This is a picture of Kareem skyhooking a ball towards the hoop while being covered by two Celtics players. Next to the picture it says: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Finals Record

What Was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Finals Record? Pretty Great!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s finals record was 6-4 finals series. In NBA Finals games, Kareem’s teams went 29-27. He won one NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks and then added five more titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem is tied for third most NBA Finals appearances with ten. 

What Was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Finals Record? 

Kareem Abdul Jabbar made it to ten NBA Finals. His teams went 30-27 in finals games – he was injured and missed the last game of the 1980 NBA Finals so he is only credited with winning 29 finals games. The game Kareem missed was the one in which Magic Johnson famously filled in for him at center and helped the Lakers to win the 1980 NBA title. 

Overall, Jabbar’s teams were 6-4 in NBA Finals series. You can see the playoff results for every year of Kareem’s career below. 

69-70Lost East Finals1-4Knicks
70-71Won NBA Finals4-0Baltimore Bullets
71-72Lost West Finals2-4LA Lakers
72-73Lost West Semis2-4Golden State Warriors
73-74Lost NBA Finals3-4Boston Celtics
74-75Did Not Make PlayoffsN/AFinished last
in Midwest
75-76*Did Not Make Playoffs1-2Finished 4th
in Pacific
76-77Lost West Finals0-4Portland Trailblazers
77-78Lost 1st Round1-2Seattle SuperSonics
78-79Lost West Semis1-4Seattle SuperSonics
79-80Won NBA Finals4-2Philadelphia 76ers
80-81Lost 1st Round1-2Houston Rockets
81-82Won NBA Finals4-2Philadelphia 76ers
82-83Lost NBA Finals0-4Philadelphia 76ers
83-84Lost NBA Finals3-4Boston Celtics
84-85Won NBA Finals4-2Boston Celtics
85-86Lost West Finals2-4Houston Rockets
86-87Won NBA Finals4-2Boston Celtics
87-88Won NBA Finals4-3Detroit Pistons
88-89Lost NBA Finals0-4Detroit Pistons

* Kareem was traded to the Lakers for the start of the ‘75-’76 season. 

Who Did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Beat in the NBA Finals? 

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Kareem defeated six teams in the NBA Finals. One is no longer a team, as the Baltimore Bullets have since moved to Washington and eventually changed their name to the Wizards – but it is the same franchise. 

Kareem defeated both the Celtics and Sixers twice in his Lakers years and added a victory over the Detroit Pistons as well. 

  • In 1971, Kareem, then Lew Alcindor, and his Milwaukee Bucks defeated the since-moved Baltimore Bullets. The Bullets feature Jack Marin, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Wes Unseld among others. 
  • In 1980 Kareem, Magic and the Lakers defeated a 76ers team featuring Julius Erving and Mo Cheeks
  • In 1982 the Lakers again beat the 76ers. It was mostly the same Sixers team with Dr. J, Darryl Dawkins and Mo Cheeks but they also now had Andrew Toney, who was their leading scorer in the Finals. 
  • In 1985 Kareem and the Lakers beat Larry Legend and the Boston Celtics. Those Celtics featured a fierce frontcourt including two other Hall of Famers besides Bird: Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale.
  • In 1987, Kareem’s Lakers beat Bird & the Celtics again.  
  • In 1988, the man they called “Murdock” and his Lakers defeated the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons featuring Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman and others. 

Who Did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lose To In the NBA Finals? 

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Kareem lost four NBA Finals series. 

  • In 1974 Kareem and a now-35-year-old Big O lost to the Boston Celtics. That Celtics team starred John “Hondo” Havlicek, Dave Cowens and JoJo White. 
  • In 1983 Kareem and his Lakers lost to a team they had beaten twice before in the Finals: the 76ers. Those Sixers were an all-time great team that still had Dr. J, Andrew Toney and Mo Cheeks but had added Moses Malone as well. 
  • In 1984 the Lakers got the worst of it in the first of three matchups vs Larry Bird and the Celtics. 
  • In 1989 Kareem and the Lakers lost their rematch with the Bad Boy Pistons. 

How Many Finals MVPs Does Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Win?

Kareem won two NBA Finals MVPs in his six NBA championship seasons.

  • In 1971 Kareem won his first Finals MVP. Winning a title alongside Oscar “Big O” Robertson, Cap averaged 27 points and nearly 19 boards per game in the four game sweep of the Bullets. 
  • In the Lakers 1985 Championship, Kareem  won another Finals MVP. He scored nearly 26 per game while grabbing 9 boards and dishing out 5 assists during the Finals. 

In the Lakers other championships, Magic Johnson and James Worthy won the Finals MVP award: 

  • In 1980 Magic won Finals MVP when he scored 21 points, dished out 9 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds per game. 
  • In 1982 Magic again won Finals MVP, this time scoring 16 points, grabbing 11 boards and dishing out 8 assists per game.
  • In 1987 Magic dominated the Finals and won MVP. He scored 26 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 13 assists per game. 
  • In 1988, Big Game James Worthy won Finals MVP for the Lakers in their last title of the Showtime Era. 

How Does Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Finals Record Compare to Other Great NBA Players?

Kareem’s 6-4 Finals record puts him in the middle of the pack on the list below of all-time NBA greats. As you can see, very few players won more finals than Kareem did. But few players lost more than he did either!

It is not a surprise that he and Magic finished so closely on this list. The teammates were consistent winners who faced high level opponents like Larry Bird in the Finals. They won some but they also lost some.

PlayerNBA Finals Record
John Havlicek8-0
Michael Jordan6-0
Bill Russell11-1
Tim Duncan5-1
Kobe Bryant5-2
Steph Curry4-2
Shaquille O’Neal4-2
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar6-4
Magic Johnson5-4
Larry Bird3-2
Hakeem Olajuwon2-1
Kevin Durant2-2
LeBron James4-6
Wilt Chamberlain2-4
Jerry West1-8
Elgin Baylor0-7

Summary: Kareem Adbul-Jabbar’s Finals Record

Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s finals record was 6-4 in series and 29-27 in games. Kareem won six titles: five with the Showtime Lakers and one alongside the Big O on the Milwaukee Bucks. He won one finals MVP for the Lakers in 1985 and another for the Bucks in his only title with the team in 1971. 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Adapted from “File:Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar Lipofsky.jpg” by copyright Steve lipofsky is marked with CC BY 3.0.

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