NBA Teams

20 Franchise With Most NBA Championships

By Salim Prajapati / 12 December 2023 10:57 AM

Source : reddit

NBA Championships, also known as the Larry O'Brien Trophy represent the pinnacle of success, the ultimate prize in professional basketball.

From Michael Jordan's iconic game-winning shot to "The Block" by LeBron James, these moments become etched into the collective memory of basketball fans everywhere.

Back in the day, when basketball was still finding its footing and players wore shorts that resembled tablecloths, the NBA Championship landscape was a bit different.

The Boston Celtics dominated the scene, winning a mind-boggling 11 championships in just 13 years. Talk about a dynasty.

As the NBA grew in popularity, so did the complexity of the playoff format. From single elimination to best-of-seven series, the league kept tinkering with the rules to keep fans on their toes.

This article will take you on a historical journey through the evolution of NBA Championships and explore the franchises that have achieved the most success.

Boston Celtics - 17

Source : twitter

  • Years won - 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008
  • Finals appearances - 22

The Boston Celtics are renowned for their championship success, having clinched an impressive 17 NBA titles, a record tied with their rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. This remarkable legacy has been forged through several dominant eras.

Centered around the most decorated player, Bill Russell, the Celtics won an unprecedented 11 championships in 13 years from 1957 to 1969.

After a period of rebuilding, the Celtics returned to championship form in the 80s. Led by the iconic Larry Bird, the Celtics captured three championships.

Los Angeles Lakers - 17

Source : people

  • Years won - 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020
  • Finals appearances - 32

Los Angeles Lakers are synonymous with basketball greatness, holding the NBA record for most championships alongside the Celtics with 17. Their journey to the top began in the late 1940s, winning five consecutive championships in Minneapolis.

Later, legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O'Neal cemented their dynasty status, adding a combined 11 championships. Kobe Bryant's arrival ushered in another era of dominance, adding five more titles and solidifying the Lakers' place as an NBA powerhouse.

In 2020, LeBron James and Anthony Davis brought home the franchise's 17th championship.

Golden State Warriors - 7

Source : instagram

  • Years won - 1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022
  • Finals appearances - 12

Golden State Warriors have a rich history with 7 NBA championships to their name. Their first championship came in 1947, the inaugural season of the Basketball Association of America (BAA).

They subsequently clinched another title in 1956, with the guidance of a Hall of Fame trio consisting of Paul Arizin, Tom Gola, and Neil Johnston.

After the 1975 success, it was then a long wait until their next championship in 2015, when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson emerged as one of the most dominant shooting duos in NBA history.

They added three more in 2017, 2018 and 2022.

Chicago Bulls - 6

Source : facebook

  • Years won - 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
  • Finals appearances - 6

Chicago Bulls cemented their place in the annals of sports history by securing six NBA championships across two iconic dynasties.

The first triumphant era, spanning from 1991 to 1993, was followed by another glorious three-peat from 1996 to 1998.

Spearheaded by the electrifying partnership of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and guided by the enigmatic genius Phil Jackson, Chicago asserted an unparalleled dominance over the NBA throughout much of the 1990s.

In addition, Michael Jordan solidified his claim as the greatest of all time with six Finals MVP awards.

San Antonio Spurs - 5

Source : twitter

  • Years won - 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014
  • Finals appearances - 6

San Antonio Spurs have undeniably established their position as one of the most accomplished teams in NBA history, clinching 5 championships within a mere 15-year span.

Their journey to superiority initiated in 1999, with their first championship triumph. This marked the birth of a dominant era, led by the iconic trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

The Spurs went on to capture 4 more championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. Head Coach Gregg Popovich was the mastermind behind the Spurs' each championship.

Philadelphia 76ers - 3

Source : facebook

  • Years won - 1955, 1967, 1983
  • Finals appearances - 9

Philadelphia 76ers found success in three NBA Finals out of their nine championship game appearances.

In 1955, the Syracuse Nationals, guided by the renowned scorer Dolph Schayes, secured their inaugural triumph. Following a move to Philadelphia in 1967, Wilt Chamberlain's dominance led them to their second title.

The combination of Julius Erving and Moses Malone in 1983 resulted in a formidable force that swept the Los Angeles Lakers, earning the 76ers their third championship.

Despite not achieving the same heights in subsequent years, these three victories firmly establish the 76ers as one of the NBA's most revered franchises.

Detroit Pistons - 3

Source : facebook

  • Years won - 1989, 1990, 2004
  • Finals appearances - 7

Detroit Pistons have had several successful runs in the NBA, securing championship titles in 1989, 1990, and most notably in 2004.

The "Bad Boys" Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman, dominated the league in 1989 and won their first NBA title.

The following season, the Pistons repeated as champions, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in 5 games.

After a long championship drought, the Pistons returned to the top of the NBA in 2004 with key players like Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace.

Miami Heat - 3

Source : instagram

  • Years won - 2006, 2012, 2013
  • Finals appearances - 7

Miami Heat have secured three NBA championships throughout their franchise history. Their initial triumph occurred in 2006, driven by Dwyane Wade's exceptional performances and Pat Riley's coaching expertise.

Transitioning into the "Big Three" era in 2010, the Heat enlisted LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join forces with Wade. This formidable trio propelled the team to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, clinching consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013.

LeBron James earned the Finals MVP honors for both victories, establishing himself among the basketball elite. These championship campaigns firmly established the Miami Heat as a formidable presence in the NBA.

New York Knicks - 2

Source : pinterest

  • Years won - 1970, 1973
  • Finals appearances - 8

New York Knicks have hoisted the NBA championship trophy twice, in 1970 and 1973. Both triumphs occurred under the leadership of head coach Red Holzman, with Willis Reed as the heart and soul of the team.

In the 1970 championship, they prevailed over the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games, and Reed served as an inspirational force for his teammates.

Three years later, they confronted the Lakers once more, securing victory in five games, and Reed was honored as the Finals MVP.

These two victories are indelibly etched in the team's history and hold a special place in the hearts of Knicks fans.

Houston Rockets - 2

Source : instagram

  • Years won - 1994, 1995
  • Finals appearances - 4

The Houston Rockets reignited their franchise in the 90s, claiming back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

Steered by the iconic Hakeem Olajuwon, who won Finals MVP both years, the Rockets triumphed against formidable opponents such as the New York Knicks and Shaquille O'Neal's Orlando Magic.

In 1994, the Rockets emerged victorious in a seven-game series against the New York Knicks, and in 1995, they achieved a clean sweep against the fledgling Orlando Magic. These championship victories stand as the highest points in the history of the Rockets franchise.

Milwaukee Bucks - 2

Source : twitter

  • Years won - 1971, 2021
  • Finals appearances - 3

Milwaukee Bucks have a storied history, with two impressive league championships won fifty years apart, first in 1971 and more recently in 2021.

The 1971 triumph was led by the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. They defeated the Baltimore Bullets in a thrilling 4-0 series sweep.

After a 50-year drought, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks back to the promised land.

The Bucks managed to bounce back from a 2-0 disadvantage and emerged victorious over the Phoenix Suns in six games, making them the fifth team in NBA history to clinch the championship after being behind 2-0.

Cleveland Cavaliers - 1

Source : facebook

  • Years won - 2016
  • Finals appearances - 5

Although the Cleveland Cavaliers went on to play five NBA Finals, they came out victorious on only one occasion in 2016.

In 2016, the Cavaliers found themselves in the finals against the formidable Golden State Warriors, falling behind 3-1 in the series.

Guided by the efforts of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, the team orchestrated an extraordinary comeback, securing victories in the subsequent three games to clinch their inaugural NBA championship.

This triumph held special importance for Cleveland as it marked the conclusion of a 52-year period without a championship in major professional sports for the city.

Atlanta Hawks - 1

Source : pixels

  • Years won - 1958
  • Finals appearances - 4

Atlanta Hawks have a rich history in the NBA, but their trophy cabinet is not as full as some other teams.

Despite being among the original franchises, the Hawks secured just a single NBA championship in 1958. This triumph occurred during the team's tenure in St. Louis, where they beat the Boston Celtics in a captivating six-game series.

The Hawks have also been to the NBA Finals three other times in 1957, 1960 and 1961. However, they faced tough competition from the formidable Celtics during those years and unfortunately came up short in each series.

Oklahoma City Thunder - 1

Source : gettyimages

  • Years won - 1979
  • Finals appearances - 4

Although the Oklahoma City Thunder have not clinched an NBA championship, they have a notable legacy as the Seattle SuperSonics.

As the SuperSonics, they achieved four Western Conference titles, including a championship win in 1979. Since moving to Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder have sustained their success, securing the Western Conference title in 2012 and making it to the NBA Finals.

Star players such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been key contributors, but the Thunder are still pursuing their first championship as an independent franchise.

Despite recent struggles, the Thunder boast a proud history and remain a competitive force in the Western Conference.

Washington Wizards - 1

Source : twitter

  • Years won - 1978
  • Finals appearances - 4

Washington Wizards, previously known as the Washington Bullets, have a storied history in the NBA. Their most significant achievement was winning the NBA championship in 1978 under the leadership of Finals MVP Wes Unseld.

This victory marked a historic moment for Washington D.C., being its first professional sports championship in 36 years. The team's path to glory included three consecutive playoff series upsets, establishing them as one of the most remarkable underdog stories in NBA history.

Despite making it to the Finals three other times, their triumph in 1978 stands as their only NBA title victory and continues to be celebrated by fans and basketball enthusiasts alike.

Portland Trail Blazers - 1

Source : blazersedge

  • Years won - 1977
  • Finals appearances - 3

Portland Trail Blazers have won 1 championship in their NBA history, which came in 1977 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Led by Bill Walton, who was named Finals MVP, the Blazers overcame a 2-0 series deficit to win the title in 6 games.

They also reached the NBA Finals on two additional occasions, in 1990 and 1992, but were defeated on both occasions by the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, respectively.

Despite not winning another title, the Trail Blazers have established themselves as a prosperous franchise, making it to the playoffs in 37 out of their 51 seasons. This includes an impressive run of 21 consecutive playoff appearances from 1983 to 2003.

Dallas Mavericks - 1

Source : twitter

  • Years won - 2011
  • Finals appearances - 2

Dallas Mavericks' victory in the 2011 NBA championship marked a historic moment for both the team and the city of Dallas.

Their thrilling 4-2 series win over the Miami Heat, with Dirk Nowitzki earning the Finals MVP award, was a significant achievement.

Not only did it bring about the first championship for the Mavericks franchise, but it also ended an over-a-decade-long drought without a major sports title for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex since 1999.

The exceptional nature of this triumph is heightened by considering that many had counted out their chances against the heavily favored Heat, thus solidifying its place as one of NBA history's greatest underdog victories.

Sacramento Kings - 1

Source : reddit

  • Years won - 1951
  • Finals appearances - 1

Talking about the 100 percent NBA finals success, the Sacramento Kings have achieved this remarkable feat.

They appeared in the 1951 Finals and won when they were still known as the Rochester Royals. Guided by Hall of Famers Bob Davies, Bobby Wanzer, and Arnie Risen, they defeated the New York Knicks in a thrilling seven-game series.

However, since relocating to Sacramento, the Kings have faced playoff struggles, last reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2002.

Moreover, the Kings experienced the lengthiest ongoing absence from postseason play among the four major North American sports, beginning in 2006 and continuing until 2023.

Denver Nuggets - 1

Source : instagram

  • Years won - 2023
  • Finals appearances - 1

The 2023 NBA season will forever be remembered as a historic moment for the Denver Nuggets, as they clinched their first-ever championship title.

Under the exceptional leadership of Nikola Jokic, the team triumphed over the Miami Heat in an intense five-game series. The crowning glory came with a heart-pounding 94-89 victory in Game 5 at Ball Arena.

Throughout the series, Jokic displayed unparalleled skill and determination, winning the Finals MVP.

This long-awaited championship win marked the climax of a remarkable journey spanning four decades for the Nuggets franchise, it carved their rightful spot into basketball's illustrious history books.

Toronto Raptors - 1

Source : facebook

  • Years won - 2019
  • Finals appearances - 1

Against all expectations, the Toronto Raptors claimed their first NBA championship in 2019 by triumphing over the two-time reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, in a captivating six-game series.

Under the leadership of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors navigated through challenges in the playoffs, often facing the threat of elimination.

 This victory held special significance, as it established them as the first non-American NBA team to raise the Larry O'Brien trophy.

The 2019 championship not only validated the Raptors as formidable contenders but also etched their name in the annals of basketball history.