Every NBA season has its best moments that remain in the minds of NBA fans forever. But 2009 was truly a special season for NBA fans, as some of the most iconic modern NBA stars had tremendous seasons. Whether this means career-high statistics or career-defining moments, 2009 was an iconic year for many of the NBA's top stars.
Here are the most important player facts that happened in 2009, starting with the dominance of former All-Star and future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard Wins Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard has taken a ton of criticism over his career, but he was the undisputed best big man in the NBA in 2009. The center was incredibly dominant, averaging 20.6 PPG and 13.8 RPG while adding a career-high 2.9 BPG. Howard impacted the game as a top-5 player in the NBA and he carried Stan Van Gundy's Magic to the NBA Finals.
Dwight Howard impacted the game defensively better than any other player, and his athleticism made it extremely difficult to score in the paint. Howard won his first NBA title last season as a role player for the Lakers, but his most memorable season came in 2009 to which many NBA fans won't forget.
Dwyane Wade Leads The NBA In Scoring
Dwyane Wade is the greatest Miami Heat player of all-time. He won 3 NBA titles with the Heat and captured 1 Finals MVP in 2006. Wade, known as "Flash", was on a tear in 2009. He dropped a career-high 30.2 PPG while adding 7.5 APG as well. Wade was scintillating from the field, averaging 49.1% shooting thanks to his slashing abilities.
Wade also shot 76.5% from the free-throw line and he certainly got there a lot, averaging 9.8 FTA per game. The Heat finished 5th in the East so Wade didn't have much help to win a chip, but he was certainly dominant as he won the scoring title over LeBron James (28.4 PPG).
Derrick Rose Wins Rookie Of The Year
Derrick Rose is one of the game's most popular players ever. Rose was a monster in his prime, and arguably the most athletic point guard to have ever played the game. Rose captured the Rookie of the Year Award in 2009 after averaging 16.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, and 0.8 SPG while shooting 47.5% from the field. Rose shocked the league with his athleticism and he managed to surpass to win Rookie of the Year.
But most importantly, Rose gave hope to Chicago Bulls fans that he would be the first superstar to lead them to glory since Michael Jordan. The Bulls were starved for postseason success after Michael's Bulls, and Rose had a tremendous year they many fans won't forget. Of course, Rose went on to win MVP 2 years later but his rookie season was certainly one for the ages.
LeBron James Earns His First MVP Award
LeBron James was the best player in the regular season in 2009, ahead of the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. James averaged 28.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, and 1.1 BPG. LeBron led the Cavaliers to the best record in the NBA with a 66-16 record and he was the undisputed most dominant force in the league. Whenever teams played the Cavs, they knew a loss was most likely on the cards that night.
LeBron didn't manage to carry Cleveland to the NBA title that season, and we were robbed of a Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James showdown in the Finals after the Orlando Magic defeated the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Still, LeBron's 2009 MVP Award was his first and he would go on to have one of the best careers ever shortly after.
Kobe Bryant Finally Captures His First Finals MVP And 4th NBA Title
Without a doubt, the most iconic moment in the 2009 NBA season was the championship win of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were destroyed by the Boston Celtics a year earlier, and The Black Mamba was on a revenge mission from day 1. Kobe finished third in scoring during the regular season and was willing to take out all foes en route to his 4th NBA title.
Most importantly, Kobe wanted to win his first NBA title without Shaquille O'Neal. For years, many claimed Kobe rode on O'Neal's coattail, and couldn't win as the man. Bryant shut down all haters that season, taking apart with Orlando Magic in 5 games while averaging 32.4 PPG in the Finals to win his 4th ring and 1st Finals MVP.