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5 players with most NBA Finals appearances

LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers
LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers
ANALYST
Modified 22 Apr 2021
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LeBron James is renowned for making the NBA Finals with all the teams he has played for. He took the 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA's biggest stage.

Last season James played his tenth NBA Finals, doing so with a third different franchise. In the process, 'The King' became only the fourth player in the competition's history to register double-digit appearances in NBA Finals.

Before James, there have been a few other legends as well who have accomplished the feat en route to winning multiple NBA championships. On that note, let's take a look at the five players with the most appearances in NBA Finals.

Without further ado, let's get started.


#5 Magic Johnson - 9 NBA Finals

Magic Johnson during the 1983 NBA Finals
Magic Johnson during the 1983 NBA Finals

Magic Johnson is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and played multiple NBA Finals.

Johnson entered the NBA in the 1979-80 season and led the LA Lakers to the NBA Finals as a rookie, winning the championship and taking the Finals MVP honor.

Overall, Magic played in nine NBA Finals during his entire career, doing so from 1979 to 1991.

With the 'Showtime' LA Lakers, Magic won five NBA championships and averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 11.7 assists and two steals per game in 50 games in NBA Finals overall. He also won three Finals MVP awards (1980, 1982, 1987).


#4 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 10 NBA Finals

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was unstoppable in his prime.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was unstoppable in his prime.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had an impressive basketball career through high school, college and the NBA. He appeared in the NBA Finals in only his second year in the league, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the 1971 championship.

Before playing for the LA Lakers, he had another run to the NBA Finals with the Bucks but fell against the Boston Celtics in 1974. With the LA Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played eight NBA Finals between 1980 and 1989, winning five championships.

In 56 NBA Finals games in his career, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 23.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 blocks per game, doing so with a 52% field-goal percentage.

Abdul-Jabbar won two Finals MVP awards in his career and was the first to do so with two different franchises (Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and LA Lakers in 1985).


#3 LeBron James - 10 NBA Finals

LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers
LeBron James (#23) of the LA Lakers

LeBron James has seemingly been on the NBA's biggest stage every year of his career. His first appearance in the NBA Finals came in 2007 after a great postseason run with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James played in eight consecutive NBA Finals with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavs between 2011 and 2018.

In 2020, James returned to the biggest stage with the LA Lakers, winning his fourth championship and taking the Finals MVP honor for the fourth time in his career (second-most in league history).

In 55 games in the NBA Finals, James has averaged 28.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.


#2 Sam Jones - 11 NBA Finals

Sam Jones with the Boston Celtics
Sam Jones with the Boston Celtics

Sam Jones, who appeared for the Boston Celtics between 1957 and 1969, played in 11 NBA Finals and won ten rings with the biggest dynasty in the history of the league.

The five-time All-Star played alongside the legendary Bill Russell and is only the second player in league history to have had a double-digit championship haul in his career, Russell being the other.

Jones appeared in 64 games in NBA Finals, averaging 17.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per outing.


#1 Bill Russell - 12 NBA Finals

Bill Russell (left) and Red Auerbach
Bill Russell (left) and Red Auerbach

Arguably the greatest winner in NBA history (statistically), Bill Russell guided the Boston Celtics to their first 11 championships between 1957 and 1969.

In his 13 seasons in the league, Russell appeared in 12 NBA Finals with the Celtics, winning 11 championships and losing in the 1958 deciding series against the St. Louis Hawks.

Russell played in 70 games in the NBA's biggest stage, averaging 16.4 points, 24.5 rebounds and 45.5 minutes per game.

His last two championships came as the Boston Celtics' coach/player.


Also Read: 5 stats that should leave Brooklyn Nets panicking ahead of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

Published 22 Apr 2021
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