The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the best franchises in the NBA. Together with the Boston Celtics, they hold the biggest number of Championships. However, a lot of people don’t know how many Championships have the Lakers won? Below, we will share a lot of information about the Lakers and their title runs.
In the long and storied history of the NBA, no team has made more appearances in the NBA Finals than the Los Angeles Lakers. Since the franchise was founded in 1947 in Minneapolis, the Lakers have appeared in the Finals 31 times. As one would guess, the team they’ve faced the most in the final series of the year, the Boston Celtics, have the second-most with 21.
Unfortunately for Lakers fans, the Celtics still own more titles than the Lakers. Boston leads all NBA franchises with 17 championships with the Lakers right behind with 16. The Bulls and Warriors are tied for third with six titles each.
The Early Era
Led by basketball’s first dominant center, George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers actually won their first title in 1949 as members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which merged with the National Basketball League ahead of the 1949-1950 season to form the NBA. But the NBA still recognizes titles from the BAA so it does count toward the 16.
The Lakers hold the distinction of winning the first-ever NBA Finals in 1950, defeating the Syracuse Nationals in six games. Two years later, Mikan & Co. won the first of three consecutive titles. In total, the Minneapolis Lakers won the title in five of six seasons and were the NBA’s first dynasty.
How many Championships have the Lakers won in the Wilt Chamberlain era?
In 1958, the Lakers selected Elgin Baylor with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Two years later, ahead of their first season in LA, they took Jerry West in the exact same spot. With those two leading the way (Wilt Chamberlain didn’t come to LA until 1968), the Lakers made six appearances in the NBA Finals in the 1960s but lost each and every time to the Boston Celtics, who won 11 titles in 13 seasons between 1957 and 1969.
Finally, in 1972, now armed with Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West won the NBA title that had eluded both of them for so long. The Lakers went 69-13 that season, then an NBA record for wins, and defeated the New York Knicks in five games in the Finals to win their first title in 13 years.
The Showtime Lakers
Following their victory in the 1972 NBA Finals, the Lakers were defeated by the Knicks the following year in five games and didn’t make another appearance in the Finals until 1980, which just happened to be the rookie year of Magic Johnson. With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out for Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers, Magic stepped up and played every position, scoring 42 points and adding 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers to their seventh NBA title.
Magic would go on to lead the Lakers to four more NBA titles in the 1980s, twice defeating rival Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. Joined by the likes of James Worthy, Byron Scott, and Kareem, Magic and the “Showtime” Lakers were the highlight of one of the NBA’s greatest eras. At that point in time the question of how many championships have the Lakers won was a direct fight with the Celtics.
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant
In 1996, the Lakers signed free agent Shaquille O’Neal and drafted Kobe Bryant to form arguably the greatest duo in NBA history. It took a few years for Kobe to adjust to the NBA but once he did, he and Shaq were close to unstoppable. Led by Phil Jackson, the Lakers won their first title in a dozen years in 2000 by defeating the Indiana Pacers in six games.
Shaq and Kobe went on to win two more titles together in 2001 and 2002, giving Phil Jackson his third three-peat, and made a fourth NBA Finals appearance in 2004, where they lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games. Shaq was then traded to Miami as Kobe became the face of the franchise.
With Shaq out of the picture, it took Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to once again become an elite team but they did get there. The addition of Pau Gasol during the 2007-2008 season was a big factor in the Lakers getting back to the NBA Finals that season, where they lost in six games to the Celtics.
In 2009, Kobe finally proved that he could win without Shaq. Him and the Lakers defeated Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in five games. The following season, again against the Celtics, the Lakers won their 16th title. They ended up defeating their bitter rival in an epic seven-game series. With that, the Lakers came within one title of the Celtics. They have 16 and are the 2nd team with the most NBA rings.
How many Championships have the Lakers won in recent years?
The Lakers hold the record for the longest winning streak in NBA. They won 33 straight games during the 1971-1972 season. 26 Hall of Fame players have played for Los Angeles while 4 have coached this team. Read more about their NBA records here. However, their last glory days happened in the Kobe era. They haven’t featured in the finals since the 2010-2011 season. Nevertheless, things are looking up for the Lakers. They got Lebron James in 2018 and are currently playing the 2nd season with him.
With another superstar like Kobe, the Lakers are looking for another title. Getting one more will put them equal to their bitter rivals, the Celtics. Both teams are easily the most famous franchises in the NBA. Ever since it’s inception, there has been a generation of fans that remember fantastic match-up’s between the Lakers and the Celtics. We can only hope that we get to see these two teams feature in the finals in the near future.