NBA Finals History: Players with the most Finals appearances EVER
Also read: Best NBA Finals Series of all-time
LeBron James is currently playing in his 8th straight NBA Finals series. It's his 9th appearance on the biggest stage in pro basketball, and he's the only player in the 21st century to make these many appearances in the Finals.
In fact, he has more Finals appearances than all but 2 franchises in the entire NBA, which is just too mind-blowing a fact to ignore. Having said that, he's not at the top of this list, which is populated by Hall of Famers all the way up.
Dynasties have been a recurring theme in NBA basketball ever since its inception. The Minneapolis Lakers were the first to win 2 titles back-to-back. After falling out of contention in the intervening year, they then became the first to win 3 titles in 3 successive years. But none of their players feature on this really exclusive list - one that does not have GOAT Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, among others.
Here's a countdown of players with the greatest number of NBA Finals appearances:
8 appearances in the Finals -
John Havlicek, Tom Sanders, K.C. Jones, Frank Ramsey, Michael Cooper, Derek Fisher
John Havlicek (4th from left in the last row in this picture) is the most accomplished of all these players individually. He plied his trade mostly as either a 2-guard or as a small forward, but at his height of 6'5", he played as an oversized point guard in some lineups later on in his career.
Havlicek averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.3 blocks through the course of an illustrious 16-year career. He spent the entirety of his career with the Boston Celtics and won in all 8 of his Finals appearances.
KC Jones, Frank Ramsey, and Tom Sanders are all Hall of Famers who were capable role players in the victorious Celtics teams of the late 50s and the 60s. While they were all capable players, none of them has an All-Star game appearance on their resume. Of these players, Frank Ramsey is the only one who doesn't have 8 titles in 8 appearances (he has 7).
Michael Cooper, on the other hand, was much more crucial as a role player for the Lakers in a glittering 12-year career that started as a third-round draft pick in 1978. He was named as the Defensive Player of the Year for the 1986-87 season, and he is one of the first players to typify the 3-and-D role that is so valuable in basketball today.
Derek Fisher has 8 Finals appearances through an illustrious, Hall of Fame-caliber career that lasted 18 seasons as a point guard. Other than 7 Finals appearances alongside Kobe with the Lakers, he also made the Finals in 2012 as a backup point guard for Russell Westbrook.