The NBA has been around for decades, but over the years, only a few franchises have been fortunate enough to win the prestigious Larry O’Brien trophy on multiple occasions. The last NBA Finals was held between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat in 2020. Both the franchises have a history of Finals appearances and have won several titles. Currently, 19 of the 30 teams can call themselves former champions of the competition. Surprisingly, the past 37 NBA championships have been shared by only 11 teams. Below, we will talk about the five teams that have won the most NBA Rings. They are the most successful franchises in the NBA.
By clinching the 2020 NBA title, the Los Angeles Lakers have 17 championships to their name – tied for the most all-time with the Boston Celtics. Both franchises have accounted for 45.9% of the 74 championships in NBA history. Two franchises – the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers – have alone combined for 34 of the 74 championships in NBA history. Only three franchises have ever won three titles in a row – Boston Celtics (eight straight from 1959 to 1966), Chicago Bulls (twice), and Los Angeles Lakers (twice). To learn more about the NBA, check their official website.
All NBA Champions
Nine teams have one NBA championship to their name – Toronto Raptors (2019), Cleveland Cavaliers (2016), Dallas Mavericks (2011), Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (1979), Baltimore/Washington Bullets/Washington Wizards (1978), Portland Trail Blazers (1977), Milwaukee Bucks (1971), St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks (1958), Baltimore Bullets (1948; folded in 1954), and Rochester/Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City/Sacramento Kings (1951). Below, you can see the teams that hold more than one championship. As we said above, only 19 out of 30 NBA teams have won at least one NBA title.
Most NBA Rings – Top 5
5. San Antonio Spurs – 5 Rings
All five of the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA titles came with coach Gregg Popovich and Hall of Famer forward Tim Duncan. The star cast around Tim Duncan constantly evolved as he led the San Antonio Spurs to six NBA Finals appearances, winning five of them. Surprisingly, the Spurs never three-peated or even won back-to-back NBA titles. The San Antonio Spurs won their first NBA title with a veteran David Robinson and a young Tim Duncan in 1999.
David Robison retired after winning the 2003 NBA title. The Spurs’ three NBA rings during this period featured two new stars – Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. With the arrival of new players like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, the team reached back-to-back NBA finals in 2013 and 2014, winning their fifth and most recent NBA title in 2014. They further went on to win three further chips in the next five years, doing so in 2003, 2005 and 2007. With only one loss and five wins, the San Antonio Spurs hold the record for the second-best win % in NBA Finals history.
4. Chicago Bulls – 6 Rings
The only franchise on this list with a perfect NBA Finals record is the Chicago Bulls. Superstar Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Finals appearances, winning all six of them. Three-peating twice, he dominated the NBA in the 1990s. The entire ’90s era is known for the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Phil Jackson and star forwards Jordan and Scottie Pippen were the main figures. Even though they don’t have the most NBA rings, Jordan’s Chicago Bulls were one of the best teams to ever grace the NBA.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won NBA titles from 1991 to 1993. They defeated iconic teams like the Magic Johnson-led Lakers in 1991, the Clyde Drexler-led Trail Blazers in 1992 and the Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns in 1993. Jordan announced his retirement from professional basketball in the summer of ’93 to start a baseball career. However, after a year and a half, Jordan was back in the NBA. He re-joined the Bulls, leading them to a 72-10 record in the 1996 NBA regular season and winning the title as well. The Bulls beat the Gary Payton-led Supersonics that year and subsequently won two more NBA titles, beating the John Stockton and Karl Malone-led Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998.
3. Golden State Warriors – 6 Rings
The Golden State Warriors franchise won two of their six NBA rings when the franchise was located in Philadelphia. Hall of Famer Joe Fulks led the Philadelphia Warriors to two BAA Finals appearances, winning the league’s inaugural edition in 1947. In 1956, Hall of Famer trio of Paul Arizin, Tom Gola and Neil Johnson led the Philadelphia Warriors to another title.
The Warriors moved to California in 1962 and have since appeared in eight NBA Finals. In 1975, star players Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes carried the team to their third NBA championship. Thereafter, the Warriors struggled for decades until they drafted Stephen Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft and proceeded to dominate the league for a few years. The Curry-led Golden State Warriors were one of the most dominant teams in the modern era of basketball.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green returned the Golden State Warriors to their glory days in 2015. They appeared in five-straight NBA Finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018 after former MVP Kevin Durant joined the team.
2. Boston Celtics – 17 Rings
Celtics are one of the teams that hold the most NBA rings. The only franchise to make eight consecutive NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics won 11 titles in a 13-year period. In 1957, seven future Hall of Famers led the Boston Celtics to their first-ever NBA title. Bill Russell and coach Red Auerbach then led the team to 12 more NBA Finals appearances, winning ten of them. In the list of Hall of Famers, the like of Bob Cousy (6), Frank Ramsey (7), Tom Heinsohn (8), John Havlicek (6), Bill Sharman (4) and Arnie Risen (2) became multiple NBA champions with the Boston Celtics; but Russell was the only one who won all 11. The Celtics won eight consecutive NBA titles from 1959to 1966 before winning back-to-back titles in 1968 and 1969.
John Havlicek, along with Hall of Famers Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White, led the Boston Celtics to two more Finals appearances in 1974 and 1976, winning on both occasions. Two years later, the Boston Celtics drafted Larry Bird, who would lead the franchise to five NBA Finals appearances in the 1980s. Usually battling head-to-head with the LA Lakers’ Magic Johnson, Bird won three of these five NBA Finals along with Hall of Famers Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. The Celtics were NBA champions in 1981, 1984 and 1986.
After two decades, the more recent Boston Celtics’ ‘Big 4’ featuring Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen led the team to two NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010. In both finals against the LA Lakers, the Boston Celtics emerged triumphant in 2008 for their 17th and most recent NBA title.
Los Angeles Lakers – 17 Rings
The Los Angeles Lakers are tied with the Celtics for the most NBA Rings in history. The LA Lakers have made a whopping 32 Finals appearances. They have won 17 NBA titles and have dominated in multiple eras over the years.
The LA Lakers’ first NBA title came in 1949 when the league was known as the BAA. Hall of Famers George Mikan and Jim Pollard then took the team to five NBA Finals, winning all five. They were later joined by Hall of Famers Vern Mikkelsen and Slater Martin, helping the LA Lakers win back-to-back NBA titles in 1949 and 1950. After missing the Finals the next year, the LA Lakers three-peated from 1952 to 1954. For nearly two decades, the LA Lakers wouldn’t win an NBA title until the Hall of Famer trio of Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West earned the franchise their sixth title in 1972.
Shortly thereafter, the LA Lakers formed one of the biggest dynasties in NBA history with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The star duo would lead the LA Lakers to a whopping nine NBA Finals appearances, winning five of them. The Lakers won NBA titles in 1980, 1982 and 1985 before going back-to-back in 1987 and 1988. They were joined by Hall of Famer James Worthy for their last three titles during this period.
The Kobe Bryant Years
In 1996, the LA Lakers drafted Kobe Bryant, who would lead the team to seven NBA Finals appearances and five titles. That year, the Lakers also acquired one of the most dominating centers of all time, Shaquille O’Neal. He went on to win three consecutive Finals MVPs from 2000 to 2002, as the LA Lakers enjoyed another three-peat. O’Neal and Bryant are still considered one of the best duos in NBA history. Kobe Bryant later went on to appear in three straight NBA finals, winning back to back titles in 2009 and 2010.
The LA Lakers’s record-equaling 17th NBA title came in 2020 when LeBron James returned the team championship to championship glory after ten long years. One of the most memorable and historic NBA Finals was played in the Orlando bubble without fans owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. The LA Lakers beat the Miami Heat 4-2 in the seven-match series to win their most recent NBA title.