7. James Worthy
Finals MVP: 1988
James Worthy spent the entirety of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, from the time he was drafted by the team with the first overall pick in 1982 until his retirement in 1994. In ’82, the Lakers became the first and only team to ever pick first overall directly after winning a championship.
Worthy enjoyed a decorated career in Los Angeles where he won three championships and was named to the All-Star and All-NBA teams a combined nine times. But his greatest career accomplishment was taking home Finals MVP in 1988.
In ’88, the Lakers took on the famous ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons in the Finals in a series that came down to a deciding Game 7. With everything on the line, Worthy put together one of the greatest single-game performances in Finals history with 36 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals.
His triple-double helped LA eke out a 108-105 win against Detroit. It was a fitting end to the series for the player nicknamed ‘Big Game James.’ The Lakers’ hard-fought victory in these Finals was validated when the Pistons went on to win the next two NBA championships in a row.
James Worthy led the Lakers in total points and points per game during the ’88 Finals, and he certainly deserved the MVP after his Game 7 performance. But Magic Johnson was still the more impactful player in this series overall. As such, Worthy’s Finals MVP sits at seventh on our list.