The National Basketball Association (NBA) Championships are one of the most coveted prizes in US sport.
Nineteen different franchises have won at least one title and three teams – Lakers, Warriors and 76ers – have done so playing for different cities.
Only five teams – Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Spurs and Warriors – have won more than three championships in total and between them account for almost 70 per cent of the titles.
There have been some surprise winners along the way though with the Pistons taking the title in 2004, while the Mavericks beat the ‘big three’ in 2011.
The Cavaliers may have had the great LeBron James but in 2016 they became the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, and statistically beat the best team ever – the Warriors – in the process.
The new NBA season begin on October 16, you can have a bet on every opening NBA games here.
Here is our extensive guide to everything you need to know about the NBA.
List of NBA Champions since 1947 to 2018
|Year||Winning team||Coach||Results||Losing team||Coach|
|2018||Golden State Warriors||Steve Kerr||4–0||Cleveland Cavaliers||Tyronn Lue|
|2017||Golden State Warriors||Steve Kerr||4–1||Cleveland Cavaliers||Tyronn Lue|
|2016||Cleveland Cavaliers||Tyronn Lue||4–3||Golden State Warriors||Steve Kerr|
|2015||Golden State Warriors||Steve Kerr||4–2||Cleveland Cavaliers||David Blatt|
|2014||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich||4–1||Miami Heat||Erik Spoelstra|
|2013||Miami Heat||Erik Spoelstra||4–3||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich|
|2012||Miami Heat||Erik Spoelstra||4–1||Oklahoma City Thunder||Scott Brooks|
|2011||Dallas Mavericks||Rick Carlisle||4–2||Miami Heat||Erik Spoelstra|
|2010||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson||4–3||Boston Celtics||Doc Rivers|
|2009||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson||4–1||Orlando Magic||Stan Van Gundy|
|2008||Boston Celtics||Doc Rivers||4–2||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson|
|2007||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich||4–0||Cleveland Cavaliers||Mike Brown|
|2006||Miami Heat||Pat Riley||4–2||Dallas Mavericks||Avery Johnson|
|2005||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich||4–3||Detroit Pistons||Larry Brown|
|2004||Detroit Pistons||Larry Brown||4–1||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson|
|2003||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich||4–2||New Jersey Nets||Byron Scott|
|2002||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson||4–0||New Jersey Nets||Byron Scott|
|2001||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson||4–1||Philadelphia 76ers||Larry Brown|
|2000||Los Angeles Lakers||Phil Jackson||4–2||Indiana Pacers||Larry Bird|
|1999||San Antonio Spurs||Gregg Popovich||4–1||New York Knicks||Jeff Van Gundy|
|1998||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–2||Utah Jazz||Jerry Sloan|
|1997||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–2||Utah Jazz||Jerry Sloan|
|1996||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–2||Seattle SuperSonics||George Karl|
|1995||Houston Rockets||Rudy Tomjanovich||4–0||Orlando Magic||Brian Hill|
|1994||Houston Rockets||Rudy Tomjanovich||4–3||New York Knicks||Pat Riley|
|1993||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–2||Phoenix Suns||Paul Westphal|
|1992||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–2||Portland Trail Blazers||Rick Adelman|
|1991||Chicago Bulls||Phil Jackson||4–1||Los Angeles Lakers||Mike Dunleavy|
|1990||Detroit Pistons||Chuck Daly||4–1||Portland Trail Blazers||Rick Adelman|
|1989||Detroit Pistons||Chuck Daly||4–0||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley|
|1988||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley||4–3||Detroit Pistons||Chuck Daly|
|1987||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley||4–2||Boston Celtics||K. C. Jones|
|1986||Boston Celtics||K. C. Jones||4–2||Houston Rockets||Bill Fitch|
|1985||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley||4–2||Boston Celtics||K. C. Jones|
|1984||Boston Celtics||K. C. Jones||4–3||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley|
|1983||Philadelphia 76ers||Billy Cunningham||4–0||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley|
|1982||Los Angeles Lakers||Pat Riley||4–2||Philadelphia 76ers||Billy Cunningham|
|1981||Boston Celtics||Bill Fitch||4–2||Houston Rockets||Del Harris|
|1980||Los Angeles Lakers||Paul Westhead||4–2||Philadelphia 76ers||Billy Cunningham|
|1979||Seattle SuperSonics||Lenny Wilkens||4–1||Washington Bullets||Dick Motta|
|1978||Washington Bullets||Dick Motta||4–3||Seattle SuperSonics||Lenny Wilkens|
|1977||Portland Trail Blazers||Jack Ramsay||4–2||Philadelphia 76ers||Gene Shue|
|1976||Boston Celtics||Tom Heinsohn||4–2||Phoenix Suns||John MacLeod|
|1975||Golden State Warriors||Al Attles||4–0||Washington Bullets||K. C. Jones|
|1974||Boston Celtics||Tom Heinsohn||4–3||Milwaukee Bucks||Larry Costello|
|1973||New York Knicks||Red Holzman||4–1||Los Angeles Lakers||Bill Sharman|
|1972||Los Angeles Lakers||Bill Sharman||4–1||New York Knicks||Red Holzman|
|1971||Milwaukee Bucks||Larry Costello||4–0||Baltimore Bullets||Gene Shue|
|1970||New York Knicks||Red Holzman||4–3||Los Angeles Lakers||Joe Mullaney|
|1969||Boston Celtics||Bill Russell||4–3||Los Angeles Lakers||Butch van Breda Kolff|
|1968||Boston Celtics||Bill Russell||4–2||Los Angeles Lakers||Butch van Breda Kolff|
|1967||Philadelphia 76ers||Alex Hannum||4–2||San Francisco Warriors||Bill Sharman|
|1966||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–3||Los Angeles Lakers||Fred Schaus|
|1965||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–1||Los Angeles Lakers||Fred Schaus|
|1964||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–1||San Francisco Warriors||Alex Hannum|
|1963||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–2||Los Angeles Lakers||Fred Schaus|
|1962||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–3||Los Angeles Lakers||Fred Schaus|
|1961||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–1||St. Louis Hawks||Paul Seymour|
|1960||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–3||St. Louis Hawks||Ed Macauley|
|1959||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–0||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla|
|1958||St. Louis Hawks||Alex Hannum||4–2||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach|
|1957||Boston Celtics||Red Auerbach||4–3||St. Louis Hawks||Alex Hannum|
|1956||Philadelphia Warriors||George Senesky||4–1||Fort Wayne Pistons||Charles Eckman|
|1955||Syracuse Nationals||Al Cervi||4–3||Fort Wayne Pistons||Charles Eckman|
|1954||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla||4–3||Syracuse Nationals||Al Cervi|
|1953||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla||4–1||New York Knicks||Joe Lapchick|
|1952||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla||4–3||New York Knicks||Joe Lapchick|
|1951||Rochester Royals||Les Harrison||4–3||New York Knicks||Joe Lapchick|
|1950||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla||4–2||Syracuse Nationals||Al Cervi|
|1949||Minneapolis Lakers||John Kundla||4–2||Washington Capitols||Red Auerbach|
|1948||Baltimore Bullets||Buddy Jeannette||4–2||Philadelphia Warriors||Eddie Gottlieb|
|1947||Philadelphia Warriors||Eddie Gottlieb||4–1||Chicago Stags||Harold Olsen|
Top NBA teams
The new NBA season is not long away now, and pre-season games begin this week ahead of the big kick-off on October 17. Here’s a guide of the top NBA teams around at the moment.
Golden State Warriors
All you have to do is look at their record over the last four years to see they are the side to beat.
They have been involved in the last four finals and won three. They should have made it a clean sweep, but let a 3-1 lead slip to a LeBron James inspired Cleveland Cavaliers, and it is hard to not see them not being involved in the final once again this season
They may not have been in a final since 2010, but if you look at their history in the game then it is clear to see they are one of the most decorated NBA sides ever.
A dominant spell in the 1960-70s saw them reach 10 consecutive finals and they won nine of those, with the only blip coming against St Louis Hawks in 1958 for Red Auerbach’s side.
The Rockets have been in four finals, losing their first two back in 1981 and 1986 before making it back-to-back wins in 1994 and 1995 under the leadership of Rudy Tomjanovich.
The Lakers have a big history in NBA and have participated in a staggering 31 finals (W16, L15) but have not reached one since winning the title back in 2010 – an 8-year hiatus and they have looked to address that by adding a certain LeBron James to their roster for the new season.
Known as the LA Lakers since 1958, they won their first five titles as Minneapolis.
Which NBA team so the biggest improvements?
The Philadelphia 76ers have improved hugely in recent years, partly due to a few seasons of ‘tanking’ – giving rise to the infamous catchphrase of ‘Trust the Process’.
A team with a bright young core of high draft picks and built around one of the game’s best big men in Joel Embiid, and athletic freak Ben Simmons, the Sixers are now genuinely feared throughout the game, and are almost a lock to be a top seed in the Eastern Conference if they play to their potential.
Top NBA League players
There have been so many great players to grace the NBA over the years and singling out the top five is always contentious, but below are five of the biggest names.
This man needs no introduction and his impact on the sport has been considerable.
He’s a six-time NBA Champion with the great Chicago Bulls and he picked up the MVP award in every single one of those finals as well, while also scooping the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on five occasion.
He went into retirement for two years citing a loss of the desire to play the game, but returned and enjoyed further success with the Bulls.
Another retirement and then a spell with the Washington Wizards between 2001 and 2003, before he hung his boots for good at the end of that season.
‘King’ James is often considered to be the best basketball player in the world, and by some, the greatest of all time.
He has picked up four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP awards, two Olympic gold medals to name just a few of his biggest achievements to date.
His first spell with the Cavalier brought no reward besides a 4-0 final defeat in 2007, but enjoyed plenty of success at Miami Heat, guiding them to three finals and two wins.
Shaq as he was affectionately known stood at 7ft 1 and weighed 150kg. One of only three players to win NBA MVP, All star MVP and Finals MVP in the same year, he also won four NBA Championships and made the All-Star team 15 times throughout his career.
Such was his legacy in the NBA that he has had his jersey retired by both the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, and was named NBA scoring champion twice.
Kareem was a special player for a number of reasons. He was the first NBA player to play 20 seasons, and in that time, he was MVP six times, NBA champion six times, and still holds the records for most points scored and career wins.
Part of the incredible ‘Showtime’ Lakers, his trademark ‘Skyhook’ shot became a sight to be feared for opponents, due to its almost unblockable nature.
Widely considered one of the greatest shooters of all time, Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named Rookie of the Year, MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.
His contribution to basketball is almost unparalleled, and he spearheaded one of the leagues original ‘Big Three’ that won three championships in five seasons. Bird won three consecutive MVP awards, and even starred in the movie Space Jam for good measure.