5 Teams with the most NBA Finals appearances

The Larry O
The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy.
Modified 08 Apr 2021

Reaching the NBA Finals and earning the chance to compete for the title is the main goal for any contending team in the world's most popular basketball league. Playing on the biggest stage of basketball is not only a high-pressure situation for an NBA franchise but is also a huge chance to make history.

5 Teams with most NBA Finals reached in league history

The Boston Celtics and LA Lakers dominance across NBA history is well-documented. In this article, we give you the five teams that have reached the most NBA Finals since the league was created in 1946.

The last decade, in particular, has seen other teams ascend to the pinnacle of the NBA after the Celtics and Lakers went through an uncharacteristic championship drought.

#5 New York Knicks - 8 NBA Finals appearances

NBA Finals record: 2-6

New York Knicks
New York Knicks' court at MSG

The New York Knicks are one of the most famous NBA franchises in history, and they've also seen some success, mostly in the 20th century. The Knicks organization has played in eight NBA Finals in its 75-year history.


The New York Kicks have been a member of the NBA since the league's first season, when it was known as the BAA (Basketball Association of America).

New York has two NBA championships, won in 1970 and 1973, but the team has six losses in The Finals. In its first three appearances on basketball's biggest stage (1951, 1952, and 1953) the franchise failed to win. The other three losses came in 1972, 1994 and 1999.

#4 Philadelphia 76ers - 9 NBA Finals appearances

NBA Finals record: 3-6

76ers' championship banners.

The Philadelphia 76ers entered the NBA in 1949, named as the Syracuse Nationals and they won the 1955 championship under that moniker. The team became the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963, having already played in three NBA Finals.

With Wilt Chamberlain on the team, the Sixers won the 1967 championship but had to wait until 1976, when the NBA-ABA merger took place, to have another run at the title. With Julius ''Dr.J.' Erving on the team, the 76ers won the title in 1983 with Moses Malone as the best player, and made it to four Finals between 1977 and 1983.


The ninth, and most recent, appearance in The Finals for the Sixers came in 2001. That year, Allen Iverson led the team to the deciding series, but lost to the Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant LA Lakers in five games.

#3 Golden State Warriors - 11 NBA Finals appearances

NBA Finals record: 6-5

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates with the Larry O
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

The Golden State Warriors have been a historic NBA franchise for a long time, and the organization has found success both in the past and in recent memory. The Warriors have made it to 11 NBA Finals and won their first BAA championship when they were based in Philadelphia.

As the Philadelphia Warriors, the franchise won two championships (1947 and 1956) and made it to another edition of the deciding round in 1948. The Warriors then moved to San Francisco in 1962, and were renamed as the San Francisco Warriors before they fell in two NBA Finals series in 1964 and 1967.

As the Golden State Warriors, the organization won the 1975 title and then started a huge run in 2015. They played five consecutive NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, and won three championships (2015, 2017, and 2018).

#2 Boston Celtics - 21 NBA Finals appearances

NBA Finals record: 17-4

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics' logo.

The Boston Celtics have been unbelievable in the NBA Finals. When they started winning titles with Bill Russell in the late 1950s, the franchise won 11 in 13 seasons, including eight in a row between 1959 and 1966. In that 13-year run, the team lost only in The Finals once (1958).

The Celtics reached a couple of championship series in the 1970s, and won both times. During Larry Bird's era in the 1980s, Boston made it to five NBA Finals between 1981 and 1986, winning three championships.

In 2008, the Boston Celtics returned to the NBA Finals after 21 years, and defeated the LA Lakers before the LA team exacted revenge in 2010.

#1 LA Lakers - 32 NBA Finals appearances

NBA Finals record: 17-15

General view of the LA Lakers
General view of the LA Lakers' championship banners.

The LA Lakers have played the most NBA Finals in league history with a whopping 32. The historic franchise has taken 17 victories in the NBA Finals, and finished on the losing side 15 times.


The Lakers were located in Minneapolis for their first 12 BAA/NBA seasons, and made it to The Finals six times, winning five championships. It took 12 more seasons for the Lakers to win their first championship in Los Angeles (1972), but they had played in seven championship series since moving to LA in 1960.

Five championships and nine appearances in the NBA Finals took place during the Showtime era with Magic Johnson (1979-1991), and eight appearances in the deciding round (and six more titles) have come since 2000.

Impressively, the Lakers have made it to The Finals in every decade of BAA/NBA basketball, and apart from the 1960s and 1990s, the franchise has won championships in every decade.

Also read: 5 NBA players who are single-handedly carrying their team this season

Published 08 Apr 2021, 12:40 IST
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