Lets be honest, the playoffs are where you truly make a name for yourself and your legacy.  During these times all eyes are on you if you’re considered one of the games greatest.  Some players have gone to the post season nearly every single year of their careers, where others didn’t go as often but won more championships.  How do you classify or put in order the best playoff players of all time?  Here is my attempt to not dis-respect any of the all time playoff greats.  (165 minimum playoff games played to qualify) (All stats referred to below are playoff career stats only)

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15.  Derek Fisher

Playoff games played:  259

Championships a part of: 5

Fisher made my list mainly because of the amount of times he’s been there before and his successes.  He may not be the number 1 option on a team or the guy you draw a play up for the last shot on a regular basis, but there’s no doubt that he has proven he can be that player in moments when everything is on the line.  Fisher is the all time leader in games played in the playoffs with 259 games.

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14. Dwyane Wade

Playoff games played:  177

Championships a part of:  3

Wade has made it to the post season 13 times.  He had played all of his playoff games in a Heat uniform all the way up until 2016-2017 when he signed with the Chicago Bulls, where he played in 6 more playoff games losing to the Boston Celtics.  The Flash has scored almost 4000 points when it’s mattered, which is currently 10th on the all time list. Notably, Wade won a championship before LeBron James and Chris Bosh ever came over to Miami.

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13.  Robert Parish

Playoff games played:  184

Championships a part of:  4

Parrish made the playoffs with 4 different teams in his career.  From a span of 1980 to 1996, he had made the playoffs 15 times.  In his 16 total career playoff runs, he nearly averaged a double double with 15.3 points and 9.6 rebounds while blocking a total of 309 shots. (6th all time)

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12. Robert Horry

Playoff games played:  244

Championships a part of:  7

I don’t think you can make an all time playoff player list without including Robert Horry on there somewhere.  Horry is known for clutch shot after clutch shot in the post season and has more championship rings than every player to play the game besides eight.

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11. Shaquille O’Neal

Playoff games played:  216

Championships a part of: 4

The biggest thing holding back Shaq on this list was his achilles heel and inability to knock down free throws.  If he hadn’t been fouled so much it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.  He attempted over 2300 free throws in his playoff experiences and made only 50.4% of them.  He would be 3rd all time in playoff points if he had made just 75% of his free throws.  Not to leave on a bad note, O’Neal ranks 4th in both playoff rebounds and blocks.

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10.  Tony Parker

Playoff games played:  226

Championships a part of:  4

Impressively, Tony Parker has made the playoffs in every single year that he’s played in the NBA.  Since 2001 Parker has been a model of success, during an era full of generational talent.  Where championships could have gone multiple ways, Parker was able to help steal 4 championship chances away from players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and even Russell Westbrook.   Parker is currently 9th all time in post season points and 5th all time in assists.  He’s played the 6th most playoff games in history.

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9.  Manu Ginobili

Playoff games played:  218

Championships a part of:  4

Manu and Tony are virtually swappable here but I chose to give Manu the slight edge.  To nitpick he has the same amount of championship rings in less games.  He ranks in the top 25 in both points and assists while sneakily sits top 4 in all time three pointers made.   Just to one-up his teammate sitting at number ten, he also ranks top 10 in all time steals.

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8. Scottie Pippen

Playoff games played:  208

Championships a part of:  6

Up until LeBron recently passed him, Pippen lead the league in all time steals in the playoffs.  To show how reliable and versatile this guy was, Scottie Pippen ranks AT LEAST top 23 in total playoff points, rebounds, assists, steals and three pointers made.

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7.  LeBron James

Playoff games played:  229

Championships a part of:  3

A lot of Bulls fans right now are loving that there is quite the gap between Jordan and James on this one.  To James’ defense he’s still playing some of his best basketball in his 15th season and has plenty of time to climb his way up before he calls it quits. James is currently 1st on the all time playoff scoring list.  He is 7th in the rebound category and 3rd in assists. To add, LeBron is also 1st in steals and top 20 in blocks.  Though there is no doubt in my mind that he will be near the top of every statistical category you can be in by the time he is done; What will end up weighing most, when its all said and over with, is his ability to win championships.

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6.  Kobe Bryant

Playoff games played:  220

Championships a part of:  5

Out of the 15 times Bryant made the post season he won the championship 33% of those times. He has shot his way into 4th all time in points and he’s in the top 10 in assists. Bryant is 6th in both steals and three pointers made, as well. The way Kobe mirrored his game after the Chicago Bulls shooting guard he idolized growing up helped bring nearly the same successes to Los Angeles.

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 5.  Tim Duncan

Playoff games played:  251

Championships a part of:  5

Only Derek Fisher has played more playoff games than this man.  Tim Duncan was one of the most fundamental and consistent basketball players the NBA has ever seen missing only one playoffs during his 19 year career.  He ranks 6th in all time points and 3rd in total rebounds.  Most outstandingly, Duncan sits atop a very respected list by blocking the most shots in NBA playoff history. He has almost 100 more blocks than Kareem, Hakeem, Shaquille, and Robinson.

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 4.  Magic Johnson

Playoff games played:  190

Championships a part of:  5

There are 12 players that have played more playoff games than Magic Johnson.  Out of those 12 players only 3 players have won more championships.  He is first all time in playoff assists.  He has over 500 more assists than the next closest, John Stockton.  Magic worked his way up to 4th all time in steals and ranks top 20 in points and rebounds.

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 3.  Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Playoff games played:  237

Championships a part of:  6

Jabbar ranks top 5 in total points, rebounds, and blocks all time. He made the post season 18 years out of his 20 seasons.  Kareem had one of the most unstoppable jump hooks the game has ever seen and will go down as one of the more dominant players to ever play.

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2.  Bill Russell

Playoff games played:  165

Championships a part of: 11

Although Russell only played in 165 career playoff games he sure made his mark in them.  He is the closest player to ever be able to say he almost won the championship every year he played in the league.  At one point Bill and the Celtics had won 8 championships in row.  Playing in less games than anyone mentioned on this list, Russell still manages to lead NBA history in career playoff rebounds.

MJ

1.  Michael Jordan

Playoff games played: 179

Championships a part of:  6

Michael Jordan will always be remembered for the dominance he enforced during the 90’s helping lead the bulls to a championship three times in a row… twice.    Jordan also has another very impressive accomplishment…never losing in the Finals. He a perfect 6-0.  He’s second in scoring all time and 10th in assists. He’s right behind his sidekick at 3rd in all time steals.

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Written by Jason Ainsworth

SLC 25 Writer for Game Changers Sports Network Singer/vocalist Tinner Disc Golfer Cat Lover Traveler.

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