The post-season is the time when the real tension and competition starts in the NBA. The regular season is important of course, but nothing compares with the excitement that is inherent to NBA playoffs. Every player dreams to take part in a playoff game once in their lifetime.
Who has played in the most NBA Playoff games? As of 2021, LeBron James is an all-time leader in the total number of matches in the playoffs. Throughout his 18-year career, The King has participated in 266 games, winning 4 titles with 3 different franchises, and is on a path to improve his record even more.
LeBron James is particularly known for becoming a completely different player during the playoffs and the term “Playoff LeBron” makes perfect sense. In this article, we will also talk about other players and how their careers unfolded.
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266 games, 4 titles and dominating the NBA – LeBron James
When LeBron James was drafted as the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, people were sure that the league was expecting a formidable athlete, that would become one of the greatest players of all time. LeBron has only missed 3 playoffs seasons during his entire career! These numbers are mind-blowing. 266 games – he managed to accomplish this milestone with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. Adding to that, The King won 4 titles and took part in 8 consecutive finals from 2011 to 2018. James, 36, is already approaching the end of his career, but The King will likely surpass the 300-game mark if he plays for 3 more seasons and stays fit. James also leads the playoffs in all-time scoring and there are small chances that anyone will surpass him shortly.
Other NBA players with most playoff matches
While LeBron James is leading the list, we should also mention other players that come after LeBron. These players are prominent ones and managed to achieve great fets during their careers.
Derek Fisher – 259 games
Former Los Angeles Lakers point guard is perhaps remembered by his incredible shot, with 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Against the San Antonio Spurs, Fisher sealed the game-winning buzzer-beater, creating one of the most memorable moments in the NBA playoffs history. Derek Fisher took part in 259 games, winning 5 titles alongside Kobe Bryant and company. In addition to the Los Angeles Lakers, he also played in the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he eventually finished his career.
Tim Duncan – 251 games
Arguably, the greatest power forward of all time – what can we say more about the symbol on the San Antonio Spurs – Tim Duncan. Duncan spent his entire career with the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich, missing out only in one playoff season during the 1999-200 season. He won 5 titles, with the most recent one being in 2014 against the Miami Heat. “The Big Fundamental” played 10 playoff games in his final year for the San Antonio Spurs and eventually retired in 2016.
Robert Horry – 244 games
We mentioned earlier that LeBron James won 4 titles with different franchises. The same can be said about Robert Horry – one of the clutches players of his generation. A loyal soldier and incredible player, who put his soul on the playing court. Robert Horry won 7 championships in total, playing for the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. He never missed a single playoff season and was always motivated in every game. The number of matches speaks for itself – Horry is undoubtedly one of the influential players of all time in the NBA.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 237 games
Jabbar is leading the NBA in the all-time scoring list and the center played 20 seasons in the NBA. As for the playoffs, Jabbar participated in 237 games for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, winning 6 titles and 2x Finals MVP Award. Alongside Magic Johnson, the Lakers had a duo that was simply too much for the opponents and they proved it by winning 5 titles together.
Tony Parker – 226 games
Another Spurs legend alongside Tim Ducan that we cannot exclude – Tony Parker. An explosive point guard also spent the major part of his career with the San Antonio Spurs, winning 4 championships. He, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan formed a so-called Big Three that was headed by Gregg Popovich. Parker was a regular playoff starter from 2002 to 2018 and the French player won the Finals MVP Award in 2007.
Kobe Bryant – 220 games
Kobe and his Mamba Mentality always brought excitement to the playoffs. One of the greatest players of all time, who passed away in January 2020, played with the Los Angeles Laker for his entire career and became the icon of the team. Kobe amassed 220 matches, won 5 championships and while injuries affected him greatly in his final years, the legendary player will always remain one of the most clutch players of all time.
Who is next in a row after LeBron among active players?
Only Andre Iguodala is the closest to LeBron James from active players with 170 games, being 23rd on the list. Iguodala won 3 championship titles with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, 2017 and 2018 but he also played for the Denver Nuggets, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. He is 37 years old but the small forward will be able to increase his tally in the upcoming seasons. Currently, he has the same number of matches in the playoffs, alongside Paul Pierce and Horace Grant.