NBA

The NBA’s Iron Men: 17 NBA Players with the Longest Consecutive Games Played Streak

The NBA highlights flashy dunks, deep three-pointers, and game-winning shots, and for good reason. One of the many accomplishments that is underrated in both the NBA and in society as a whole is the less glamorous aspect of greatness: consistency and durability. In the world of sports, the term “Iron Man” signifies a player who have shown remarkable endurance and consistency by playing in an extraordinary number of consecutive games in a row.

The NBA’s Iron Men: Longest Game Streaks

The “Iron Man” streak in the NBA marks the consecutive games played by players without missing any due to injury, illness or with some players – suspensions.  No DNPs. No DNP-Injured. Definitely no DNP-CDs. While we did a lot of research for this piece, there’s surprisingly not a lot of official consecutive games played information out there just sickos like us doing their own research, publishing it on the interwebs; plugging the few holes that statmuse and basketball reference doesn’t cover.

So while this list focuses on the resilience of a dozen NBA players who have the longest Iron Man streaks in NBA history, we’re sure the list is missing some players. If you know of any, please let us know.

NBA's Iron Man
# Player Streak Seasons
1 A.C. Green 1192 1986-2001
2 Randy Smith 906 1972-1983
3 Johnny “Red” Kerr 844 1954-1965
4 Michael Cage 736 1988-1998
5 Dolph Schayes 706 1952-1959
6 Harry Gallatin 682 1952-1958
7 Artis Gilmore 670 1971-1979
8 Andre Miller 632 2003-2010
9 John Stockton 609 1990-1997
10 Derek Fisher 537 2005-2011
11 Tayshaun Prince 496 2003-2009
12 Michael Finley 490 1996-2001
13 Mikal Bridges 466 2018-present
14 Tristan Thompson 447 2011-2016
15 Karl Malone 443 1996-2002
16 John Stockton 418 1984-1989
17 Dwight Howard 351 2004-2010

Even with dedicated trainers, modern technology, ice baths, THC and exercise, today’s players aren’t likely to rack up streaks of consecutive games played as their predecessors did. With load management, tanking, and an abundance of caution, even the toughest, most-durable players won’t hit the 82 game mark as most did in the 1980’s. In fact, in 2011 only 31 players played all 82 games. Eleven years later only five players participated in all of their team’s scheduled games in 2021-22.

NBA’s Longest Streaks in Games Played

What we’re positive of is the first several players on this list and that no on is likely ever to surpass A.C. Green‘s record. Green is the epitome of an NBA Iron Man, holding the record for the most consecutive games played — an astonishing 1,192 from 1986 to 2001. Green’s streak is remarkable, not just for its length but for occurring during a physically grueling era of basketball. He played major minutes for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, maintaining top physical condition and showcasing exceptional mental resilience.

  • Randy Smith‘s streak of 906 consecutive games, from 1972 to 1983, is a testament to his endurance and agility. Smith, playing for teams like the Buffalo Braves and the San Diego Clippers, displayed an exceptional level of fitness and determination, rarely showing signs of fatigue despite the demanding schedule.
  • John Stockton, the legendary Utah Jazz point guard, had two extraordinary streaks of game played without missing one. He had one streak end of 418 games end in his sixth season then outdid himself with a stretch of 609 games played before a knee injury sidelined him for several weeks in 1997. Stockton’s toughness was never questioned and his ability to maintain his health, coupled with his extraordinary skill set made him a consistent and reliable NBA all-star throughout his career with the Utah Jazz.
  • Johnny “Red” Kerr showcased his resilience by playing 844 consecutive games from 1954 to 1965. His streak, achieved in the early days of the NBA with the Syracuse Nationals and Philadelphia 76ers, stands as a symbol of endurance in a much more physically challenging era.
  • Michael Cage Former NBA All Star and rebounding maestro Cage missed a game due to strained left hamstring vs. the Charlotte Hornets when he played for the New Jersey Nets. That injury ended an unreal consecutive games streak at 736.
  • Andre Miller played 82 games season 9 times in his decorated 14 year career. During that stretch he played in 632 consecutive games. Miller would have had many more games played, but was suspended for a game when he retaliated to perpetual cheap shot artist Blake Griffin pushed him twice without a call.

A contract dispute put a stop to Derek Fisher’s streak of 537 consecutive games played from 2005 to 2011.  A sore left hamstring ended Michael Finley’s impressive streak of 490 games from 1996 to 2001. Tayshaun Prince played in 496 consecutive games for the Detroit Pistons from 2003 to 2009 before going out with a back injury. Tristan Thompson had his streak of 447 straight games played without a miss ended with a thumb injury. Dwight Howard‘s Iron Man streak of 351 games from 2004 to 2010 is notable, especially for a center known for his physical play in the post.

These players, with their impressive Iron Man streaks, exemplify not just skill but also the often overlooked qualities of durability and resilience in the high-stakes world of the NBA. Their ability to stay on the court, game after game, season after season, marks them as true iron men of basketball, setting a standard for future generations. Their streaks are a remarkable achievement in professional sports and serve as a benchmark for durability and perseverance in the NBA.

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