Who Has the Most NBA Championships?

The five teams with the most rings

(Via Getty Images/ Alex Zito)

So you're wondering which franchise has the most NBA championships?

The history of the NBA is both storied and relatively short. Every big four sports league in the United States has eclipsed 100 seasons except for the NBA, which has played just over 75 seasons. Even more puzzling is how dominant a handful of franchises have been.

Related: Who are the Tallest NBA Players?

Of the 75+ NBA Finals, nearly 70% of them have been won by the same five teams, with the Lakers and Celtics accounting for 34 of them. So who are the other teams that have dominated the league throughout it's history?

Here are the teams with the most NBA championships:

Teams with 3 Championships

5. San Antonio Spurs - 5 Championships

GettyImages 450721540
(Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

  • Years: 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014

In 1976 the Nuggets, Nets, Pacers and Spurs joined the NBA in a merger with the ABA. The Pacers and Nets have never won a championship, and the Nuggets had never even been to the NBA Finals until this year.

The Spurs on the other hand have turned themselves into one of the most iconic franchises in the NBA. After a number of years contending in the 90’s with big-man David Robinson, it looked as though they were on the cusp of rebuilding. That was until they selected Tim Duncan with the first pick in 1997. He helped them win their first title in 1999, but they were just getting started.

After drafting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs successfully built the big three that dominated the 2000’s. The most profound personnel on the Spurs has to be head coach Greg Popovich. He has etched his name into the all-time coaching wins record and cemented himself as one of the most important figures in NBA history. Over the course of their fourteen years together Popovich, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili won 575 games, an NBA record for a trio of teammates.

4. Chicago Bulls - 6 Championships

GettyImages 1210072410
(Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

  • Years: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998

There is no team in NBA history that has done more to grow the popularity of basketball than the 90’s Chicago Bulls. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, it was impossible not to watch a Bulls game and think “it’ll never be like the 90’s again”.

No team has won as consistently in the modern NBA than those Bulls teams did. In 1984 they drafted a high-flying intense guard out of North Carolina by the name of Michael Jordan. After torching the league and winning a number of scoring titles, MVPs, and even a DPOY, Jordan still didn’t have a title. After losing to the Pistons in multiple years, MJ and the Bulls finally defeated them in 1991 to advance to their first NBA Finals where they took down the mighty Los Angeles Lakers. At the time, it seemed Jordan cracked the code on how to win, and he became almost impossible to beat.

The Bulls went on to appear in five more NBA Finals and win each one. Since Jordan’s retirement. the Bulls have never been able to get back to their winning ways, appearing in just one Eastern Conference Finals.

3. Golden State Warriors - 7 Championships

GettyImages 970199716
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Years: 1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022

The Golden State Warriors are one of the most storied franchises in the NBA. They won the first ever NBA championship during the inaugural 1946-1947 season. More recently, they've consistently been a playoff team but were never really contenders until they drafted two-time MVP and all-time leader in three pointers, Stephen Curry.

Building around Curry with splash brother Klay Thompson and enforcer Draymond Green, the newest NBA dynasty arrived. Giving Steve Kerr the helm before the 2015 season was a huge gamble for the Warriors that certainly paid off. His ability to keep his team motivated while giving them immense freedom puts him in a league of his own as a player-friendly coach. The Warriors broke a tie with Chicago for third all-time in championships in 2022 after taking down the Boston Celtics in six games.

2. Boston Celtics - 17 Championships

GettyImages 956583842
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • Years: 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008

There may never be a team as dominant as Bill Russell’s Celtics. Over a thirteen year span, Russell led the Celtics to eleven NBA championships. Running plays on the bench was hall-of-fame coach Red Auerbach, who was so confident that he would routinely light celebratory cigars before games were technically over.

The Celtics remained dominant over the 70’s winning two championships, but their biggest challenge came in the 80’s. NBA viewership was on a major decline and the league was struggling to stay afloat. Enter Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and the league was saved.

The two superstars spurred one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, facing off in three separate NBA Finals with the Lakers winning two of them. The Celtics found their most recent success in 08’ after pairing Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Overall the Celtics have 22 NBA Finals appearances.

1. Los Angeles Lakers - 17 Championships

GettyImages 97280238
(Photo by Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Years: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020

The NBA’s first real dynasty wore purple and gold, but they didn’t play in Los Angeles. Before the days of playing in front of Hollywood elites, the Lakers called Minneapolis their home. They won five championships during those days, backed by big-man George Mikan. Despite their winning ways the Lakers couldn’t draw a crowd and subsequently jumped ship to Los Angeles.

After a decade of losing to the Celtics in the finals, the Lakers were sold to Jerry Buss, who changed sports entertainment forever, turning the Lakers ‘Forum’ into Showtime. They won five championships during an eight year span with hall-of-famers Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

After a period of marginal success, the Lakers got back to their winning ways after acquiring Kobe Bryant on a draft night trade in 1996. They paired him with superstar center Shaquille O’Neal and the rest was history.

Most recently, LeBron James brought his talent to the purple and gold and won the 2020 NBA Finals amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in the ‘bubble’. That championship in 2022 tied the Celtics for most NBA championships. Since the Lakers have been to 32 finals and the Celtics have only been to 22, they rank first on this list… for now.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down