Most NBA finals appearances by player

The NBA has always been about superstars who create historic dynasties. Teams and players with the most NBA finals appearances are considered the greatest of all time.

Who are the players that made the most NBA finals appearances in a row

The most NBA finals appearances by player in a row includes a list of the biggest superstars ever to grace the hardcourt. As the association eventually expanded from nine to the current configuration of thirty teams, appearing in consecutive finals became even more difficult due to increased competition among franchises. 

No one compares to Bill Russell, who completely dominated the National Basketball Association during his tenure. Russell lead the Celtics to ten consecutive NBA finals, including eight straight wins during this decade of excellence. Teammates Sam Jones and Tom Heinsohn appeared in nine consecutive finals, while Frank Ramsey also joined in for eight in a row. The Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers rivalry was born during these years.

LeBron James and his eight consecutive NBA finals is remarkable in the modern era, given his complete dominance over the eastern conference in a time of improved competition. Unlike the others in the top five, LeBron was the superstar leader of two squads during his run. His playoff runs with the Cavaliers were absurd, as James single-handedly lifted Cleveland into championship contention through historically great performances.

Who are the players that made the most NBA finals appearances in a row

Three players are tied with seven consecutive appearances. The legendary Bob Cousy and the ridiculously underrated KC Jones went for seven straight finals with the Celtics. LeBron James’ teammate James Jones followed the King from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, earning a spot in seven consecutive championship finals.

Who are the players who played the most NBA final games

MOST NBA FINALS APPEARANCES

As expected, Bill Russell leads the list of most NBA Finals games played by player with 70 games. He achieved this accomplishment in an NBA with fewer teams, but he still overcame legends like Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West to accumulate the greatest NBA playoff record in history. Russell’s records are unlikely to ever be matched by another player.

  • Bill Russell - 70 games
  • Sam Jones - 64 games
  • Kareem Abdul Jabbar - 56 games
  • Jerry West - 55 games
  • Tom Heinsohn - 52 games

Sam Jones rode shotgun during the the reign of Russell and the Celtics. Jones was known as a clutch shotmaker, capable of leveraging his speed and quickness to create daggers late in the fourth quarter. Sam is second on the list with 64 games.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a superstar with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, accumulating 56 finals games over a career which spanned three decades. The Lakers dominated the 80s with the presence of Kareem and Magic, gathering five of his six rings during this time.

Jerry West, the player on the NBA logo, accumulated 55 finals games during his time with the Lakers. Unfortunately for West, he won the NBA championship only once during his 14 years in Los Angeles. He’s one of the few players to win finals MVP without capturing the ring. Tom Heinsohn rounds out the top five with 52 games alongside Russell and Jones with the Celtics.

What are the most consecutive NBA Playoff appearances by player  

MOST NBA FINALS APPEARANCES in a row

Karl Malone is one of the greatest players to never experience success at the highest level of the NBA, appearing in 19 consecutive NBA playoffs without a single ring to his name. His longtime teammate John Stockton, one of the best pure point guards in NBA history, also had 19 consecutive appearances without a championship.

  • Karl Malone - 19 consecutive
  • John Stockton - 19 consecutive
  • Tony Parker - 17 consecutive
  • Tim Duncan - 16 consecutive
  • Robert Horry - 16 consecutive

Tony Parker qualified for 17 straight playoffs, and teammate Tim Duncan played in 16 straight, but neither are close to Bill Russell for the most NBA Finals games played by player. 

Robert Horry was never considered a superstar, but his incredible ability to hit game-winning shots in clutch situations made him desirable to teams competing for a ring. “Big Shot Bob” won seven championships with the Rockets and the Lakers, appearing in 16 consecutive playoffs.

Which are the teams that have the most NBA finals appearances

Teams with the most NBA finals

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the historically great franchises with the most NBA finals appearance by team. Los Angeles has appeared in 31 NBA finals and won 16 of them, an incredible number given the fact that the Toronto Raptors entire franchise history is barely over three decades old. 

  • Los Angeles Lakers - 31 NBA Finals
  • Boston Celtics - 21 NBA Finals
  • Golden State Warriors - 10 NBA Finals
  • Philadelphia 76ers - 9 NBA Finals
  • New York Knicks - 8 NBA Finals 

Boston is in second place with 21 NBA finals, including the most consecutive NBA finals with 13 total between 1957 and 1969. The Celtics have 17 rings while the Lakers won 16 championships.

The recent streak by the Golden State Warriors lifted the franchise into third place with 10, likely to rise to 11 in 2019. Golden State has dominated conference rivals like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers during much of the decade.

Philly has appeared in nine finals during their history, winning only three championships. The New York Knicks have the worst record in the top five, appearing in eight finals and winning only two of those championships.