NBA Teams With Most Finals Appearances: Los Angeles Lakers reached the the NBA 2020 Finals for the record 32nd time.
The Los Angeles Lakers have become the first team to confirm their berth in the NBA Finals this year. The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat are battling it out to become the other team in the Finals, with the Heat currently holding a 3-2 lead in their Conference Finals series.
Through the 73 NBA seasons played out thus far, we’ve seen a variety of changes take place. The Lakers, previously based in Minneapolis, moved to Los Angeles in the 60s. Other than the Lakers, the Syracuse Nationals, the Rochester Royals, Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia Warriors are all former NBA champions that have either moved to different cities or been rebranded.
Which NBA team holds the record of most Finals appearances? Which teams comprise of the top 10? Read on to find out.
#1 Los Angeles Lakers (previously Minneapolis Lakers) – 32 NBA Finals appearances
This is a record 32nd appearance at the biggest stage in the NBA for the Lakers, who have 16 wins and 15 losses in the Finals on their record. They are by far the team with the most NBA Finals appearances among all franchises. 6 of their NBA Finals appearances and 5 of their wins as a franchise have come during their time in Minneapolis. They moved base to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.
#2 Boston Celtics – 21 NBA Finals appearances
The Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise in NBA history, with 17 championship wins in 21 Finals appearances. Most of their wins came during a 13-year period with Bill Russell on the team, during the late 1950s and through the 1960s. The Celtics hold the streak for the most consecutive championships won, at a whopping 8 straight wins from 1959-1966.
#3 Golden State Warriors (previously Philadelphia and San Francisco Warriors) – 11 NBA Finals appearances
The Philadelphia Warriors were one of the founding franchises of the league and the very first champions of the NBA, for the 1946-47 season. They made 2 more Finals in Philadelphia, winning another title, before shifting to San Franciso in 1962 and finally to Oakland in 1971. Their final rebranding as the Golden State Warriors occurred in 1971, and now they represent the entire Bay Area with their new stadium in San Francisco.
#4 Philadelphia 76ers (previously Syracuse Nationals) – 9 NBA Finals appearances
The franchise has a 1-2 Finals record as the Nationals in Syracuse, and a 2-4 Finals record as the 76ers in Philadelphia. Their wins came in 1955 as the Nationals, and in 1967 and 1983 as the 76ers. Some of the greatest centers in league history have played in Philadelphia including Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone.
#5 New York Knicks – 8 NBA Finals appearances
The oldest NBA franchise and the one playing at the most iconic venue in basketball lore, the New York Knicks have been surprisingly bad for the duration of this century. With a 2-6 record in Finals, their only two wins came during the times of Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier.
#6 Detroit Pistons – 7 NBA Finals appearances
Founded as the Fort Wayne Pistons, the franchise came a cropper in its first two NBA Finals appearances. It then made the Finals again only in 1988, but won its first 2 champions back to back in the following two seasons. The Pistons last made a Finals appearance in 2005, and won their last title in 2004.
#7 Chicago Bulls – 6 NBA Finals appearances
The Bulls are the only team to have a perfect Finals record on this list. Led all 6 times by Michael Jordan to the Finals stage during the 1990s, the Bulls had 2 different threepeats. Jordan cemented his place as the greatest basketball player of all time with the second threepeat, finishing at the age of 35.
#8 San Antonio Spurs – 6 NBA Finals appearances
The Spurs have an almost perfect record in the Finals, except for the solitary 7-game series loss in 2012-13 at the hands of the Big Three Miami Heat. Formerly an ABA franchise, the Spurs first made the Finals and won the championship during Tim Duncan’s sophomore season in 1998-99.
#9 Miami Heat – 5 NBA Finals appearances
The Heat are one of the newer franchises in the league, founded in the late 80s as an expansion franchise. They first made an NBA Finals series in the year 2006, winning it all with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal playing the star roles. During the Big Three Heat era in the early period of last decade, they made 4 straight Finals and won back-to-back championships.
#10 Cleveland Cavaliers – 5 NBA Finals appearances
The Cavaliers have only LeBron James to credit for all of their NBA Finals appearances. They made their first Finals appearance during the final year of James’s rookie contract, and their next 4 appearances and only victory at the grandest stage of them all came after he returned to the franchise that drafted him, in 2016.
|No.||Team||W||L||Win%||Most recent appearance||Most recent title|
|32||Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers||16||15||.516||2010||2010|
|11||Philadelphia/San Francisco/Golden State Warriors||6||5||.545||2019||2018|
|9||Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers||3||6||.333||2001||1983|
|8||New York Knicks||2||6||.250||1999||1973|
|7||Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons||3||4||.429||2005||2004|
|6||San Antonio Spurs||5||1||.833||2014||2014|