History of the NBA Championship Ring
The NBA was established back in the late 1940s and has consistently grown in popularity whenever there are remarkable teams playing the game or championships being won. The word dynasty is used to describe an era of a team that cannot be compared to any other, and there have been more than one. The Boston Celtics in the 60s, L.A. Lakers in the 80s, and Chicago Bulls in the 90s all stand out as some of the best basketball ever played. All of this hard work was for one important goal, to walk away at the end of the season with a championship ring on their finger. Here is a brief history of important championship rings and who has more than anyone else.
Top 5 NBA Championship Rings
- Dallas Mavericks, 2011 – One of the greatest accomplishments in the history of the NBA has yet to be rewarded with a ring full of bling. The ring doesn’t exist yet, but should be on its way. Owner Mark Cuban decided he wanted to try something more creative, but with the backlash of the basketball community and media, he may just give in to popular demand. The Mavericks defeated the completely stacked Miami Heat, giving the Mavs, Jason Kidd, and Dirk Nowitzki their first championship and a chance to redeem themselves from the loss to the Heat in 2006. Now if Mark Cuban will just hurry up and get the guys their rings, the Mavs can be penciled in as one of the greatest stories in basketball history.
- Los Angeles Lakers, 2009 – The Lakers’ first back-to-back championship led by the larger than life superstar Kobe Bryant and crew. Kobe hadn’t tasted that sort of victory since his younger days with Shaq supporting underneath. Now Bryant has five rings, and there’s still a chance for more depending on how the team and their new coach work together this year.
- San Antonio Spurs, 2007 – The Spurs swept the young Cleveland Cavs and defeated LeBron James who is now infamous for losing in the championship round. Sweeping the finals is enough in itself to qualify the victory as one of the greatest in NBA history, but doing it to a team lead by superstar LeBron James makes it taste even better.
- Boston Celtics, 2008 – The team who first introduced “the big three” came through in a big way by bringing home the championship in the first year. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen dominated in 2008, but we have yet to see the same performance shine through again.
- Miami Heat, 2006 – Despite all of the controversy this year with their artificial “big three,” Dwayne Wade made a name for himself in Miami with his first and only championship in 2006. He took the underdog Heat to the finals and saved the big games when he needed to.
Players with the Most Championship Rings
- Bill Russell (11): Bill Russell stands alone with 11 championship rings, six more than any current player. He won the MVP award five times as a center for the Boston Celtics dynasty team during the 1960s. He earned 11 championships in his 13 years in the NBA and was the centerpiece to the most successful team in basketball history. He also holds the record for most champions won by any single American athlete in any sport.
- Sam Jones (10): Nicknamed “the shooter” because he was one of the most successful clutch scorers in basketball history, Sam Jones is second only to his teammate Bill Russell in number of championships. If he had joined the NBA a year or two earlier, he would have surely been atop the list with Russell. Russell was the defense and rebounder while Jones was the guy who could win the game in the last second with an amazing shot. The two teammates created the most dynamic duo ever to play in the NBA and no other dynasty has come close to surpassing their accomplishments.
- Tom Heinsohn (8): The only person to have been involved in an official capacity with the Celtics during all 17 of their championships and 21 NBA finals appearances was a player, coach, and is still a commentator. He played during the 60s dynasty alongside Bill Russell, Sam Jones, and crew.
- KC Jones (Boston Celtics, 59-67)
- Satch Sanders (Boston Celtics, 60-73)
- John Havlicek (Boston Celtics, 62-78) – Havlicek played during the Bill Russell dynasty but also continued on to play on the 1974 and 1976 championship teams. Over 16 years, he became the highest scoring Caucasian player in NBA history.
- Jim Loscutoff (7, Boston Celtics, 55-64)
- Frank Ramsey (Boston Celtics, 54-64)
- Robert Horry: The first player on this list that isn’t related to the Celtics dynasty of the 60s is Robert Horry. He won championships playing for three different teams. Two with the Houston Rockets, three with the Los Angeles Lakers, and two more with the San Antonio Spurs. His nickname “Big Shot Rob” comes from his ability to make the clutch shot in important games.
- Bob Cousy (6, Boston Celtics, 50-70)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The 80s were ruled by the Los Angeles Lakers and the obvious leader was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He started his dominant career with the Bucks but solidified his dynasty in the Lakers.
- Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen: The second best dynamic duo in NBA history is easily awarded to the leaders of the Chicago Bulls dynasty; Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen. Both players acquired six championship rings playing together. The popularity of the NBA skyrocketed when the Bulls showboated into 6 championships in 8 years from 1991-98.
- George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, Larry Siegfried, Don Nelson, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher (5)