10) Dirk Nowitzki (Next, Dallas Mavericks), 2011
Dirk Nowitzki won his only championship playing against “the Heatles,” founded by the Miami superstar when multi-year All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh brought their talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade, yet. other Perennial All-Star. Game 1 of the series immediately gave the oddsmakers cause for concern. In a low-scoring tight business in Miami, Nowitzki used a splint to remove a torn tendon in the game in his left hand before hitting the winner of the match with the injured hand. He then won Game 4 despite having a sinus infection and 101F fever, which confirmed his undoubted ability to now excel through difficult circumstances.
9) Jerry West (Garda, Los Angeles Lakers), 1969
1969 was West’s sixth final – and he had lost the other five finals to the Boston Celtics under Bill Russell. Despite this track record, West played brilliantly, averaging 38 points per game across the league, including a 53-point performance in Game 1 and 40 triple-double points in Game 7, losing the Lakers to give Boston the title. West’s inspired performance was not lost to his opponent: Russell famously said “Los Angeles did not win the championship, but Jerry West is a champion.” The recognized powers are also West’s playing quality, awarding him the first ever MVP award and the only award ever given to a player on the losing team.
8) Hakeem Olajuwon (Center, Houston Rockets), 1995
Lost Hours among other 1990s superstars, Hakeem Olajuwon, the series’ first international superstar, had two years of quiet dominance. One of several performances on this list defined by the exceptional quality of his opponent, Olajuwon’s Rockets Orlando Magic led by Shaquille O’Neal who had just beaten the Chicago Jordan Bulls Michael Jordan (the only team) who did so in the 90s). Olajuwon scored 30+ points in each game and took advantage of the team winner’s match in Game 1.
7) Dwyane Wade (Garda, Miami Heat), 2006
Wade’s play in 2006, so far, is the best impression anyone has made of Michael Jordan on the final stage. He was an unlikely candidate for the league MVP – after all, his teammate O’Neal, an MVP three times in the final alone. But, after losing the first two games, it was Wade who scored 42, 36, 43 and 36 points in four straight victories to give Miami their first championship. And, according to the compound (often controversial) statistic known as player efficiency rating (PER), the 2006 Wade series was the single best performance for over 20 years.
6) Bill Russell (Center, Boston Celtics) 1962
Okay, so this award didn’t exist until 1969, but it was such a Russell dominance that we’re giving him one anyway. In his 13 years in the league, Russell’s Celtics won the championship 11 times, including eight straight titles.
Russell’s defensive-oriented style has never translated well into statistics but, as he famously noted, “The way I play, the victory of my team.” This was especially true during his 1962 dominant performance against the Lakers West. In a very different way to Bill-Russell, he was in charge of his Celtics scoring that series. He played all 53 minutes of Game 7, which went to overtime, racking up 30 points and 40 rebounds in the process.
5) Shaquille O’Neal (Center, Los Angeles Lakers), 2000
For a certain generation of fans, Shaq was a real-life superhero: he was even in a movie (admittedly, not great). His power peaked at the turn of the millennium when he and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three straight titles. During those first runs, in 2000, Shaq was almost non-stop. After being shy of one voter in unanimously winning the regular season’s MVP, Shaq led the Indiana Pacers by an average of 38 points and 16.7 rebounds over six games. If possible, Shaq was even more dominant than the numbers suggest.
4) Magic Johnson (Garda, Los Angeles Lakers), 1980
In 1980, at just 20, Johnson was the youngest player ever named in the MVP finals. In the most famous moment in the series, Johnson started Game 6 clinching as the center of his team (traditionally the highest position on a team) despite being the usual point guard of the team (traditionally the shortest position). Johnson would rotate playing through all five potential positions during the game on his way to earning 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in winning the title.
3) Willis Reed (Center, New York Knicks), 1970
Willis Reed may be the most recognizable name on this list for casual fans, but pundits still make regular reference to the hall of famer’s stock leadership in Game 7 of the 1970 series to this day.
Reed scored more than 31 points on average per game in the first four games, serving as the New York Knicks’ top scorer. The Knicks led the series 3-2 after five games, but their Game 5 victory came at a high cost – Reed was injured, tearing a muscle in his right thigh. Due to the injury he missed Game 6, which the Knicks lost by more than 20 points.
To the surprise of Knicks fans, the injured Reed limped out for Game 7. He took, and made, the Knicks’ first two shots and spent most of the first half defending Wilt Chamberlain before his injury sent him off. the game. The Knicks will go on to win the game and the championship. His presence that evening inspired everyone watching, with renowned broadcaster Howard Cosell saying to Reed, “You are role models to the best of the human spirit.”
2) Michael Jordan (Garda, Chicago Bulls), 1993
As anyone who has watched The Last Dance can confirm, Michael Jordan has a lot to say enough final performances to choose from. His first championship, against Magic Johnson’s Lakers in 1991, gave us his “spectrum”.GII-Jordan’s second finals, in 1992, brought us to the imbalance of the “shrug.” He won his fourth title in 1996 on Father ‘s Day, a coincidence that only got worse. Jordan ‘s raw, emotional response to his first title after the murder of his father. The list goes on – there’s a “flu game” in 1997, and the title – winning shot with five seconds left in 1998.
Jordan’s greatest overall performance in court, however, is the most difficult to summarize in a single phrase or minute. In 1993, Jordan’s Bulls won their third consecutive championship, an achievement not achieved by a team from Bill Russell Celtics. At an absurd 41 points per game, Jordan set the record (yet still) with the most points per game in a series of finals.
1) LeBron James (Next, Cleveland Cavaliers), 2016
He is almost switching between Jordan’s high-scoring highlights in 1993 and LeBron James ’excellence in 2016. But, on closer inspection, it’s clear that James’ s 2016 achievement is unique.
Let’s start with his opponent – James and the Cavaliers were playing the Golden State Warriors defensive championship, a team led by Steph Curry in a season in which he won the at the start–never MVP elected unanimously. Curry’s Warriors won 73 games during the regular season, surpassing the previous record of Jordan’s Bulls.
James’ case was grim. After Game 4, the Cavs were down 3-1, a deficit that no team has ever overcome in a final. But, in the final three games, James was unable to stop him. He scored 41 points apiece in Games 5 and 6 before finishing the series with a triple double in Game 7. He dominated all major statistical categories for the league, something no other player has ever done in the playoffs. And, in addition to statistical excellence, James made his own signature play. “The Block” (has its own Wikipedia entry) was a great chase for the finals dominated by MVP Andre Iguodala who saved a tie score in the final moments of Game 7.
The victory also ended the Cleveland title drought across all major professional sports, which dates back to 1964. It was not bad for a child from nearby Akron.