With some of its 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 10 of the top 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||2|
|9. New York Knicks||2|
|8. Detroit Pistons||3|
|7. Miami Heat||3|
|6. Philadelphia 76ers||3|
|5. San Antonio Spurs||5|
|4. Chicago Bulls||6|
|3. Golden State Warriors||6|
|2. Boston Celtics||17|
|1. Los Angeles Lakers||17|
10. Milwaukee Bucks
We will start our list with the team based in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bucks. The team is on our number 10 with two league championships.
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 a Milwaukee Arena in a crowd of 8,467. However, the team struggled in their first season on 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, Giannis Antetokounmpo, among others.
The Bucks are the only team to win a championship in the Eastern and Western Conference. Similarly, the team has also won three titles and 16 division titles.
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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 were constant playoff contenders.
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.
Some of the notable players of Knicks include Willis Reed, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Patrick Ewing, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, etc.
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.
8. Detroit Pistons
Founded in 1937 as a semi-professional team called the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, the Detroit Pistons are on our number 8 with three championships. They are NBA’s Eastern Conference Central Division members.
The Pistons are based in Detriot and play their home games at Little Caesars Arena, located in Midtown. Only in 1941 did the Pistons turn pro and become members of NBL.
After the merge of BAA and NBL, the Pistons became part of the NBA. The team had a solid local following; however, during the 1950s up to 1980, the team went through a struggling period.
When they drafted Isiah Thomas as a point guard and acquired Vinnie Johnson and Bill Laimbeer, the team’s fortune turned in 1981. Likewise, another key factor was hiring Chuck Daly as hed coach in 1983.
The other notable Pistons players were John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, James Edwards, etc. Similarly, other than Daly, Doug Collins, Larry Brown has held the helm as head coaches.
The Pistons won three NBA championships in 1989, 1990, and 2004. 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 early 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.
Miami Heat featured some of the biggest names of the NBA in their team. The team had Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, and Tim Hardaway.
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 Hal of Famers have played for the Miami Heat since its founding.
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6. Philadelphia 76ers
On our number 6 top NBA champions, tied with Detroit Pistons and Miami Heats 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 are the team based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. They are NBA’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and play at the Wells Fargo Center.
The team was still called Syracuse Nationals when it became part of the NBA in 1949 after NBL and BAA merged into NBA.
The team was an immediate success. However, the team name was changed after 1963 when the couple moved to Philadelphia.
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.
Similarly, the team has many prominent Hall of Famers playing 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 is 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 are 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 only former 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 most consecutive playoff appearances. The franchise’s notable players feature George Gervin, Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry, Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, among 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 championship in their franchise name. They are on our number 4 of the top NBA champions.
The team made its first NBA debut in 1966-67 NBA season based in Chicago. The franchise was the third NBA franchise in the city. After their first game in the NBA, they posted a 33-48 record making them the best 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.
Additionally, the Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and coach Phil Jackson led the team to all six of their 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.
Although players like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Michael Jordan have been part of the franchise, they could not regain their former success.
3. Golden State Warrior
The Golden State Warriors are tied with Chicago Bulls, having won 6 NBA championships and the third-most final appearances. They are NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division members.
The franchise is the second most valuable NBA franchise. Likewise, it is the sixth-highest valued sports franchise in the world with a $4.7 billion estimated value.
The franchise was then founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors. Later they were moved to San Francisco, taking its name before changing it into 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 of the notable players featured by the franchise include Hall of Famer trio Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, and Neil Johnston.
Likewise, players like Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson were also part of the team.
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 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 that is 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.
Then, 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.
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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 Lakers are a team based in Los Angeles. They are the NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division member. The franchise was first founded in 1947 as Minneapolis Lakers and then renamed in 1960.
They were members of 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, which began the rivalry between the two teams.
Then, Jerry Bush purchased the team, and the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson, which changed the franchise’s fortune. The Lakers won five championships in nine years. Likewise, in 1985 and 1987, they defeated their rival, the Celtics.
Some of the notable players featured by the franchise include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, among others.
The Lakers’ won their 17th NBA championship in 2020 in a game led by the head coach Frank Vogel.
This concludes our list of the top NBA champions in history. These ten teams have the most championship wins in the NBA history, with the Celtics and Lakers tied to the number one spot with 17 titles.