Larry Bird and Magic battling for a rebound, Michael Jordan taking off from the free throw line, Kenny Smith cutting down the net after winning the finals,Tim Hardaway going for the lay-up (probably after crossing his defender), the first game of the Vancouver Grizzlies, Shaq, Kobe, and Phil Jackson sharing a tight visitors locker room, Steve Nash challenging Kobe Bryant mid-air, Kyrie Irving elevating to take the biggest shot in Cavs history, Lebron James making his debut with the Lakers, Kawhi’s insane 4-bounce shot, a rare sight of Kawhi with a smile that goes from ear-to-ear along with Kyle Lowry after winning the 2019 finals against the Warriors.
Do any of these moments trigger a memory? Maybe that guy at your local gym that sinks the same shot every time has told you about one of these moments, maybe you watched one of these at House of Highlights or YouTube, or maybe, just maybe, you were lucky enough to catch one of these moments live. All of these moments and more, will live forever in our minds, in video on the internet but there is something romantic and simply indescribable about seeing them through the lense of one of the best sports photographers in the world, Andrew D. Bernstein, NBA senior photographer, and that is exactly the opportunity that the NBA Gallery in Vancouver offered its visitors.
As you walked in to the gallery you were greeted by a vast amount of framed photographs, game-worn jerseys, memorabilia from milestone nights, and...is that a Grizzly’s head made out of shoe boxes? Correct, the piece created by Brooklyn-based artist, Christophe Roberts, celebrated the Vancouver Grizzlies’ legacy; you could almost hear the grizzly roaring through it’s shoe box fangs! Christophe also paid tribute to the reigning NBA Champs, the Toronto Raptors, by creating an imposing artwork depicting a Raptor in full roar and using a colour-palette that can be recognized by even casual NBA fans, red, white, black, and of course, purple.
If the photos next to Christophe Roberts’ work were not enough to be already impressed, Andrew Bernstein wrote what can only be called intimate descriptions for each and every one of his photos. In each caption, Andrew shared some context of how that shot came to be. Did you know that Larry Bird yelled at Andrew for taking a shot while he was warming up? Or that Kobe Bryant was so deep into his pre-game preparation that he didn’t even notice Andrew in the locker room? Yeah, that kind of detail was shared by Bernstein.
But that wasn’t all. If you are a sneakerhead then Matthew Senna’s work might have reminded you of a dream you had once where your Jordan’s were made out of precious metals. Matthew’s impressive Jordan’s wall featured MJ’s iconic shoes (1-18) plated in bronze and neatly organized in order of release. Matthew’s piece-de-resistance was a pair of Air Jordan’s 1s that were plated in gold; this one pair sat on a pedestal all on its own directly in front of the other Js. If you didn’t get a photo of this magnificent display let me tell you right now, you missed out.
To cap off one of the nights at the gallery, the man himself, Andrew D. Bernstein visited Vancouver and did a public panel with the people in attendance. Andew was also joined by Mr. Killer Crossover and proud basketball dad, Tim Hardaway Sr. For about an hour long, both Bernstein and Hardaway shared insights on their craft and many memorable anecdotes that made basketball fans reminisce of past eras, memorable games, and look forward to what NBA season will bring with it this year.
The NBA Gallery provided a space for fans of all ages and backgrounds to not only enjoy some of the NBA’s most iconic moment frozen forever in time through Andrew Bernstein’s cameras but people that were there got a chance to connect with each other. It didn’t matter which team you root for, if you are a team or player fan, if you thought the 90s were tougher, or even if you have only seen a handful of games. The NBA gallery allowed us all to be fans of the game at the same time.