For some unfortunate fans out there, they never get to witness their team experience ultimate success. For those fans, the NBA can be a harsh reality. The fact is, basketball is not an easy sport. It’s always been hard to win at a consistent level, and that’s usually what most NBA teams must deal with.
Out of 70 championships in the history of the league, two teams own 33 of them, and 5 teams own 70 percent of them. For the franchises that do find a way to win, however, they elevate themselves into an elite status. These are the Greatest Franchises in NBA History, factoring in anything from championships, win percentage, and roster history:
5. Houston Rockets
When you think of All-Time Great franchises, the Rockets usually aren’t the first team that comes to mind. But throughout the years, they’ve managed to win a lot of games. They rank 9th in All-Time franchise win percentage at 52% and are just one of ten teams to win multiple championships (they have won 2).
With players like Hakeem Olajuwon, Tracy McGrady, Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone, Yao Ming, and even James Harden, the Rockets have been riddled with plenty of talent through their history. What makes Houston especially unique, is that it’s a relatively small market team with a very quiet history.
The Rockets don’t always seem like an All-Time great franchise, but their consistency and their championships prove otherwise.
4. Chicago Bulls
When you think of the Chicago Bulls, images of Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, and Scottie Pippen almost surely come to mind. Jordan is perhaps the only reason the Bulls are what they are now, but isn’t that reason enough? When the G.O.A.T. wins 6 championships on your team, it will no doubt mark your teams place in the history books.
The Bulls are 8th in All-Time win percentage, third in total championships won, and play in a huge sports market. When a player wears a Bulls jersey, they are playing under the legacy of a legend and a sports town with a heart and will to win that is unrivaled.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Since the late 90’s, the Spurs have consistently been contending for a championship. They have a knack for staying out of headlines and find a way to make themselves relevant no matter how old their roster seems. The Spurs (as crazy as it sounds) have won 62.4% of their games. That’s the highest percentage in NBA History. Sitting just below Chicago with 5 rings, they have proven themselves in the post-season as well. Like Houston, San Antonio isn’t a very high market city. What makes the franchise to unique, is their culture. They build a team based on each other and focused on basketball.
The Spurs have had a history of a “team first” mentality, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. With guys like Greg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, and Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs have created an identity that no other franchise can match
2. Boston Celtics
17 NBA Championships is ridiculous. Other than the Lakers, no other team in the History of the NBA has more than 6. That large number of trophies speaks to how dominant the Celtics have been since the beginning of the NBA. Bob Cousy and Bill Russell formed an elite tandem in the 60s, where they’d win an NBA record 8 championships in a row. Fast forward a little bit, and you get guys like Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish to bring home more hardware in the 1980s against their rivals in Los Angeles. Then, of course, there’s the Celtics’ most recent chip in 2008, with Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and KG.
The history, the jewelry, the heart. It’s all there for the Celtics, and it’s not hard to imagine why Boston has such a deep love for their Celtics.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
There’s just something special about the city of Los Angeles. Maybe it’s the beautiful landscapes, or the dynamic culture, or just the 70-degree weather. The Lakers, it seems, have captured the same magic as their city. They rank 2nd in wins All-Time, 2nd in Championships All-Time, and have had some of the greatest Players in NBA History put on their infamous Purple and Gold. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson with their “showtime” Lakers, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and their old-time dominance, and of course Kobe, Shaq and their insane dynamic duo. Even their front-office and coaching personal has been filled with studs. Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, and Dr. Jerry Buss helped to keep this franchise on top for decades.
The Lakers have already accomplished more than any team will ever get a chance to do. And although they fall on hard times nowadays, don’t be fooled: they are destined to rise again.