how many game winners does larry bird have

Who’s the greatest closer in basketball history? We dug deep into the archives to find out who has made the most decisive shots at the buzzer.

NBA 2023-24 Conference Standings

Eastern W L PCT GB
1 Celtics Celtics 60 16 .789
2 Bucks Bucks 47 29 .618 13.0
3 Cavaliers Cavaliers 46 31 .597 14.5
4 Magic Magic 45 31 .592 15.0
5 Knicks Knicks 45 31 .592 15.0
6 Pacers Pacers 43 34 .558 17.5
Western W L PCT GB
1 Timberwolves Timberwolves 53 23 .697
2 Nuggets Nuggets 53 24 .688 0.5
3 Thunder Thunder 52 24 .684 1.0
4 Clippers Clippers 48 28 .632 5.0
5 Mavericks Mavericks 46 30 .605 7.0
6 Pelicans Pelicans 45 31 .592 8.0

Share All sharing options for: For the Win! … The NBA’s All-Time Leaders in Game-Winning Buzzer-Beaters

However, NBA fans have to make do with conjecture, while baseball fans can tell you that Jim Thome leads MLB all-time in walk-off home runs (13). Until now.

I have compiled a database of every buzzer-beating, game-winning basket in NBA history (including the BAA years, from 1946-47 to 1948-49, since those are included as part of “official” NBA history; ABA years, however, are not included) over at, one of the websites for which I am the managing stathead. There have been 772 such shots, which I’m defining as shots (a) taken with the shooter’s team trailing or tied and (b) that won the game while leaving no time left on the clock. (For more on the specifics of the methodology, please see this blog post.) From that, we’re able to determine the NBA’s all-time leaders in buzzer-beaters. We’ll start with 13 players who are tied for 11th most all time with four buzzer-beaters apiece:

Position: GSeasons: 13 (1947-50, 1952-62)Teams: Knicks, Celtics

Braun won four games for the Knicks at the horn between 1950 and 1954. At the time, game recaps referred to two of the four shots as “one-handers,” and the only one with a distance specified was a 35-foot set shot he made following an inbounds pass from Ernie Vandeweghe, a medical student at the time and the father of future NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, against the St. Louis Bombers in 1950. In addition to being the first NBA player to hit three (1953) and four (1954), Braun was also the first to reach two buzzer-beaters in his career (1950).

Position: Hawks
Seasons: 10 (1956–1966; played three more seasons in the ABA)

Li’l Abner, as Hagan was called, would be the first of many to equal Braun’s record. Perhaps most well-known for being one of the two players the Celtics traded to St. Hagan, who traded Louis for Bill Russell, had a Hall of Fame career and assisted the Hawks in defeating the Celtics to win the 1958 NBA championship. In addition to being his first buzzer-beater in his rookie season, it was also the first in NBA playoff history. In order to force a Game 7 with the Celtics, Hagan tipped in Bob Pettit’s miss to win Game 6 of the 1957 NBA Finals. I don’t need to tell you that Hagan and the Hawks lost because it was unfortunate that it was a Game 7 against Bill Russell.

Position: GSeasons: 14 (1960-74)Team: Lakers

No surprise to see Mr. Clutch on this list. West became the first player to have multiple playoff buzzer-beaters. In fact, the Logo had half of the four playoff buzzer-beaters in league history at the end of the 1963 playoffs.

The fact that West created the opportunities for his two postseason buzzer-beaters is one of their best qualities. Both times, when Hagan scored in the 1963 Western Division Finals and Sam Jones inbounding to Bob Cousy in the 1962 NBA Finals, he stole the ball from a Hall of Famer and scored at the buzzer to win the game.

Strangely, West’s most famous shot from the 1970 Finals does not apply here because it sent the game into overtime rather than winning it. Additionally, West is renowned for winning the 1972 All-Star Game at the buzzer, but that victory is also not relevant here.

Position: GSeasons: 13 (1975-88)Teams: 76ers, Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers, Rockets

Unsurprisingly, all four of the buzzer-beaters made by the Brownsville Bomber were unassisted, with three of them coming from heights exceeding twenty feet. Two came after Free had pulled down offensive rebounds, which Free had done, on average, just once. 1 times a game.

One that didn’t make the list was the free buzzer-beater that I enjoyed the most. He dunked the ball in the last seconds of a decided game on December 21, 1977, against the Suns, to win free hamburgers for all those present. So it’s settled: The “B. ” stands for “Burgers. ”.

Position: FSeasons: 11 (1977-87, 1988-89)Teams: Bullets, Warriors, SuperSonics

Despite his productivity, Ballard is the first major surprise to be added to the four-buzzer-beater club. In contrast to Free, he was never even an All-Star, and he is not a Hall of Famer. He did, however, win four games at the buzzer between 1980 and 1985. Ballard was the first player to have four buzzer-beaters from more than 20 feet, and his game-winning shots came from an average of almost 23 feet (something that would become more common as the 3-point shot gained prominence) Despite only making 93 3-pointers in his career, he became the first player in the NBA to hit two buzzer-beating threes.

Position: FSeasons: 13 (1979-92)Team: Celtics

Four buzzer beaters doesn’t seem like much compared to Larry Legend, but these were some really exceptional ones. Bird’s buzzer-beaters have all come in games where the Celtics were behind at the time of the attempt. No one else had more than two of these shots prior to Bird.

But perhaps the most astounding thing about Bird’s buzzer-beaters is that they came in games that he dominated. He averaged 41.3 points in these four games: 38 at Phoenix in 1983, 48 vs. Portland in 1985, 32 vs. Detroit two days later, and 47 at Washington in 1987. No other player has multiple 45-plus-point games with a buzzer-beater. And no other player has ever won consecutive games at the buzzer like Bird did on January 27 and 29, 1985. Legendary.

Position: CSeasons: 14 (1980-94)Teams: Cavaliers, Pistons

It’s unlikely that buckets come to mind when you think of Laimbeer. However, he had a very delicate shooting stroke to go along with his rough game. Lambo became the first center to score four or more buzzer-beaters, all of which came from a distance of more than ten feet. On April 10, 1984, he made his first buzzer-beater of his career against the Pacers from 15 feet. Exactly a year later, against the Pacers, he made his third career buzzer-beater from almost the same position.

Position: GSeasons: 19 (1984-2003)Team: Jazz

The NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals, Stockton was also one of the deadliest shooters in NBA history (his 60.8 true shooting percentage is 15th best in NBA history). Stockton’s first career buzzer-beater came in 1989, when he took an inbounds pass 55 feet in 3.6 seconds and finished a layup over Michael Jordan (!).

His fourth and final career buzzer-beater was a 3-pointer over another Hall of Famer from the 1984 draft class: Charles Barkley. That one sent Stockton’s Jazz to the 1997 NBA Finals. And since you’re probably curious: Stockton’s pick-and-roll partner Karl Malone had just one buzzer-beater in his career. It was not assisted by Stockton, but it was a tip-in of a Stockton miss in 1985 (the Mailman’s 15th career game played).

Position: FSeasons: 13 (1986-96, 1997-00)Teams: Pacers, Timberwolves, Spurs, Hornets, SuperSonics

The four buzzer-beaters for the Rifleman came out in 1986, 1989, 1995, and 2000, a span of fourteen years. The first two were with the Pacers, where he led the team in scoring for multiple seasons prior to Reggie Miller’s rise to prominence. The third was in his spot on the Spurs’ instant offensive bench prior to Tim Duncan. The fourth was perhaps the most interesting. Person, who was then in his final NBA season, had only played three minutes for the Sonics against the Nets (not attempting a single shot) when he was brought back into a tie game with one. 7 seconds left. Nets star Stephon Marbury saw Person’s 29-footer coming. Chuck Person was only included in the game to attempt that shot. It’s no secret. He remarked following the game, “It’s like when it rains, you are going to get wet.” Person is one of just four players in the game to score a buzzer-beater on their single attempt.

Most 3-Point Buzzer-Beaters in NBA History

Player Shots
Player Shots
Vince Carter 5
Gilbert Arenas 3
Kobe Bryant 3
Kevin Durant 3
Moochie Norris 3
Mo Williams 3

His buzzer-beaters have also averaged 28. 8 feet away, three of which are from a height of more than 30 feet


Who has most game winning shots in NBA history?

Michael Jordan Leads the List. Number one on the list of most game-winners is Michael Jordan. He is considered by many as the greatest basketball player of all time—Jordan, who is a six-time NBA champion, piled up nine game-winners during his entire 15-year career.

How many games has Larry Bird won?

Larry Bird had 660 wins in his career.

Who has the most buzzer-beaters in playoff history?

No player in NBA Playoffs history has more game-winning buzzer-beaters than LeBron James, who has five to his name. Jordan ranks second with three, while Damian Lillard, Paul Pierce and Jo Jo White are all tied for third with two.

How many game winners does Tim Duncan have?

Tim Duncan
Gilbert Arenas
Michael Redd
Tracy McGrady