NBA Champions!! With some brilliant games and big names, NBA has jazzed up the whole sports world. But with 30 different teams in their league, which one claims the top spot as the NBA champions in history?
With over 75 years of history, the NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.
And during this period, every team tries to come on top, outdoing their opponents each year.
The NBA championship is not an easy feat to achieve, and just one championship is not enough to make them the best. Therefore, every NBA team tries to add more NBA championships to their franchise.
Over the years, some of the NBA team has been able to win multiple championships. Therefore, we thought of looking at the top NBA champions in history.
So without further ado, let us look at this list of the top 10 NBA champions in history.
Top 10 NBA Champions In History
But before getting into more details, let us take a quick peek at the table below. This list has been prepared with the help of trusted sources like Statmuse.com.
|10. Milwaukee Bucks
|9. New York Knicks
|8. Detroit Pistons
|7. Miami Heat
|6. Philadelphia 76ers
|5. San Antonio Spurs
|4. Chicago Bulls
|3. Golden State Warriors
|2. Boston Celtics
|1. Los Angeles Lakers
10. Milwaukee Bucks
We will start our list with the team based in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bucks. The team is in number 10 with two league championships on our list.
The Bucks were first founded in 1968 as an expansion team and are NBA’s Eastern Conference Central Division member.
The Bucks played their first NBA regular-season game against the Chicago Bulls in Milwaukee Arena in a crowd of 8,467. However, the team struggled in their first season of 1968-69.
It was in their sixth game; the Bucks got their first victory against the Detroit Pistons. They lead the scoreboard by 134-118. However, they could only win 26 more games in their first season.
The Milwaukee Bucks have featured notable players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge, Sidney Moncrief, Bob Lanier, Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, among others.
The Bucks are the only team to win a championship in the Eastern and Western Conferences. Similarly, the team has also won three conference titles, 17 division titles and has qualified for the playoffs a total of 34 times in their 55 seasons.
9. New York Knicks
Tied with Milwaukee Bucks with two leagues championship is the New York Knicks. The Knicks are NBA’s member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference based in Manhattan’s New York City borough.
The team was first founded in 1946 by Ned Iris. Iris was one of the founding members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to become the NBA.
The Knicks are one of the two original NBA teams still located in their original city. In their early years, the team had success and was a constant playoff contender.
1967-1975 was the championship and dominant years of the Knicks. Under coach Red Holzman, the team brought home two NBA championships in the early 1970s. Along with the two championships, the Knicks are 4 times conference title and 8 times division title winner.
However, since 2000, the Knicks have struggled to regain their former glory. Finally, in the 2012-13 season, the team won their first division title in 19 years. In the last 5 seasons, the Knicks has managed to qualify for the playoffs just once in 2020-21.
8. Detroit Pistons
Founded in 1937 as a semi-professional team called the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, the Detroit Pistons is our number 8 with three championships. The Pistons is one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Central Division members.
The team is based in Detroit and plays their home games at Little Caesars Arena in Midtown. Only in 1941 did the Pistons turn pro and become a member of the NBL.
After the merger of BAA and NBL, the Pistons became part of the NBA. The team had a solid local following; however, from the 1950s up to 1980, the team struggled.
When they drafted Isiah Thomas as a point guard and acquired Vinnie Johnson and Bill Laimbeer in 1981, the team’s fortune turned. Likewise, another key factor was hiring of Chuck Daly as head coach in 1983.
The other notable Pistons players were John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, James Edwards, etc. Similarly, other than Daly, Doug Collins and Larry Brown has also served as the head coach for the team.
The Pistons won three NBA championships in 1989, 1990, and 2004. However, they won two championships during their NBL journey. They are also 5 times conference title and 15 times division title winner.
In 2020, the team hired a new general manager, Troy Weaver.
7. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is an NBA team based in Miami and competes as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team is seventh on our list with three NBA championships won.
The Heat was first founded in 1988 as an expansion team. Unfortunately, the team had mediocre early years and made only two playoffs in their first eight years.
However, the team’s luck changed after being purchased by Carnival Cruise Lines chairman Micky Arison in 1995. Likewise, Pat Riley was appointed the Heat’s president and head coach.
During the 2012-13 season, the Heat made the record for the NBA’s third-longest winning streak, 27 straight games.
Similarly, four of the Hall of Famers have played for the Miami Heat since its founding.
6. Philadelphia 76ers
On our number 6, tied with Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat with three NBA championships, is the Philadelphia 76ers. The franchise was founded in 1946 as Syracuse Nationals and is one of the oldest franchises of the NBA.
The 76ers is a team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area that plays in NBA’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division.
The team was still called Syracuse Nationals when it became part of the NBA in 1949 after NBL and BAA merged.
The team was an immediate success. However, the team name was changed after 1963 when the team moved to Philadelphia.
The 76ers’ first NBA championship came in 1955 as the Syracuse Nationals. Then they won their second and third championship in 1967 and 1983. Since then, the team has been able to get to the NBA finals in 2001.
In their last five playoffs, they failed to advance to any finals after suffering four semifinals loss and a first round loss in 2019-20.
Similarly, the team has many prominent Hall of Famers who played for them, like Dolph Schayes, Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham, Julius Erving, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, and many others.
5. San Antonio Spurs
With five NBA championships, San Antonio Spurs is fifth on our list of top NBA champions in history. As the name suggests, this team is based in San Antonio and plays in the league’s Western Conference Southwest Division.
The franchise was first founded in 1967 as Dallas Chaparrals. The name San Antonio Spurs was named after 1973. The Spurs is the former team of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
In 1976, AMA and NBA merged, and the franchise remains one of the former ABA teams to stay in the NBA. Likewise, the Spurs are the first ABA team to win an NBA championship.
Over the previous three decades, the Spurs had the best winning percentage in the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.
They won the NBA championships first in 1999, then in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. Similarly, from 1999-2000 to 2016-17, the franchise set a record of 18 consecutive 50-win seasons.
Likewise, in the 2018-19 season, the Spurs made an NBA record for the most consecutive playoff appearances. The franchise’s notable players include George Gervin, Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and many others.
4. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls was founded in 1966 and competed in NBA as the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division member. The Chicago Bulls has a total of 6 NBA championships, 6 conference, and 9 division titles under their franchise name. They sit at number 4 on the list of the top NBA champions.
The Chicago-based team made its first NBA debut in the 1966-67 NBA season. The franchise was the third NBA franchise in the city. After their first game in the NBA, they posted a 33-48 record, the best by an expansion team in NBA history.
In the 1990s, the Bulls had their successful golden era. Likewise, the franchise played a significant part in popularizing the NBA worldwide.
The Bulls are the only team in NBA who never lost an NBA Finals series in their history and won multiple championships.
In the 1995-96 season, the Bulls won 72 games, setting an NBA record. The franchise was the first team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season until the 2015-16 season.
Since their golden era in the 1990s, the Bulls have failed to regain their former momentum.
3. Golden State Warrior
The Golden State Warriors are in number 3 with 6 NBA championships and the third-most final appearances. They are NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division members.
The franchise is the most valuable NBA franchise. Likewise, it is the eighth-highest-valued sports franchise in the world, with an estimated value of $5.6 billion.
The franchise was founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors. Later they were moved to San Francisco, changing their name to San Francisco Warriors before naming it Golden State Warriors in 1971.
The Warriors were members of the BAA and later became the NBA team after the merger. The team won the championship in the league’s inaugural game in the 1946-47 season.
In the 2015-16 season, the Warriors broke the record held previously by the Bulls for winning 70 games or more in a single season.
Some notable players featured by the franchise include Hall of Famer trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, and Neil Johnston.
2. Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics are one of the league’s original eight teams founded in 1946. As the name suggests, the franchise is based in Boston and is in the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division.
The Celtics are considered one of the most successful franchises in NBA history. They have won a total of 17 championships, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for most NBA Championships wins.
The franchise’s dominance in the NBA started in the late 1950s. The head coach Red Auerbach and center player Bill Russell were the cornerstones of the Celtic’s rise in the NBA.
The Celtics won their first NBA championship in 1957. Similarly, from 1959 to 1966, the franchise won eight consecutive NBA championships.
Many prominent Hall of Famer besides Russell has been part of the franchise. Some of them being John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, Bill Sharman.
Likewise, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also have been part of the Celtics.
Throughout the 1960s and 1980s, the media heavily highlighted the Celtics and Lakers rivalry. Among the 12 times that the franchise has faced off with the Lakers, the Celtics have won 9 times.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The number one team on our list of the top NBA champions in history is one of the most successful teams in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are tied to the Boston Celtics with 17 NBA championships in NBA history.
The Los Angeles-based team is the NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division member. The franchise was first founded in 1947 as Minneapolis Lakers and was renamed in 1960.
They were members of the NBL and won the 1948 NBL championship before they joined BAA. After entering the BAA, the Lakers won five of the next six championships.
After becoming an NBA team, the Lakers made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s. However, they lost all six games with Boston Celtics, initiating the rivalry between the two teams.
Then, Jerry Bush purchased the team, and the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson, who changed the franchise’s fortune. The Lakers won five championships in nine years. Likewise, in 1985 and 1987, they defeated their rival, the Celtics.
The Lakers won their 17th NBA championship in 2020 in a game led by head coach Frank Vogel.
This concludes our list of the top NBA champions in history. These ten teams have the most championship wins in NBA history, with the Celtics and Lakers tied to the number one spot with 17 titles.