Back in the day, players used to spend most of their careers with one franchise. They favored loyalty and trying to compete on their own rather than teaming up with other stars to pursue a Championship. that just doesn’t happen anymore.
Now, if players don’t try and force their way out of their teams, struggling franchises kind of stab them in the back by trading them away after years of hard efforts and commitment. Loyalty isn’t something we commonly see in sports right now.
Even so, there’s always that one player who stands out from the rest. Guys that left a permanent blueprint in the history of their franchise. Today, we’re going to honor them by letting you know about the players with the most games played for every NBA team:
Atlanta Hawks: Dominique Wilkins – 882
Dominique Wilkins doesn’t get enough credit for his game nowadays. He was a walking bucket and one of the most electrifying, explosive, athletic dunkers the game has ever seen; even if he could never top that with an NBA Championship for his Atlanta Hawks.
Wilkins had the tough luck to coexist with some of the most dominant teams in Eastern Conference – and basketball – history, which obviously made his path to the Finals tougher. He could’ve had more games with the Hawks but spent some time overseas and also played for the Clippers, Celtics, Spurs, and Magic.
Boston Celtics: John Havlicek – 1270
John Havlicek is one of the winningest and most impactful players in basketball history. He won 8 NBA Championships and his presence could be instantly felt on both ends of the court. He was a flawless player that could dominate in no time.
Havlicek’s offensive outbursts were only topped by his intelligence and fearless defense. He was the kind of player who leaves his body on the line on every single possession, which makes his longevity and durability even far more impressive.
Brooklyn Nets: Buck Williams – 635
Most young NBA fans may not know about him but there was a time when Buck Williams was highly respected around the league for his scoring ability. He even made it to 3 All-Star Games during his 9-season tenure with the New Jersey (Brooklyn) Nets.
Williams later took his talents to the Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks, but, up to this day; he still holds the record for most games played in Spurs history, even ahead of Nets’ legends like Jason Kidd or Brook Lopez. That record is likely to be topped any day, though.
Charlotte Hornets: Dell Curry – 701
Well, where do you think that Stephen and Seth got that sweet shooting stroke from beyond the arc? Long before the two young Currys took the NBA hardwoods, their old man Dell Curry was torching opposing defenses with his three-point shooting.
Dell Curry isn’t just one of the best Sixth Men in the history of the Association but also one of the greatest shooters of all time. Needless to say, both of his sons took his quick-release, high-arc shot, and made it three or four times deadlier.
Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan – 930
The Chicago Bulls have been a struggling franchise for most of their history but they continue to be one of the most profitable and lucrative franchises in all sports. How’s that? Well, that’s all thanks to this man pictured above: Michael Jordan.
Jordan is the greatest player of all time and it’s not even close. He didn’t need to play 20 years in the league to establish all kinds of records. He put the world on notice and made the NBA a global league, as well as being the Bulls’ all-time leader in games played.
Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James – 849
LeBron James is the greatest sportsman born in the state of Ohio. He means everything to Cleveland and he’s the only reason why the Cavaliers have a Larry O’Brien trophy on their museum. He’s, by far, the best player in Cavaliers history.
James has been quite durable since entering the league in 2003. He rarely misses any playing time and, considering he spent most of his career with the Cavaliers, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him on this list. He also leads the franchise in most statistical categories.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki – 1,522
Dirk Nowitzki: The man, the legend. Dirk was always a synonym to durability and consistency. He rarely took any games off and was the heart and soul of the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise from the very second he set his foot on an NBA hardwood.
As a matter of fact, Nowitzki holds the record for most games played with a single franchise with 1,522; a record unlikely to be topped considering how much players tend to change teams nowadays. He’s also the reason why they have an NBA Championship.
Denver Nuggets: Alex English – 837
The Denver Nuggets have had their fair share of struggles throughout the course of franchise history. They’ve constantly put together solid teams with a huge shot at contention but somehow, they haven’t even made it to the Finals.
That’s why it’s unlikely that any player is ever going to top Alex English’s record of 837 appearances for the Denver Nuggets, as they’ll want to take their talents to another Western Conference powerhouse. We’ve seen that happen over and over.
Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars – 1,018
Joe Dumars is one of the greatest players we never talk about. He was the ultimate leader of the Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boys, even ahead of Isiah Thomas or Bill Laimbeer. His grit, grind, and hustle on both ends of the court was just contagious.
Dumars was one of the most dominant backcourt players in the league during his prime. Moreover, his durability and longevity was remarkable and impressive. Not many players can top the 1,000 game plateau with just one franchise.
Golden State Warriors: Chris Mullin – 807
Some younger fans may not remember him but Chris Mullin was a huge problem back in the day. This guy could score in bunches and was one of the most entertaining players to watch during his prime, and one-third of the legendary Run TMC Big 3.
Mullin was too savvy, too crafty, too quick to react. He had a smooth shot and a very nice overall offensive repertoire. However, barring injury, either Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green are likely to take his record down any time soon.
Houston Rockets: Hakeem Olajuwon – 1,177
We’re sorry, James Harden, but the Houston Rockets were, are, and will always be Hakeem Olajuwon’s team. He’s the ultimate rocket, and, in my opinion; the greatest and most impactful two-way big man in the history of basketball.
Olajuwon led the Rockets to back-to-back Championships in the mid-’90s. Moreover, he holds the NBA record for most blocked shots per his career (3,830) and set the standard for the footwork all big men need to develop to thrive in the league.
Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller – 1,389
Younger fans don’t really care about Reggie Miller’s comments in NBA broadcasts but when it came to playing, Miller was a dog. He never backed down from a challenge and always backed his relentless trash-talking on the court.
Miller was one of the first players to use the three-point shot as a reliable, valid, efficient offensive resource. He always came huge in the clutch and was a great overall player. Sadly, he was never able to lead the Pacers to an NBA Championship.
Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan – 750
DeAndre Jordan is yet another prime example of hard-work and excelling at one thing paying off. He wasn’t supposed to be a star and wasn’t even a first-round pick. Now, he’s the Los Angeles Clippers’ all-time leader in games played.
Jordan’s hustle as a defender and dominant rebounding made him one of the top-tier rim protectors in the league for years, and one-third of the ‘Lob City’ Big 3. The Clippers haven’t had many stars or good players staying on their team for a long time, though.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant – 1,346
Kobe Bryant is the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers history and it’s not even close. That says a lot considering the mythical story of a franchise that also had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, James Worthy, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and Magic Johnson.
Bryant’s determination to compete and win at all cost got him plenty of detractors but it also made him a 5-time NBA Champion. He’s the closest to Michael Jordan we’ll ever see and one of the deadliest, most dominant scorers in the history of the game.
Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley – 788
It’s crazy to think that Mike Conley has never been an All-Star. He was one of the best two-way point guards in the league during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies but didn’t post huge numbers because of their slow-paced, old-school offense.
Conley led the grit-and-grind era in Memphis. He’s one of the most beloved and respected players in franchise history, although the Grizzlies haven’t been around for that long. Hopefully, Ja Morant will take his record down one day.
Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade – 948
Dwyane Wade is a synonym to the Miami Heat. You just can’t think of the Heat without Wade’s name instantly popping out. Even when LeBron James was on the team, Wade was still the ultimate leader and the face of the franchise.
He played a major role in all 3 Championships in franchise history. Wade should have never left South Beach in the first place. This number could and should have been way higher but he spent some time with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Milwaukee Bucks: Junior Bridgeman – 711
Junior Bridgeman is a genius. Not for basketball but for business. He wasn’t much of a star and averaged roughly over 13 points per game over his career but he surely made the most of every single penny he earned during his playing days.
Bridgeman invested in Wendy’s and Chilli’s restaurants and later became a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company. He’s made billions with his investments through Bridgeman Foods, Inc and also happens to be the Bucks’ all-time leader in games played.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett – 970
The Minnesota Timberwolves will always be tied to Kevin Garnett. He’s the only player that’s been able to take that franchise to contention and is perhaps the most beloved athlete in the streets of Minneapolis. And for very, very good reason.
Garnett was never able to lead the Timberwolves to a ring but he shouldn’t be blamed. He’s one of the best two-way players we’ve ever seen. Notably, he’s now interested in buying the franchise and turn them into a top-notch organization once and for all.
New Orleans Pelicans: David West – 530
The New Orleans Pelicans are a young franchise without much history. That’s why their all-time leader in games played didn’t even need to top the 600-game mark, and, surprisingly, it’s not even Chris Paul, which would be our first guess.
David West was a beast in his prime with the Hornets. That team was actually pretty fun to watch while they stayed together, even though they could never even make it to the NBA Finals. Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram will likely take that record down.
New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing – 1,039
Back in the day, every single NBA player dreamed of playing for the New York Knicks and in the Madison Square Garden. Needless to say, that’s just not the case anymore after decades of struggles and terrible franchise management.
That’s why no one’s ever likely to top Patrick Ewing’s impressive record of 1,039 games played for the Knickerbockers. Ewing constantly put them in a position to compete but he had the bad luck to coexist with Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Gary Payton – 999
We always thought Russell Westbrook was going to retire as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s all-time leader in almost every category and important milestone. Sadly, that just wasn’t the case as he was shipped to the Houston Rockets this summer.
Thus, the greatest player in Seattle Supersonics history gets the nod here. Gary Payton is one of the 5 guards that has won the Defensive Player of the Year. He was a hound in the backcourt that could also score in bunches and excel with his playmaking.
Orlando Magic: Nick Anderson – 692
Nick Anderson was one of those players every coach would have loved to have on their team. He provided an instant offensive spark, either starting or coming off the bench. He was also an outstanding playmaker for a scoring combo guard.
Anderson spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Orlando Magic before joining the Sacramento Kings for a couple of seasons and retiring with the Memphis Grizzlies. Then again, his record is likely to be taken down any time soon.
Philadelphia 76ers: Hal Greer – 1,122
Hal Greer is one of the biggest legends of the game. He had an incredibly long career considering the era he played in, and his athleticism allowed him to be one of the most durable players in professional basketball history, as you can see right here.
Greer spent his entire 15-year career with the Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers, even leading them to an NBA Championship in 1967. He scored over 20,000 points throughout his career and made it to 10 consecutive All-Star Games.
Phoenix Suns: Alvan Adams – 988
Alvan Adams never lived up to what was expected out of him after his impressive Rookie of the Year campaign. But even if he didn’t become a perennial All-Star, he was still pretty solid and reliable for the Phoenix Suns for over a decade.
Adams spent his entire 12-year career in the desert with the Suns. He had a great feel for grabbing offensive rebounds and a sweet touch around the rim as a finisher. He made it to the All-Star game as a rookie and the Suns retired his number 33 jersey.
Portland Trail Blazers: Clyde Drexler – 867
Damian Lillard is likely going to take down Clyde Drexler for the best player in Blazer’s history and the all-time leader in games played. But, in the meantime, we have to give ‘The Glyde’ props for his remarkable career at RIP City.
There was a time when the Clyde Drexler vs. Michael Jordan was a legitimate debate. Needless to say, the GOAT shut down that conversation in little-to-no time but we still can’t take anything away from him. He even led the Blazers to the Finals in 1992.
Sacramento Kings: Sam Lacey – 888
The Sacramento Kings have been everything but a stable franchise. They’ve gone through countless relocations, rebranding, ownerships, management, you name it. But, even among all those things, Sam Lacey’s name continues to stand out.
Lacey spent the first 11 years of his professional career with the Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City – Omaha Kings, even making it to the All-Star Game in 1975. Judging by the nature of this franchise, it’s unlikely that another player will spend that much time with them.
San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan – 1,392
I don’t get it but Tim Duncan is somewhat underrated. People don’t often mention him as a top-5 player despite having multiple MVPs, multiple Finals MVPs, 5 rings, and being one of the best defenders in the history of basketball.
Duncan’s resume is flawless. Other than the Finals he lost to the Heat in 2013, he went 5-0 in the ultimate stage. He led by example, never complained, rarely got hurt, and his impact could be felt on both ends of the court. He should be in the GOAT conversation.
Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan – 675
There was a time when DeMar DeRozan was the heart and soul of the Toronto Raptors, for better or worse. That meant the team could only go as far as he took them, and more often than not, he underperformed when it mattered most.
That’s why the franchise took the tough decision to ship them to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. He’s still considered the best player in franchise history, although Kyle Lowry could take that distinction away from him any day now.
Utah Jazz: John Stockton – 1,504
John Stockton is one of the most durable athletes of all time. In fact, believe it or not, Stockton only missed 22 games throughout his 19-year career. With load management and how players take care of their bodies now, that’s just not going to happen again.
More importantly, Stockton always made his presence felt in the court. He just didn’t continue to play to pile up numbers but because he was still capable of performing at the highest level. That’s why he holds the record for most assists (15,806).
Washington Wizards: Wes Unseld – 984
The Washington Wizards haven’t been a competitive or relevant franchise in years. Now, it feels like Bradley Beal is being punished by staying loyal to that franchise, and that’s one of the reasons why players don’t want to play in struggling teams anymore.
But, back in the day, Wes Unseld helped the Bullets (Wizards) be one of the powerhouses of the league. He’s one of the few players to be named Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Finals MVP. He also led the league in rebounds once and led the franchise to their only title ever.