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Has an 8 seed ever made it to the NBA finals?

Let’s examine the number of 8 seeds that have reached the NBA Finals in light of the Miami Heat’s remarkable playoff performance.

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat hugs head coach Erik Spoelstra

In what was a big surprise in the NBA this week, the Miami Heat went to the NBA Finals as an eighth seed to play the Denver Nuggets, the first-seeded team on the West, after losing their first play-in game.

The eighth seed in the NBA playoff is often considered a challenging position for a team to find themselves in. If a team finishes the regular season as the 8th seed, they typically have a lower draft pick and are likely to be eliminated from the NBA playoffs early.

Miami continued to grind through their fairytale, booking their spot in the NBA Finals after having been the team no one thought would see get this far. This will mark the Heats’ second NBA Final appearance in 5 years.


But when was the last time an eight-seed reached the NBA finals?

In 1999, the New York Knicks defeated the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. This victory made them the first and only 8-seed team to advance to the NBA Finals.

The Knicks were defeated by the number 1 seed Spurs in the NBA Finals that same year.

In the last 25 years, a few number 8 seeds have managed to advance from the first round. However, none of them have progressed beyond the second round.