 1 Boxscore
  4. ^ New Jersey at L.A. Lakers's Game 2 Boxscore
  5. ^ New Jersey at L.A. Lakers's Game 3 Boxscore
  6. ^ New Jersey at L.A. Lakers's Game 4 Boxscore
  7. ^ "Weary Kidd Leads Nets in Double OT Classic". NBA. 2002-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  8. ^ a b "Horry Continues L.A. Story; Sinks Trey, Blazers". NBA. 2002-04-28. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  9. ^ "No Kidding, Nets Will Contend for East Title". NBA. 2002-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  10. ^ "Lakers Roll Past Spurs, Eye Clash With Kings". NBA. 2002-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  11. ^ a b "No Kidding, the Nets are in the NBA Finals!". NBA. 2002-05-31. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  12. ^ a b "Lakers March On as Kings Can't Dethrone Dynasty". NBA. 2002-06-02. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  13. ^ a b Nets Trade History
  14. ^ Holding to form: Nets take Martin with first pick
  15. ^ Kidd, Marbury primary players in trade USA Today
  16. ^ Liz Robbins (2002-02-02). "PRO BASKETBALL; Nets Get a New Read From the Old School". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  17. ^ a b Bryant, McGrady are first-time All-NBA selections USA Today
  18. ^ a b Payton ties mark with ninth All-Defensive slot USA Today
  19. ^ It's official: Duncan captures MVP award USA Today. Retrieved December 28, 2008
  20. ^ Title goes to one sharp Thorn: Nets GM honored as wheeler-deeler New York Daily-News. Accessed 2009-04-14. Archived 2009-05-14.
  21. ^ Weary Kidd Leads Nets in Double OT Classic
  22. ^ No Kidding, Nets Will Contend for East Title
  23. ^ Pierce sparks Celtics after being down 21
  24. ^ Nets allow Celtics to pull off biggest comeback ever Sports
  25. ^ Facing Another Collapse, Nets Don't Buckle Accessed June 15, 2009.
  26. ^ Averaging a Triple-Double in a Playoff Series Retrieved November 10, 2008
  27. ^ JockBio: Jason Kidd Biography JockBio. Retrieved December 28, 2008
  28. ^ A Playoffs for the Ages
  29. ^ West Wins! Kobe Stakes Claim in All-Star Lore
  30. ^ Kings' big lead proves too much for Lakers
  31. ^ Lakers tie series with Kings on late 3-pointer
  32. ^ Bibby's shot falls, Bryant's misses as Kings win
  33. ^ O'Neal rises to the occasion; Lakers force Game 7
  34. ^ Ralph Nader Cries Foul Against the NBA
  35. ^ Nets' slow start costs them dearly in Game 1
  36. ^ Associated Press (2002-06-06). "Nets' slow start costs them dearly in Game 1". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  37. ^ Costas will anchor NBC's NBA swan song USA Today. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  38. ^ "NBA Finalizes Cable-Heavy TV Deal, Sees 25% Fee Increase". SportsBusiness Daily. 2002-06-13. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  
  39. ^ NBA (2007-06-27). "NBA Extends and Expands Partnership". Press release. Retrieved 2009-05-16.  

External links


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