NBA players with most conference finals appearances are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 13, LeBron James 11 and Derek Fisher at 11.

One of the most exciting and defining phases of the NBA Playoffs is the Conference Finals. Only a select few players have had the honor of making it to this stage multiple times in their careers.

In the 2023 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated Steph Curry inspired Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the Conference Semifinals to reach the Finals. 

With that, The Lakers hold the record for the most NBA conference final appearance team with 24. LeBron has reached the NBA finals 11 times, tying him with Derek Fisher for the second-most appearances in league history.

Though Bill Russell and Sam Jones have the highest number of NBA Finals appearances with 12 and 11, they did not play much in the series barring injury or selection, so neither made the list.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 13

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the most appearances in the Conference Finals at 13 times. Kareem has reached the NBA Finals 10 times out of 13 conference finals.

Besides, he has won six NBA championship titles, one with the Milwaukee Bucks (1971) and five with the Lakers, the first in 1980 and the last in 1988, with three in between.

K. Abdul-Jabbar played for the Bucks and Lakers in NBA
Source : facebook

During his 20 seasons in NBA, Kareem played 65 games in the conference finals, and he averaged an impressive 24.4 points per game (PPG), 10.4 rebounds per game (RPG), and 3.2 assists per game (APG).

Abdul-Jabbar was also incredibly efficient from the field, shooting at a respectable 53.8% field goal percentage (FG%). He made a total of 1,588 field goals on 2,944 attempts.

In addition to his 10.4 RPG, the two times NBA Finals MVP also registered an impressive 209 offensive rebounds and 466 defensive rebounds.

2. LeBron James - 11

LeBron James has 11 conference finals appearances and 10 NBA championship appearances. James has clinched four NBA championships so far in his career.

Throughout his 11 conference finals appearances, James has averaged 29.4 points per game, 8.6 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game. He has also shown versatility on the court, with 1.1 blocks and 1.6 steals per game.

James with the Lakers in March 2022
Source : instagram

In addition to his impressive all-around game, LeBron James has been a reliable scorer, exhibiting an outstanding FG of 51.5% and showcasing his long-range proficiency by shooting at a commendable rate of 34.5% from beyond the three-point line.

The 38-year-old has been dominating NBA for over the past decade, with his first Larry O'Brien Championship trophy with the  Miami Heat in 2012. From 2011 to 2018, James has been to eight consecutive NBA Finals, winning the title in 2013 and 2016.

LeBron also won the NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020, making his total tally to four.

3. Derek Fisher - 11

Five times NBA champion Derek Fisher has played in 11 conference finals. Out of 11, Fisher advanced to the NBA finals on 8 occasions.

He was a key role player for multiple championship-winning teams during his NBA career, winning a three-peat with the Los Angeles Lakers during the early 2000s and again winning back-to-back in 2009 and 2010 with the Lakers.

Fisher all smile with Kobe after winning the NBA championship
Source : twitter

Over the course of those 62 conference finals games, Fisher averaged 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 39.6% from the field. He also scored 489 points, 143 rebounds, and made 145 assists.

Fisher's ability to hit timely shots, play solid defense, and provide leadership on the court were all invaluable assets to his teams, earning him stature as one of the most steadfast role players in the history of the NBA.

4. Magic Johnson - 10

Magic Johnson is a legendary player in NBA history who played in a total of 10 conference finals during his career.

Known for his incredible playmaking ability, Johnson was a triple-double machine, and his performances in the conference finals were no exception. He is ranked fifth on the list with the most NBA finals appearances by player, having featured nine times out of ten appearances in the conference finals.

M. Johnson in the Lakers golden jersey in the 90s
Source : pinterest

In those 10 series, Johnson played 52 individual games, averaged 18.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and a staggering 13.2 assists per game while shooting 49.8% from the field. Besides, he scored 956 points and provided 686 assists and 411 rebounds.

Johnson's size, athleticism, and basketball IQ allowed him to prevail on both ends of the court, and his performances in the conference finals helped steer the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships.

5. Tim Duncan - 9

Tim Duncan is one of the most adorned power forwards in NBA history who has played in nine conference finals.

During his 19-year illustrious career with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan claimed five NBA championships out of six NBA Finals appearances.

Furthermore, his conference finals stats boasts an average of 21.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists while shooting 49.8% from the field per game.

Tim Duncan after being named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1998
Source : reddit

His capability to score from inside and outside, his perseverance on the boards, and his ability to make plays for his teammates made the 2020 Basketball Hall of Famer one of the most complete players in the game.

With three NBA Finals MVP awards and 15 All-Star selections, Duncan's legacy as one of the greatest players ever is firmly cemented in NBA history.

6. Shaquille O'Neal - 9

Shaquille O'Neal has played in a total of 11 conference finals and won four NBA championships.

Over those 11 series, O'Neal averaged 25.5 ppg, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting a staggering 58.3% from the field, which made him one of the most paramount centers of his era.

Shaq before and after pictures
Source : instagram

Shaq made it through to the NBA Finals six times in 11 conference finals outings and was crowned champion four times, three with the Lakers and one with the Heat in 2006.

Known for his size, strength, and athleticism, O'Neal was a powerful force in the NBA during his illustrious career and legacy as one of the greatest players ever.

With three NBA Finals MVP awards, one NBA MVP award, and 15 All-Star selections, O'Neal's mark on the game will transcend time, leaving an indelible mark that will continue to shape and inspire future generations.

Now, The big man is an NBA insider and analyst for the TNT network as one of the funniest pundits on television.

7. Robert Horry - 9

Robert Horry is a seven times NBA champion with 9 appearances in the conference finals. 

Horry started in 47 games in the nine conference finals he played, averaging 7.9 points per game with 6.9 RPG and 2.6 APG. He had a field goal percentage of 37.2%. 

Moreover, Horry's record of having won all seven NBA Finals series he has played in is a rare accomplishment in the league, marking him as a standout player of his generation.

Horry with the LA Lakers in January 2017
Source : facebook

He played for four franchises in the league and has won the Larry O'Brien Trophy will all four teams, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and San Antonio Spurs.

Despite not being a star player, Horry's contributions to the game have not gone unnoticed, and his clutch performances in the conference finals cemented in legacy as one of the top basketball players.

8. Scottie Pippen - 9

Scottie Pippen is a Chicago Bull legend playing in a total of 9 conference finals and winning six NBA championships.

His stats in the table show that he averaged 17.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in his 52 conference finals games. With a 44.2 Field goal percentage, Scottie managed to pull 896 points and 228 assists.

Bulls legends Michael Jordan hugs Pippen during an NBA game in the 90s
Source : twitter

Besides, the seven times All-Star has played the same number of conference finals games as Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal, 52 games but in fewer caps. 

Scottie Pippen was a key member of the Chicago Bulls during their dynasty in the 1990s. Playing alongside Michael Jordan, Pippen was a versatile small forward who could impact the game in multiple ways.

Pippen's defensive prowess was also a critical factor in the Bulls' success, as he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times in his career.