You might not know Ezra Shaw by name, but if you read about sports on the internet, you’re almost certainly familiar with his work.
Shaw has been a photographer for Getty Images for 20 years, charged with the difficult task of taking a sport as kinetic as basketball and capturing it into still moment for both next-day recaps and basketball historians who will look back on the Warriors-Cavaliers rivalry for years to come.
Having been on the court shooting for the past four NBA Finals between the two teams, he’s responsible for iconic images of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and the heated emotions that the Finals bring out from the biggest stars in the sport.
Ahead of Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals, Shaw shared some of his favorite shots from four years of covering the Warriors and Cavaliers as they battle for the NBA championship, and spoke with Business Insider about the difficulties, logistics, and joys of the job.
2015, Game 1
Through the NBA Finals, Shaw’s workday starts well before tip-off.
“You set up a camera behind the backboard, probably about five hours before the game starts. You pre-focus that camera where you think, or hope, one of these guys, Durant or LeBron is going to dunk the ball.”
These remote cameras not only provide his audience with amazing mid-air action shots, but also give him a chance to capture a play happening out of his line of sight on the court.
“It gives you an extra look on the basket your not shooting at,” says Shaw.
2018, Game 1
“You try to find a unique angle,” says Shaw.
“One thing Getty encourages is finding a unique angle — I’ve never in 20 years been asked ‘Oh where’s that shot?’ They encourage you to try something from up top of the stadium, or something different.”
2017, Game 1
The results from these remote cameras can be astounding. In Game 1 of the 2017 Finals, Shaw caught Kevin Durant and LeBron James going up for almost identical dunks from behind the same backboard.
“The two biggest stars both came in for a dunk on the right basket for me. You hope for one or two pictures a game like that.”
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