Lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the NBA season is the ultimate goal for each of the 30 teams in the league. Executives also play a big role in an NBA team's success, and they get their due credit when big achievements are reached.
Individuals with the most rings in NBA history
In this article, we will list the five individuals with the most NBA championships in league history. It is fairly well-known that Bill Russell's tally of 11 championships is the largest among NBA players, past or present. However, this list will also consider championship rings won as an executive, head coach or assistant head coach.
Without further ado, let us start.
#5 Sam Jones - 10 NBA titles
Sam Jones played for the Boston Celtics between 1957 and 1969, and it was the biggest era of dominance the NBA has ever seen. A 6' 4'' wing player, Jones played his entire NBA career in Boston during Bill Russell's and Red Auerbach's era.
Jones won a total of 10 NBA championships, all as a player. Not only was he a member of the team that enjoyed all the success, but he also went to five All-Star games and earned three All-NBA selections in his career.
Jones averaged 17.7 points and five rebounds in his NBA career, along with 18.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in the NBA Playoffs.
#4 Bill Russell - 11 NBA titles
Bill Russell famously leads the players' standings with his 11 championship rings, which he won when playing for the Boston Celtics between 1956 and 1969.
Some might even argue that he has 13 championship rings, as he acted as the player/coach for the Celtics when the team won the title in 1968 and 1969. However, we will only consider 11 rings in this list.
Russell guided the Boston Celtics to the first 11 championships in franchise history and led the team to a record eight consecutive championships between 1959 and 1966.
#3 K.C. Jones - 12 NBA titles
K.C. Jones won 12 NBA championships in different roles during his trajectory in the league. As a player, Jones was a member of the Boston Celtics between 1958 and 1967 and won eight rings. He was a role player for the Celtics and went on to become an assistant coach in the NBA.
In 1972, he won a ring with the LA Lakers as an assistant coach to Bill Sharman. He was also one of Bill Fitch's assistant coaches when Boston won the 1981 NBA championship before leading the team to the 1984 and 1986 titles as head coach.
#2 Phil Jackson - 13 NBA titles
Phil Jackson's coaching career is well-documented, and some diehard NBA fans might know that he won 11 championships while coaching the 1990s Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers.
In total, Jackson won 13 NBA rings, as he was a member of the two New York Knicks' championships in 1970 and 1973.
As a coach, Jackson won six championships with Michael Jordan and the Bulls (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) before winning five titles with the LA Lakers (2000-2002, and 2009-2010).
Jackson is mostly known for his coaching career, but his career as a role player earned him two rings.
#1 Red Auerbach - 16 NBA titles
Red Auerbach led all coaches in NBA history with his nine NBA championships before Phil Jackson overtook him in that department. However, Auerbach quickly became a successful executive (general manager and team president) for the same team that he had coached to nine championships, the Boston Celtics.
Auerbach won nine titles as a coach, with Bill Russell leading the team on the court. Then, he pushed his tally of rings to 16 with seven triumphs as an executive for the franchise.
The Boston Celtics are tied with the LA Lakers for an NBA record 17 championships. Out of those 17 titles for Boston, Auerbach was a key member in the first 16.