Top 5 NBA Players With Most Playoff Games Without Title ft James Harden

James Harden is in the league for a long time but unfortunately he now holds the record for most post-season NBA games without winning the title.

Published on Jun 19, 2024  |  11:01 PM IST |  85.8K
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James Harden

After playing in 186 postseason games, Boston Celtics center Al Horford finally broke through with his first NBA championship. Now, Los Angeles Clippers guard James Harden leads the active record in postseason games played without a title.

Brad Botkin of CBS Sports states that Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz still holds the record with 193 postseason games played without a championship, but Harden is currently ranked first among active players at 166 and fourth overall. Let's look at the top 5 players on the list. 

1. Karl Malone- 193 games

Karl Malone

Karl Malone played in the NBA for 19 years and won numerous individual awards. Two MVP honors, fourteen All-Star selections, and fourteen All-NBA selections were among them. He did not, however, succeed in raising the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Malone joined Shaq & Kobe in Los Angeles in a desperate attempt to win a ring after spending his first eighteen years with the Jazz. The Lakers made it to the finals that season, but they were defeated by the Detroit Pistons. Malone, forty, had an injury-plagued season and was unable to make the kind of impact that was anticipated of him.

2. John Stockton- 182 games


John Stockton played for the Utah Jazz for his whole nineteen-year NBA career. Playing all 82 games in the regular season over 16 years, Stockton was a true Ironman. Every season they qualified for the playoffs, but they were never able to reach the finishing line.

Throughout the 1990s, Stockton and his partner Karl Malone were among the top duos in the NBA. Like many other greats of that era, the Chicago Bulls were too strong for them. In their two finals trips—in 1997 and 1998—Stockton lost to the Bulls both times. 

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3. Sam Perkins- 167 games

Sam Perkins

In 1984, Perkins was selected by the Dallas Mavericks, and he played one Western Conference Finals with them. They lost a hard-fought seven-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers, who went on to win the championship, in 1988.

Among the five athletes on this list, Perkins holds the dubious distinction of having advanced to championship games with three different teams while never taking home a trophy. The first of these occurred in 1990 when the Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan.

Moving to Seattle did not make a difference, as he suffered the same fate in 1996 when the Bulls defeated the Supersonics. He played in his final Finals game in 2000 with the Indiana Pacers, who were unfortunate to face the Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Lakers. 

4. James Harden- 166 games

James Harden

In 2009, the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted James Harden. Since then, he has been able to accumulate numerous postseason game appearances as his team has advanced to the postseason each season. During his three-year stay with the Thunder, they made it to the 2012 NBA Finals before losing to the Miami Heat. His lone final appearance still stands.  

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5. Chris Paul- 152 games


The New Orleans Hornets selected Chris Paul in the 2005 NBA Draft. Paul has made it to the conference finals twice in his career: once with the Phoenix Suns and once with the Houston Rockets when his team made it to the NBA Finals in 2021. Paul's team had a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in that NBA Finals, but they lost the series. 

ALSO READ: NBA Insider Reveals Sixers Passed on Tyrese Haliburton for James Harden in Ben Simmons Trade

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