Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Most NBA championships by team: Boston Celtics break tie with Los Angeles Lakers by winning 18th title

Most NBA championships by team: Boston Celtics break tie with Los Angeles Lakers by winning 18th title

The Celtics won their first championship in 18 years on Monday night, taking down the Mavericks in Game 5


When the 2023-24 NBA season began, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were tied atop the NBA’s all-time championship leaderboard at 17 titles apiece. If we’re being absolutely technical, the Lakers actually won an 18th title before the Celtics did. The problem? It was for the new, In-Season Tournament championship, not a traditional end-of-season title. Well, if there was any doubt about who sits atop the all-time championships throne, it has been erased. The Celtics clinched the 2024 NBA championship on Monday night with a Game 5 win over the Mavericks to win the NBA Finals.

It was the Celtics’ first title since the 2007-08 season as they won the championship exactly 16 years after their last one — which came on June 17, 2008.

Boston is now atop the league’s all-time leaderboard, with the Lakers now in second place with 17 titles. Here’s the entire board:

NBA championships by team

Team Number of championships

Boston Celtics

17 (1957, 1959-66, 1968-69, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)

Los Angeles Lakers

17 (1949, 1950, 1952-54, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987-88, 2000-02, 2009-10, 2020)

Golden State Warriors

7 (1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017-18, 2022)

Chicago Bulls

6 (1991-93, 1996-98)

San Antonio Spurs

5 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)

Miami Heat

3 (2006, 2012, 2013)

Detroit Pistons

3 (1989, 1990, 2004)

Philadelphia 76ers

3 (1955, 1967, 1983)

Milwaukee Bucks

2 (1971, 2021)

Houston Rockets

2 (1994, 1995)

New York Knicks

2 (1970, 1973)

Denver Nuggets

1 (2023)

Toronto Raptors

1 (2019)

Cleveland Cavaliers

1 (2016)

Dallas Mavericks

1 (2011)

Oklahoma City Thunder

1 (1979)

Washington Wizards

1 (1978)

Portland Trail Blazers

1 (1977)

Atlanta Hawks

1 (1958)

Sacramento Kings

1 (1951)

Baltimore Bullets

1 (1948)

The Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans have not won a single title. The Baltimore Bullets, who won in 1948, are now defunct. Several of the teams that have won titles did so either in different cities (such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, who won as the Seattle Supersonics in 1979 and the Sacramento Kings, who won as the Rochester Royals in 1951) or with different team names (such as the Washington Wizards, who won as the Bullets in 1977). The titles above correspond to who is considered the official NBA champion of that season.

The Lakers and Celtics alone have combined to win 35 of the total 78 championships awarded in league history or a bit less than 45%. They have a 10-title lead on every other team in the NBA, with the Warriors in third place with seven. 

In other words, it’s unlikely that any team is going to catch the Celtics any time soon unless the Lakers can do so. Everybody else, for the time being, is fighting for third place.

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