Most Clutch NBA Players of All Time

SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES:  Michael Jordan (L) of the Chicago Bulls goes to the basket past Shandon Anderson of the Utah Jazz 14 June during game six of the NBA Finals at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The Bulls lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.        AFP PHOTO/Mike NELSON (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan (L) of the Chicago Bulls goes to th | MIKE NELSON/Getty Images

When a player is described as clutch, it generally means they’re reliable in game-winning situations, but with so many NBA players coming through in big moments, how can you determine the best of the best?

Through a combination of singular plays forever embedded in history and clutch stat analysis (most of which is between 2000 and present day), here are the top seven clutch players in NBA history.

7. Jerry West

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 06: Jerry West looks on during the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 06, 2019 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

If your nickname is Mr. Clutch, you’re going to be on this list. The Logo may only have one NBA title, but he’s been reliable time and time again, even hitting a 60-foot buzzer beater to tie Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Knicks. It’s a shame that West didn’t have a three-point line during his playing career, because he’d definitely skyrocket up the all-time points rankings if he did.

6. Reggie Miller

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 7:  Reggie Miller speaks during the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 7, 2012 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Before Ray Allen and Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller was undoubtedly the greatest shooter of all time. Miller ripped the Knicks’ hearts right out of their chest by scoring eight points in nine seconds in 1995 and hitting a game winner over Michael Jordan in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals. Miller also has the most three-point field goals in clutch situations from 1997-2005.

5. Magic Johnson

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 6:  US Earvin "Magic" Johnson grabs a rebound in front of Lithuanian Gintaras Einikis, 06 August 1992, during their semi-final match at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. The US "Dream Team" beat Lithuania 127-76 and went on to play against Croatia in the final.  Magic won three MVP awards, made All-NBA first team from 1983-1991, played in twelve All-Star games, was named finals MVP on three separate occasions, won five NBA Championships in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988, and won the gold medal as part of the original "Dream Team".  Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan later, were responsible for basketball being the game that it is today.  (Photo credit should read DIMITRI MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
US Earvin "Magic" Johnson grabs a rebound in front | DIMITRI MESSINIS/Getty Images

In one of the most specific scenarios of “clutch”, Magic Johnson, a point guard, played center for the Lakers in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down with an ankle injury the game before. Magic would put up 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists to clinch the championship and Finals MVP as a rookie. Magic also had the iconic sky hook game-winner against the Celtics in the 1987 Finals.

4. LeBron James

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

LeBron’s been called LeChoke, largely due to a dismal 2011 Finals performance,  but James has had his fair of game winners. The King is 6-for-13 (46%) with four buzzer-beaters in go-ahead shots with five seconds or less remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime. This stat made headlines last year, bringing up the question if LeBron is more clutch than Michael Jordan -- we don’t think so, but it proves that James is far from a choker.

3. Larry Bird

Forward Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics sits on the bench during a game.
Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

Sometimes highlight tapes speak for themselves, and the amount of difficult shots Larry Bird has hit over the course of his career is absolutely absurd. Unfortunately for Bird, clutch stats are more of a recent development and don’t go past the mid-to-late 90s, but his spot in history as one of the most clutch players of all time is secure with the footage. Trust your eyes -- the man was unbelievable.

2. Kobe Bryant

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 30:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on December 30, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Lakers defeat the Celtics 112-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

#MambaMentality is a term used to describe cold-bloodedness and the will to win, and Kobe Bryant coined it through his tremendous clutch resume. In shots to tie or take the lead with under two minutes left, Bryant has been a mainstay in the Top-10 for amount of field goals made in that situation, leading the league in 2003-04, 2006-07, 2009-10, and 2011-12.

1. Michael Jordan

(FILES) In this 14 June 1998 file photo, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls celebrates after winning game six of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The win gave the Bulls their sixth NBA championship. It was reported by Fox Sports 31 March 1999 that Jordan, who announced his retirement 13 January 1999, is contemplating playing next season for the Charlotte Hornets, the National Basketball Association club in which Jordan is considering purchasing a 50 percent share. AFP PHOTO/FILES/Robert SULLIVAN (Photo by ROBERT SULLIVAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s no surprise that the GOAT is also the most clutch player in NBA history. In his entire basketball career, Jordan had 23 total game winners, including a shot to win the NCAA championship with UNC in 1982, The Shot against the Cavaliers in 1989 and a jumper to secure his sixth championship against the Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals. Jordan has made his career on being a winner and being clutch.