STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 580 Minutes Total
1970 Finals Game 7 (Lakers @ Knicks)
1986 Playoffs R1 G2 (Bulls @ Celtics)
1998 Finals Game 6 (Bulls @ Jazz)
2004 West Conf. Semis Game 5 (Lakers @ Spurs)

The Pitch

"Let’s release the History Channel’s NBA’s 10 Greatest Special on DVD." "Sir, that special was kinda…fluff. Does it really deserve a dvd?" "Let’s stack the set – they’ll never know the difference."

The Humans

The Panel: Bill Walton, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Dave Cowens and Rick Bucher. And a whole lot of people playing basketball.

The Nutshell hosted a fan poll on the 10 Greatest Moments in 10 Categories in NBA History. The fans voted, the votes were tallied and they made a show about it.

Yet another example of a childish reaction to the announcement of Larry Bird’s hometown

The Package

A 5-Disc Digipack in a slipcase. Artwork is sleek and shiny, going for a metallic look with each of the discussed categories overlayed in the background. The brushed chrome texture on the logo is pretty slick and adds a little umph to the overall style. I really like the artwork, but the discs are laid out in that annoying overlapped style that forces you to take out one disc to get to another. On the visual side, this was a made-for-tv special and that’s apparent. The transfer is normal – just as crisp as it was on The History Channel. Well, the on-set stuff is anyway. It’s well-lit, they used a nice camera and quality stock – good stuff. The highlights, however? Not so much. The older clips are grainy and have frame rate issues. Sonically, well whoever designed sound on the disc thought it best to provide us a Dolby 2.0 track. Not a big deal for the actual show, but it would have been sweet to have a 5.1 track for the games for obvious reasons.

Now, feature-wise, there aren’t any traditional bonuses. No commentaries (the whole damn show is a commentary), no promos or outtakes or extra footage. Instead, you have what were voted as the 4 best games of the past 4 decades. And these are the full games, taken right from their original television broadcast. Every frame from the player intros to the post-game show were transferred and added to this collection without added modern commentaries or broken-up highlight reels. On one hand, it’s not a very practical set of features, but on the other hand it’s really unique and inventive. I wish they would have made at least some effort to clean up the transfers, but I guess that would defeat the nostalgia thing they were trying to go for. However, minor gripes aside, the games are excellent additions to the set, if for no other reason than posterity. Thumbs up.

He's so brave!
Everyone was inspired by how, despite his fear of heights, he found the courage to play in the NBA

The Lowdown

As said above, hosted a fan poll on the 10 Greatest Moments in NBA History. 10 Categories were offered with a host of nominees in each and the fans voted. Now, on paper, that’s a fine idea, until you realized that an entire show was being produced based on the results. Then it becomes a little questionable. How could you guarantee that the voters had a broad enough knowledge of NBA History to cast the vote that truly deserved to be cast? If you’re going to promote something as a 10 Greatest List, wouldn’t it make more sense to have the list created by people who have studied the sport? People who know the history well enough to make a well-informed decision? That’s what I was thinking anyway.

It's gotta be the shoes!
Introducing the new Nike Vortex – guaranteed to blur your opponents into another plane of existence.

Well, my fears were put to rest. Yes, technically the fans voted. Yes, technically the "Official List" was a direct result of that voting. However, the presentation of the categories was a little more insightful. Bill Walton introduces the category, certain players announce their pick for the "Best of…" in each category, and then the panel discusses what they think the list should consist of and then, finally, Bill says "and here’s what you voted for." Again, thumbs up. Now, even though it’s a well-produced, somewhat informative discussion show, it only lasts about 45 minutes (it was originally formatted for commercials). So, we have 10 categories, with numerous amazing nominees in each, but, in essence, they can only devote roughly 4 minutes to each category, resulting in extremely compacted discussions. They do great with the time they have, but because they have to skim everything and only have time for the most basic commentary, it does tend to feel like fluff. Which is a shame because I’m sure there could have been some excellent discussions had the running time been longer or the number of categories been trimmed. Ah well. Even with the minor gripes this is still a damn decent set and a must-have for any NBA fan, if for no other reason than the four extra games.

Wanna be wanna be wanna be like Mike
Dr. J may have invented the Free Throw Line dunk, but this is the man who perfected it.
And consequently, he also defied focus. That’s greatness.

8.0 out of 10