The NBA Finals are the league’s championship series, held at the end of the regular season. Except for 1950, when the Eastern Division champion faced the winner of the Western and Central Division championships. Also, all Finals have been played in a best-of-seven format between the winners of the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Let’s take a look at the NBA teams that have won the most championships, as well as some of the players that helped them get there.
Boston Celtics: 17 NBA Championships
The Celtics and the Lakers have tied for the most NBA titles in league history. They are one of the original four teams from the league’s start in 1949. They have always been based in the same city and have the same nickname.
Bill Russell led the squad to eight straight NBA championships between 1959 and 1966. With the most championship rings of any player in NBA history, he has been recognized as the best winner.
The Celtics drafted small center Larry Bird out of Indiana in 1978 and continued their winning ways in the 1980s. When Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish led them to three championships, the most recent in 1986.
The Celtics were able to win another championship in 2008, 22 years after their 1986 championship. The Boston Celtics won their 17th NBA Championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen headlined that group.
Los Angeles Lakers: 17 NBA Championships
At OKBET, the Lakers are the more well-known of the two Los Angeles clubs in the NBA. They were the first dynasty in professional basketball history when they won four of the first five NBA titles in the early 1950s. Legendary George Mikan, Jim Pollard, and Vern Mikkelsen led those teams.
They had a 33-game unbeaten record in 1972, which was a significant win streak. That team was captained by Wilt Chamberlain, one of the best centers in NBA history, also Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Elgin Baylor. Their next dynasty began in 1979 when they drafted Michigan State point player Magic Johnson. On a Pat Riley-coached Lakers team that won five championships in the 1980s, Johnson has joined by Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott, and Michael Cooper.
The Lakers reestablished their NBA dominance in the early 2000s after a title drought in the 1990s. It all began with the trade of Shaquille O’Neal, the famous Orlando Magic center, to the Los Angeles Lakers. From 2000 to 2002, O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships with All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson.
It took Kobe a few years after O’Neal joined the Miami Heat in 2004 to win his first championship without him, but he did it with back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010.
Finally, a LeBron James-led Lakers squad defeated the Miami Heat for the franchise’s 17th championship in 2020, paying tribute to Kobe Bryant’s passing. Anthony Davis, James’ jogging partner during the Lakers’ championship run last season, says he wants to help the team win more titles in the future.
Chicago Bulls: 6 NBA Championships
It’s difficult to picture life in the NBA without the Chicago Bulls, which is surprising given that they were only very successful for one decade, the 1990s. The Bulls won their first championship in 1991, led by NBA superstars Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and B.J Armstrong. Also, Horace Grant, and then went on to win three more titles in a row from 1991 to 1993.
From 1996 through 1998, they were able to win three straight championships. Jordan and Pippen’s core were kept, while Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, and Steve Kerr were recruited.
They had the best chance of winning a championship in 2012. They entered the playoffs with the best record in the Eastern Conference, thanks to MVP Derrick Rose. Rose tore his ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers in the last minutes of Game 1 of the first round. In six games, the Sixers swept the Bulls.
Golden State Warriors: 6 NBA Championships
From 1951 through 1962, the Warriors have based in Philadelphia, and in 1956, they were awarded NBA champions for the first time. These squads have led by Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin, two of the finest players in franchise history.
Despite never winning a championship together, Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond have known as “Run TMC” in the early 1990s, a play on the 1980s hip-hop duo “Run DMC.” They’re one of the most renowned trios in NBA history and one of my favorite NBA teams in history.
Finally, in 2015, a new era of bay-area dominance began when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala led the Warriors to their fourth NBA championship. By defeating LeBron James and the Cavaliers. In the same year, they had the second-best winning streak in franchise history, winning 28 games straight.
Kevin Durant joins the Warriors a year after his Oklahoma City Thunder have defeated by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. In 2017 and 2018, he helped them win two more championships.
San Antonio Spurs: 5 NBA Championships
The Spurs were a difficult opponent for the rest of the league in the late 1990s, with teams headed by David Robinson, Avery Johnson, and Tim Duncan, probably the best power forward. Gregg Popovich’s team would win the franchise’s first title in 1999.
After winning the NBA title in 2003, David Robison announced his retirement. During this time, the Spurs won three NBA championships, two of which have won by newcomers Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The team reached back-to-back NBA finals in 2013 and 2014 with the addition of new players. Including Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard winning their fifth and most recent NBA title in 2014.
The beginning of their actual dominance came in the early 2000s when they won three consecutive NBA Finals in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Popovich, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli captained those squads. San Antonio finally ended a seven-year title drought by defeating the Miami Heat and their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, avenging a heartbreaking loss to Miami in 2013.