Some players have a more competitive nature than others. It’s just their personality, and most of the time, it’s not something they can actually change, as that’s just part of their nature and will always be like that.
While some players thrive when the rock is hot and the game is on the line, others tend to disappear or try to step up but wind up making huge mistakes down the line and hurting their teams.
Over the course of the years, we’ve seen some players completely dominate in crunch time, either to seal a W or to pull off a comeback and make fans go crazy. Today, we’re going to talk about those kind of players, the ones that have ice on their veins and always step up to take that last second shot.
Honorable Mention: Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki
10. Damian Lillard
Even though he hasn’t been around the league for much time, Damian Lillard has already established himself as one of the most consistent, versatile and dominant scorers of the last couple of years.
Everybody knows that they can always count on Dame delivering in Lillard Time when the clock is running down, and he’s knocked down some really clutch shots so far, like the one that sent the Rockets home in the playoffs a couple of years ago.
9. Robert Horry
Robert Horry wasn’t known for being the deadliest scorer in the league, and he could even go 0/5 from the field on a given night, as he wasn’t really there to actually be the team’s go-to-guy in the offensive end of the floor.
Even though, he found himself in dozens of situations where he had a wide open shot to either tie or win the game when it mattered the most and always seized that chance. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for his clutch shot in game 4, the Lakers would’ve never won their third title in a row. That’s why he’ll always be known as Big Shot Bob.
8. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller made a career out of knocking down shots from beyond the arc, and even though he was never able to successfully lead the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs, he always came huge during the clutch
If you don’t take our word for it, just ask any Knicks fan you know. Miller thrived off making the final shot, having the last word and knocking down a pull up jumper as the buzzer beater. Scoring 8 points in under 9 seconds is no easy thing to do.
7. Ray Allen
Most young fans must think Ray Allen was just a three-point shooter, but he was one of the most aggressive drivers in the league during his prime before mastering the art of being a consistent off-ball scorer.
Allen bailed the Boston Celtics out in game 4 of the 2008 Finals against the Lakers, let alone the fact that he pretty much saved LeBron James’ legacy by tying a huge shot against the Spurs in the Finals in 2013.
6. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving hasn’t been around the league for long, but he’s already won pretty much every single accolade except for the MVP, thanks to his explosive offensive game and his out of earth handles.
Also, Kyrie is one of the league’s leader in 4th quarter scoring since entering the league, and he established himself as the clutchest guy on his team when he hit that Championship-clinching shot over Steph Curry a couple of years ago.
5. Jerry West
Jerry West was considered to be the greatest shooting guard in the history of the game back in the day, mostly because of his unstoppable scoring outbursts, especially during the playoffs. Sadly, he was only able to win a Championship, mostly due to Bill Russell’s dominance.
And, if you’re known for being “Mr. Clutch”, you know there’s more than it than just a nickname. As a matter of fact, West was so freaking dominant in the playoffs, that he even became the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP despite being on the losing team.
4. Magic Johnson
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is the greatest point guard in the history of the game. He orchestrated the Showtime Lakers offense and had a huge impact on both sides of the hardwood throughout his entire career.
Moreover, Magic always came huge when the game was going down to the wire, exceeding all expectations since his rookie season when he stepped up at center, all the way to the time where he beat the Celtics in game 4 of the Finals with a skyhook over Kevin McHale.
3. Larry Bird
Larry Bird was so incredibly skilled, that it bothers me that we don’t even talk about him anymore. His shot was pretty unorthodox, and he wasn’t the most athletic guy you’ll find, but even so, he was just money from everywhere on the court.
Larry Legend became a legend precisely thanks to his clutchness and ability to hit crazy shots as the clock ran down. He was so confident on his skills, that he actually came out of huddles to tell his defender exactly the play that the team was going to run, yet he always hit the game-winning shot.
2. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, AKA the Black Mamba, always thrived when it mattered the most, as he always wanted to let everybody in the building know that he wanted to win more than other guys, and that was willing to do everything to do it.
His mindset is one of the things that made him so great, especially in crunch time, when he just hit circus shot after circus shot. He clinched division titles with three-pointers, single-handedly led a 15 point comeback, and hit countless buzzer beaters throughout his career.
1. Michael Jordan
And obviously, the clutchest player of all times has to be the greatest player of all times, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. There will never be a guy this dominant in both ends of the floor, there will never be another Royal Airness.
Naturally, his signature clutch shot came in Game 6 of the Finals against the Utah Jazz, when he won his 6th and last Championship. Nonetheless, throughout his entire career, Jordan hit 25 game-winning shots. That’s just incredibly ridiculous.