When it comes to the NBA Finals, the stakes are high, and the pressure is reaching a melting point! The Finals are the pinnacle of NBA players excellence – the place where legends are made – or unmade – and legacies are defined.
But throughout the history of the NBA, there have only been several players who have shone brighter than everyone else. One of them is Andre Iguodala. Known for his unwavering commitment to the game and his incredible athleticism, Iguodala has become something of a legend in the basketball world.
So, just how many rings does Andre Iguodala have, you ask? The answer is an impressive four, all of them earned through sheer skill and determination. But it’s not just about the hardware. It’s about the way Iguodala has consistently come through in the clutch, making pivotal plays and helping his team secure victory time and time again.
Only a few exceptional individuals elevated their game to new heights during the Finals, and we believe that we need to remind everyone why they need more appreciation. So let’s take a closer, appreciative look at five notable NBA players who showcased their brilliance in the Finals and left fans in shock and awe.
No list of extraordinary NBA Finals performances would be complete without mentioning the one and only Michael Jordan – and mention him right here on the well-deserved No. 1 spot.
Michael Jordan’s basketball mastery was a force to be reckoned with by almost any opponent and almost every basketball court, but he consistently elevated his game to a whole other level in the Finals too.
Take, for example, his performance in the 1993 Finals against the Phoenix Suns – Jordan averaged a staggering 41 points per game, including a record-setting 55-point explosion in Game 4.
His bullseye clutch shots and relentless competitiveness propelled the Chicago Bulls to their third consecutive championship, solidifying Jordan’s status as the greatest player of his era – and as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Magic Johnson’s name suits him to a T: his versatility on the court and basketball IQ were truly magical during his Finals appearances, especially the one in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals. Johnson was just a Rookie, but he found himself thrust into the centre stage when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got injured.
Acting as a makeshift centre, Magic ‘magically’ put up an astonishing stat line of 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Johnson’s ability to adapt and excel in any role on the basketball court established him as a formidable force, earning him the famous nickname “Magic.”
But make room for another NBA Superstar – LeBron James! Needless to say, LeBron has become synonymous with exceptional performances not just in the NBA Finals, but in the NBA broadly, as one of the most successful NBA players ever. For example, take his 2016 Finals performance with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors – it will forever be remembered as a notable chapter of basketball legend.
Down 3-1 in the series, LeBron refused to let his team succumb to defeat and decided to show the entire world just what he’s made of. Pulling off a monumental Game 7 performance where he recorded a triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, LeBron averaged a triple-double for the series. His inspiring leadership, defensive prowess, and unwavering determination managed to launch the Cavaliers to their first-ever NBA championship, cementing LeBron’s status as one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
Standing at 7’1″ and weighing over 300 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal will forever be remembered as a dominant force in the NBA. His incredible strength and agility, as you might imagine, also made him nearly unstoppable during every game at the NBA Finals.
Let’s rewind to the year 2000, when O’Neal successfully led the Los Angeles Lakers to the championship, averaging 38 points and 16.7 rebounds per game in the Finals against the Indiana Pacers. And not only that – his unrelenting dominance and masterful ability to control the game inside the paint earned him the Finals MVP award, ensuring him an eternal place in the NBA pantheon.
Kobe Bryant, may he Rest in Peace, will be forever remembered for his incredible work ethic and tireless pursuit of greatness. Kobe was also someone who frequently shone brightly in multiple NBA Finals. Let’s recall his outstanding performance in Game 4 of the 2009 Finals against the Orlando Magic: Bryant scored a total of 32 points, including 13 straight in the crucial fourth quarter, and moved the Lakers one win away from snagging the championship. Kobe Bryant’s scoring excellence, clutch performances, and unshakable determination made him a true NBA Finals legend.
The NBA Finals have been home to countless awe-inspiring performances over the years, but the five players we honoured above stand out from everyone else. Their ability to elevate their game came when it mattered most, and oftentimes secured their teams the Championship itself. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant will be forever remembered for giving us the most ring-worthy performances at the NBA Finals.