In the sports world today, the worth of any player or team is based upon how many championships they own.
Personal accolades and regular season awards are great, but if you can’t win rings, you can forget being considered in the conversation for the best of all time.
Currently fighting to stand on the list for best franchises of all time is the Miami Heat. With 10 consecutive series wins, Miami is fighting for its third-straight championship crown.
The three-peat is a feat accomplished by just three teams in the history of the NBA: the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers were the first to three-peat in 1952-54 when they were still rooted in Minneapolis. More recently, Los Angeles won three-straight titles in 2000-02 behind one of the best duos in NBA history in Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have also known the glory of the three-peat twice, accomplishing it in 1991-93 and 1996-98. Chicago, of course, was led by arguably the best player to ever play the game of basketball, Michael Jordan.
The team standing above all however, is the Boston Celtics. The Celtics utterly dominated the basketball world in the sixties, winning eight championships in a row and 11 in 13 years from 1957-69. The master behind the success? A 6’10’’ center by the name of Bill Russell.
Russell, who is underrated when it comes to listing the best players of all time, holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league.
Similar to the Lakers, Celtics and Bulls, the Heat features one of the best players to ever grace a basketball court and certainly the best player currently playing the game right now: LeBron James. Miami also features the “Big Three” in James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, which has captivated audiences all over the world.
The Heat’s fast-paced, flashy play and incredible talent make them one of the most entertaining teams of all time if nothing else. They also play at a time where the level of competition around the league is much higher (excluding the Eastern Conference this season).
Every year now, there are a handful of teams fighting for the NBA Championship rather than just a couple teams that were powerhouses decades ago. It does make the idea of a three-peat seem even more remarkable.
Nevertheless, when it all comes down to it, it’s all about the rings. Boston leads the NBA in championships with an incredible 17 titles. The Lakers don’t rank far behind with 16.
Considering that a sports dynasty is defined as “a team that dominates its sport or league for an extraordinary length of time,” these are the two teams that should be considered dynasties.
They’re always in the hunt and rarely have off years. They’re the teams everyone wants to be a part of because there’s always a good chance to make history.
Bottom line, the Lakers and Celtics are the best teams in NBA history. Period.
With that said, Chicago would have to come next on the list for ranking of the best team with six crowns, all coming in the electrifying era that was Jordan.
The Jordan Era made Chicago a destination for great players and a city that desired greatness in the basketball world. Nevertheless, the Bulls are still looking for that next group to bring home more rings and give the Bulls multiple eras of greatness.
As for Miami, which currently owns three championships, another title would bring the Heat’s total to four, tying it for fourth-most crowns in NBA history with San Antonio.
Without a doubt, Miami will go down as one of the most elite franchises in the NBA if it can three-peat in June, but four franchise championships is a long way off from 17, 16 or even six crowns.
And considering that the number of championships determines your worth, the Heat still have a long way to go if it wants to move up in the ranking for best team.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of May 21, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Art by Emily Zhang of the Daily Nexus.