NBA basketball is a league of its kind. The style of play, the players’ costumes design, the designs of the playing courts, and the ball are all unique. If you talked to any basketball player at their infant stages of the play, they’ll tell you that their dream is not only to play in the NBA league but also to win the NBA championship.
Any player to have participated in the NBA, and successfully won a championship would proudly tell you, that was the most significant moment of their career. Approximately 84% of basketball players who have participated in the NBA league have never won this trophy despite their commitment for years.
It takes the efforts of all the players in a team to win the NBA championship. It is not the about one elite player or a handful of superior skillset that will get you this much coveted trophy. The NBA has seen many players earning prominence from all corners of the world that unfortunately have never won the NBA championship.
Despite the NBA tittle having only been won by a mere 16% of all the players who have ever taken part in the showpiece, there has been some lucky and talented players who have won it multiple times.
How many NBA titles have been contested for in the NBA history, and who are the NBA rings greatest winners in the leagues’ history?
Most NBA Titles: By Team
The most successful NBA history teams are associated with the players who have won the championship rings several times. Some of these NBA teams are;
Boston Celtics-17 NBA Championships.
The great Celtics are based in Massachusetts's state in the city of Boston; they make one of the most successful basketball teams in NBA history. They have clinched a record 17 NBA titles. They triumphed over St. Louis Hawks during the season of 1956/57 to pocket their first title. Between the seasons of 1958/59 and 1965/66, the Celtics won a record eight NBA titles consecutively. This was realized with a team line up of; Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Frank Ramsey, Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Bill Russell (the most league’s valuable player for five concurrent times).
In the history of NBA, Celtics were the first team to dominate the league in the 1950s and 60s. Between the years of 1957-1970, they managed to win 11 titles, meaning, they only failed to win the title for three years in this period. They carried on with their success in the 1980s and 2000s, and they have maintained their stability in the league all through.
The Celtics boast of being the most successful team in the NBA league history. Their championship spree accounts for them at 23.9% winnings against all the other teams since the league was founded.
Los Angeles Lakers -16 NBA Championships
The Los Angeles Lakers are based in the city of Los Angeles in the state of California. Since 1999 they have played home matches at Staples center. The Lakers’ franchise was born in 1947 in Minneapolis in Minnesota. They pocketed five championships while in Minnesota before relocating to Los Angeles during the NBA season of 1960/1961
The year 1972 saw the Lakers record a massive success upon managing a winning streak of 33 games, which lead them to win the 6th title. In the 1980s, Lakers' victory moved even higher as they managed to win five more championships in nine years. In this span, two wins were grabbed from their arch-rivals by then, the Boston Celtics.
Between 2000 and 2010, the Lakers appeared in seven NBA finals that are in the years of 2000,2001,2002,2004,2008,2009 and 2010. They only lost in 2004 and 2008. They however won consecutively from 2000 to 2002 and later 2009 and 2010.
The Lakers are record holders for achieving 3,125 wins, which is the highest ever in the NBA league. This was achieved in the 2014/25 season. The Lakers have won 16 NBA championships, one below Boston Celtics. They have recorded a 60 plus wins, eleven times in regular-season games, a record that can only be matched by the Boston Celtics.
Golden State Warriors - 6 Championships
The Golden Warriors are based in San Francisco, California. They are part of the Western Conference and members of the Pacific Division. Their first Championship trophy was attained at the inauguration of the Basketball Association of America(BAA) in 1947. They also won it again in 1956, but this round having changed its name to National Basketball Association (NBA).
After being crowned the Championship in 1956, the Warriors struggled for several years until 1975 when they won their 3rd Championship thanks to great players; Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes. From 1975 it took them almost four decades before they could test another championship that came their way in 2015.
After the win of 2015, the Warriors did not wait long before going for their fifth and sixth championships in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Some of the great names who played for the Golden State Warriors include; Tom Gola, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, and Kelvin Durant.
Chicago Bulls - 6 Championship
The Bulls are based in the city of Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1966 by Dick Klein. Since its birth, the Bulls did not clinch any championship until the year 1991 having waited for over thirty years. All worked well to them for the next two consecutive seasons and again successfully lifted the Championship in 1992 and 1993 through the inspiration of one of the NBA players of all time Michael Jordan.
After attaining the three consecutive winnings of the Championship with Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan retired in 1993 only to come back in 1995. Upon arriving, Jordan inspired his side again to clinch the Championship in the years of 1996,1997, and 1998 thus attaining the record six Championships. That was quite an achievement by Michael Jordan.
Most Individual Rings: Runner Ups.
Boston Celtics Players, who played for the team in 1957 to 1970, dominates the top spots in individual ring attainment records. This can be attributed to the fact that. During this period of 1957 to 1970, as we can baptize it "the period of Celtics success," most of their players played for the team for a long time. Unlike what we know of the current NBA, where a player can play for several teams attaining achievements at one side or the other or even both or even failing to impress in one team and exciting in the other. Here is a list of Boston Celtic players who attained several championship rings in their careers.
Frank Ramsey: He was born on 13th July 1931. Ramsey played for the Celtics in his whole nine years career. He is remembered for winning 7 Championships as part of the Boston Celtics team.
James Loscutoff Jr: Born on 4th February 1930. He played a crucial role in the Celtics team as a forward. He achieved seven Championships in his career between 1956 and 1964.
John Havlicek: He played for 16 years with Boston Celtics attaining 8 Championships, of which the first four were achieved in his first four seasons in the team.
Thomas Ernest “Satch”: He spent his entire playing career at Celtics, winning eight Championships with the team in 13 seasons. He is also remembered for having coached the basketball team for Harvard Crimson and the team he had spent his whole career in (Boston Celtics).
K.C.Jones: His name went to Boston Celtics and the NBA historical record books for having won 11 Championships with Celtics. Out of the 11 Championships, He won eight as a player, an assistant coach, and two as Celtics coaches.
Thomas William Heinsohn: Was born on 26th August 1934. He has spent over 60 years in the National Basketball Association as a player, coach, and basketball commentator. He was the Celtics Player between 1956 to1965 where he won eight Championships with the team. He also served as Celtics coach in the years 1969 to 1978 and over three decades as a Celtics commentator.
Samuel Jones: He was born on 24th June 1993, through his playing career he was highly talented in taking game-winning shots, especially during NBA playoffs. He is celebrated for having achieved ten championship rings in his career. He was one of the players who took part in winning the Celtics 8 consecutive championship from 1959 to1966.
William Felton Russell: Russell was born on 12th February 1994. He played for Celtics between 1956 and 1969. He made several historical records in NBA, and he is hailed as the player who won most Championships rings. Let’s visit other Championship achievers from other teams in NBA’s history before we come to Russell.
Guided by the above summary of players’ achievements and the number of times they won the Championship. The Celtics dominated the NBA league in the late years of the 1950s and the 1960s, thus great achievements tied to their names. However, some other players from other leagues add to the list. They include:
Robert Horry: He has seven Championship titles to his name. Two won with Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995, 3 with Los Angeles between 2000 and 2002, the other two he won with Antonio Spurs within 2005 and 2007.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar: He has won a total of 6 titles. his titles were won with teams of Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks between 1971 and 1988.
Michael Jordan: Also known as Scottie Pippen, he has six titles in his name, all of which were earned at Chicago Bulls in a spree of two consecutive times: 1991,1992,1993, and later 1996,1997, 1998. Championship.
Most NBA Rings: Bill Russell.
Bill Russell is known to have made some of the greatest achievements in the history of the NBA. One of his key accomplishments is that he is the player with most Championship rings in the league, having garnered 11 of them out of 13 seasons he played for Boston Celtics. He is known for being the NBA most valuable player for a record five times. He is hailed to be the player who raised defensive play in the NBA league to another level.
Russell is a 12-time NBA all-star. It is argued that the number of Championship rings he won as a player were too many to fit in his fingers! Russell had won NCAA Championship in 1955 and 1956 with San Francisco Dons before proceeding to win NBA Championship in 1957 with Boston Celtics joining the list of the only first four basketballers in history to win both NBA Championship and NCAA Championship in a row. Russell was the captain of the United States of America team during the 1956 summer Olympics. His biggest rivalry through his career was Wilt Chamberlain, who was more dominant and a better scorer, but Russell managed to outplay him whenever they faced each other.
In his career, Bill Russell faced some challenges, the greatest of all being racism. At an early age, Russell witnessed his parent's subjection to racism, forcing them to move to a government housing scheme to escape prejudice. He recalls the jeers he went through with his fellow black teammates from white teammates during his days.
He even encountered this bigotry being a basketball star in Boston. He recalls a time when his fellow black teammates were denied rooms in a hotel in northern California during the NBA All-Stars tour to the U.S in 1958 offseason. Together with his black teammates, Russell was again denied service at a local restaurant when they went to play an exhibition game in Lexington before the start of 1961/62 season.
The bottom line
It is evident that despite all the subjection to racism prejudice from his tender age, schooling days till he become a basketball star, Russell beat all the odds and climbed the topmost in his basketball career. He did not let racism bar him from attaining his goals, and thus, becoming one of the greatest basketballers to ever grace the game.