Last night, after Game 7 between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cavs advanced to the Finals for their fourth consecutive appearance. For LeBron James, this will even be his eight consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals. But which player has appeared in the most Finals overall?
5. Lebron James – 8 appearances (9 after 2017-2018)
Right now, LeBron has appeared in 8 Finals, the first one being with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007. But, his current streak is very impressive, as he has yet to miss a Finals since 2011. This Finals will be the 9th in his career, and an impressive one at that. James is currently 33 years old and combined over the last two games he played 94 out of 96 possible minutes, while also scoring 46 and 35 points.
4. Tom Heinsohn/Magic Johnson/Jerry West – 9
Heinsohn, Johnson and West have all made 9 Finals appearance throughout their career, but Heinsohn has won the most titles with 8. In his first season, Heinsohn was voted Rookie of the Year over Bill Russell, his teammate with the Celtics. Johnson won five out of nine Finals, and he was voted Finals MVP three times. West only managed to win the NBA Championship once, in 1972, but he holds the record for highest points average in a playoff series (46.3), and he is the only player that managed to be voted Finals MVP despite not winning the Championship (1969).
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 10
Abdul-Jabbar has won 6 titles, one with the Milwaukee Bucks, and the other five with the Los Angeles Lakers. Furthermore, he became the Finals MVP twice, in 1971 and in 1985. He missed the post-season twice in his career, the first time was during his last year with the Bucks, and the second time in his first season with the Lakers
2. Sam Jones – 11
Sam Jones was a teammate of Tom Heinsohn and Bill Russell with the Boston Celtics. Furthermore, he has the second most championships of any player in the NBA, after Bill Russell. Jones made 11 Finals appearances and won 10 of them. He was part of the Celtics when they won 8 Championships in a row between 1959 and 1966, together with K.C. Jones and Bill Russell.
1. Bill Russell – 12
Russell appeared in twelve Finals, and he won eleven of those. He was an important figure in the Celtics Dynasty from 1956 until 1969. During his 13-year career, the Celtics only failed to make it to the Finals once, in 1967, when Boston was eliminated in the Division Finals by Philadelphia. Philadelphia would win the Finals that year.