Buzzer beaters are one of the most exciting shots in all of basketball. There is just something amazing about someone hitting a big shot as the clock winds down to either win the game or at least tie it up. I remember being a kid playing basketball in the driveway and counting down a fake clock in my head, putting up a shot at the buzzer, watching it go through the hoop, and hearing the imaginary crowd go wild.
Buzzer beaters on any level of basketball are exciting, but some NBA players just seem to have a special skill for hitting this type of shot. These players are always good when it’s crunch time and a select few have the skills and ability to drain a big shot, sometimes from beyond half court, and it sure is fun to watch.
What is a Buzzer Beater?
A buzzer beater is basically what it sounds like, a shot that occurs as time is running out. Sometimes a player just gets the ball up in the air before the horn sounds and sometimes they drain a shot with a few tenths of a second left. The rule is that as long as the ball is out of a player’s hands and in the air before the clock runs out, the shot is good if it goes.
If you have never seen a buzzer beater before, you will want to check out this video to see some of the greatest buzzer beaters of all time. Some of these shots are just unreal. It really is a magical moment in the game of basketball when a buzzer beater happens. It can be the greatest feeling if your team wins on a buzzer beater but absolutely terrible if your team loses. Either way, it’s part of what makes basketball such a great sport to watch and play.
While a literal buzzer beater is a type of shot that happens at the very last second, it’s important to also know about clutch shots. Clutch shots can happen in the last 10-20 seconds of a game and really have a similar impact and feel to the game as a buzzer beater.
Who Has the Most Buzzer Beaters?
As you would imagine, some of the all-time great names in basketball also have the most buzzer beaters in the history of the game. These legendary players usually thrived during crunch time and so they were given the ball in the last seconds of a game over and over again to try to get their team a win. It’s a close matchup on who is the absolute best so it’s good to take a look at some of these legends.
1. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was a winner in all aspects of the game. He was a ferocious competitor who always wanted the ball in his hands on the final shot of the game. His ability to get open or just make a ridiculous shot was one of his defining characteristics that set him apart from the average player. Kobe was a crunch time specialist and his buzzer beater numbers show that.
Kobe had a total of 26 game-winning shots in his storied 20-year career. Not every single one of these was a buzzer beater, but many of them were. All of these were memorable and for Laker’s fans they defined an era for the team. Kobe was also 7-28 on shots in the last 24 seconds of games and 5-22 in the final 10 seconds. He missed a lot of game winners but he also made many of them in the playoffs and even in the finals.
2. Lebron James
Lebron James has been a player on another level during his entire basketball career. He came into the NBA at a young age and has been dominant at a level that has never happened before. He is known for his freakish athleticism and amazing dunks but he is also one of the most clutch players of all time. He sometimes gets a bad rap for not being clutch but his numbers say otherwise.
Lebron has 18 game winners and buzzer beaters over his career. But the thing is, he is still playing and will more than likely add on to that total. He is 8-20 in the final 24 seconds of a game and 6-11 in the final 10 seconds. He also has 5 buzzer beaters in the playoffs, the most of anyone all time, and is 7-15 on go ahead shots in the last 5 seconds in the playoffs.
3. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is clutch. He is a well known champion and his drive and skills on the basketball court were second to known. To this day, if you ask people who you would want to take a game-winning shot, they would say Jordan over anyone else. He just had a way of hitting big shots in big situations.
Jordan had 25 game winning shots in his NBA career with plenty of buzzer beaters and highlight dunks to go along. He was 9-18 in the final 24 seconds and 5-11 in the final 10 seconds. In the playoffs he was also a game winning machine, hitting 3 buzzer beaters and going 5-11 on go ahead shots in the last 5 seconds. Jordan is a legend, any way you look at it.
These players with the most buzzer beaters in NBA history were all well known as being greats at all levels of the game. They all had the opportunity to take the most shots with the clock running down because they were the most likely to make a much-needed shot when it mattered most. All three have left a lasting impression on basketball fans around the world.
Do you remember seeing a buzzer beater live? Who made it?