May 29, 2018

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 8 comments

Going back to the 1999 NBA Finals, there have been 20 NBA Finals (including this one).

All of them have had at least one of these players:

  • LeBron James
  • Tim Duncan
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Shaquille O'Neal

2018 - LeBron James
2017 - LeBron James
2016 - LeBron James
2015 - LeBron James
2014 - LeBron James / Tim Duncan
2013 - LeBron James / Tim Duncan
2012 - LeBron James
2011 - LeBron James
2010 - Kobe Bryant
2009 - Kobe Bryant
2008 - Kobe Bryant
2007 - LeBron James / Tim Duncan
2006 - Shaquille O'Neal
2005 - Tim Duncan
2004 - Shaquille O'Neal / Kobe Bryant
2003 - Tim Duncan
2002 - Shaquille O'Neal / Kobe Bryant
2001 - Shaquille O'Neal / Kobe Bryant
2000 - Shaquille O'Neal / Kobe Bryant
1999 - Tim Duncan

If you include Michael Jordan in that list, you can take it all the way back to 1991 and only find one NBA Finals without those 5 players (James/Duncan/Bryant/O'Neal/Jordan):

1998 - Michael Jordan
1997 - Michael Jordan
1996 - Michael Jordan
1995 - Shaquille O'Neal
1994 - Someone else
1993 - Michael Jordan
1992 - Michael Jordan
1991 - Michael Jordan

That's 27 of 28 NBA Finals with at least one of those 5 players.

posted by grum@work at 11:12 AM on May 29

Great find.

It's amazing that the NBA gets a big name in every Finals. What other sports could come even close to saying that?

The 1994 Finals between the Rockets and Knicks was a seven-game thriller that featured Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon and Pat Riley, so it wasn't without star power either.

posted by rcade at 11:44 AM on May 29

There aren't too many team sports that have that few players (5) involved in the game at once.

Hockey has 6 players on the ice at once, but the one player that is on the ice ALL the time virtually no impact on the offense. The rotation of players throughout the game is MUCH higher than in basketball, and the top non-goalies only play less than 50% of the game.

The same with baseball, as the pitcher is the most important single player in the game, but has a minuscule effect on the offense for his team (even in the World Series in NL parks). Otherwise, there are 8 other players involved in the offense and defense.

Football relies on the quarterback almost entirely for its offense, but he has zero effect on defense. And with dozens of other players participating in the game, his influence is also reduced.

Soccer has the opportunity of single players dominating a game, but again they are one of 11 on the field at a time...

posted by grum@work at 12:11 PM on May 29

For the 80's the list would be Magic, Bird, and Isiah with 1 year where Dr.J and Moses stole the show ("Fo,Fo, and Fo").

posted by cixelsyd at 12:16 PM on May 29

The 1980s/90s NHL had a similar (shorter) run:

1994 - Messier
1993 - Roy
1992 - Lemieux
1991 - Lemieux
1990 - Messier
1989 - Roy
1988 - Messier
1987 - Messier
1986 - Roy
1985 - Messier
1984 - Messier
1983 - Messier

Twelve consecutive Stanley Cup finals had one of three players in it: Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, or Patrick Roy.

If you extend it to 2003:

2003 - Brodeur
2002 - Hull, Yzerman
2001 - Roy, Brodeur
2000 - Brodeur, Hull
1999 - Hull
1998 - Yzerman
1997 - Yzerman
1996 - Roy
1995 - Brodeur, Yzerman

That would mean 21 Stanley Cup finals had either Messier, Lemieux, Roy, Brodeur, Hull, or Yzerman in them.

posted by grum@work at 12:30 PM on May 29

Roseanne Barr is now available should Vanbiesbrouck need a stereo typist on his office staff at USA Hockey.

posted by beaverboard at 02:10 PM on May 29

I've been informed online that if I swap out Bryan Trottier for Mario Lemieux, my original run is even longer:

1994 - Messier
1993 - Roy
1992 - Trottier
1991 - Trottier
1990 - Messier
1989 - Roy
1988 - Messier
1987 - Messier
1986 - Roy
1985 - Messier
1984 - Messier
1983 - Messier, Trottier
1982 - Trottier
1981 - Trottier
1980 - Trottier

15 seasons of either Messier, Roy, or Trottier in the Stanley Cup finals.

posted by grum@work at 03:49 PM on May 29

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