The record holder for the most consecutive playoff appearances in NBA history among coaches is Gregg Popovich, with 21. After taking over the head coaching job in San Antonio in 1997, he was able to lead the Spurs to the postseason from 1998 to 2018. This incredible feat was the primary reason for the Spurs’ sustained solid chances in NBA championship odds.
The Spurs will make their 21st consecutive playoff appearance, tying the Trail Blazers (1983-2003) for the 2nd longest streak in NBA history. The 76ers/Nationals clinched an NBA-record 22 straight playoff berths between 1950-71. pic.twitter.com/btA8YeKqSr
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 10, 2018
San Antonio and Popovich reached the NBA Finals six times during this stretch, winning five of them in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. Following Popovich on the list are Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, who each have 20 consecutive playoff appearances. Phil Jackson spearheaded the campaign of the Chicago Bulls from 1990 to 1998 and produced six NBA championships, including two three-peats.
After a season off from coaching in 1999, Jackson was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 to lead the duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. This produced another dominant run, resulting in another three-peat from 2000 to 2002. After that hat-trick of titles, Jackson and the Lakers appeared in eight more playoff runs and collected back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Jackson retired from coaching in 2011.
Pat Riley, another legendary coach, had 20 consecutive playoff appearances. He was hired by the Lakers in 1981 and helped the team punch a ticket to the postseason every year until 1990. They captured four titles during this period, winning in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988. Like Jackson, Riley went on a one-year hiatus from coaching before the New York Knicks hired him in 1992.
He guided the Knicks to four successive playoff berths from 1992 to 1995 and even led them to the NBA Finals in 1994. But the Houston Rockets outlasted them in the championship round to deny them a title. After four seasons in New York, Riley signed on with Miami in 1996 and immediately brought the Heat back to the postseason festivities.
Riley and the Heat shared six straight postseason runs before his streak was snapped in 2002. Despite missing out in the playoff race in 2002 and 2003, he steered the franchise to its first title in team history, as he coached the 2006 championship campaign, which included stars such as Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, and Alonzo Mourning.
On this date in history (2006) Dwyane Wade & Shaq won the 1st NBA Championship for the Miami Heat.
After losing the 1st two games to the Mavs, Wade scored 42, 36, 43 & 36 in the Heat's four straight wins. pic.twitter.com/u9QVyZk9JM
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 20, 2018
Read More: NBA Coaches With Most Playoff Wins
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