NBA Finals Perfection
by Henry Liao for philippinebasketball.ph (06/08/2011)
However, only four men accomplished the feat in six title-series appearances or more.
These are John (Hondo) Havlicek, Robert Horry, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Among the quartet, only Horry was not a superstar or a Hall of Fame type of a player.
Havlicek, a 6-5 swingman, played his entire 16-year NBA tenure (1962-78) with the Boston Celtics.
The Green?s all-time leading scorer with 26,395 points (20.8 average in 1,270 games), Havlicek reached the NBA Finals in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976 and romped away with a title each time for a perfect 8-for-8 score. The first six championships came during the Bill Russell era.
Horry was a no-frills handyman who was unbeaten in seven trips to the Finals. While he never appeared in a single NBA All-Star Game during his 16-year pro career (1992-2008), the 6-10 forward was known for his clutch three-point shots in games where they matter most ? the playoffs.
Horry suited up for four teams ? Houston, Phoenix (a brief 10-week stint in 1996-97), the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio ? and snared at least two championships each with three of them.
As a teammate of Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, Horry snared consecutive NBA titles with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995. He collected three straight crowns with the Lakers from 2000-02 while playing a supporting role to Shaquille O?Neal and Kobe Bryant. Horry added two more rings to his collection in 2005 and 2007 as part of Tim Duncan?s Spurs team.
Horry is one of only two men in NBA annals to win championships with three different franchises. The other is frontliner John Salley, another hard-hat performer who happened to be at the right place at the right time. Salley, a reserve for most of his roundball career, garnered titles with Detroit (1989/1990), Chicago (1996) and the LA Lakers (2000).
Although he only had NBA career averages of 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 1,107 regular-season games, Horry elevated his numbers in the playoffs to 7.9 ppg and 5.6 rpg and got the monicker ?Big Shot Bob? for his uncanny ability to make the three-point shot under pressure situations.
In addition to Havlicek and Horry, two others owned unblemished slates in at least six Finals, meaning they never lost in a title series during their pro careers.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the NBA?s most dominant duo during the nineties, reached the NBA Finals with the Chicago Bulls on six occasions and brought home a championship each time.