- Bill Russell won eleven NBA championships, more than any other player in history.
- All but three of the players on this list played for the Boston Celtics during the late 1950s and 1960s.
- All the players on this list, except Jim Loscutoff and Robert Horry, have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Only a select few athletes get to play at the professional level. Even fewer get the chance to win a championship in their sport. In fact, many if not most professional athletes will end their careers without ever winning a championship. Basketball is no exception. Some of the greatest players in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) retired without ever winning the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. There have been, however, some NBA players who have not just won a single championship, but several of them. Here is a list of NBA players with the most championships.
13. Scottie Pippen
Pippen is one of four players in the history of the NBA to win six championships. He won all of them playing for the Chicago Bulls, who built a dynasty in the 1990s, winning the championship six times during the decade. He was generally regarded as the second-best player on the Bulls squad, after Michael Jordan. In addition to his six NBA titles, he is also a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, a member of the NBA’s All Defensive First Team (1992-1999), and a seven-time All-Star.
12. Michael Jordan
Today, people still call Jordan the greatest basketball player who ever lived. His six championships, all with the Chicago Bulls, were just some of his many awards during his career. He was also a five-time league MVP, a six-time NBA Finals MVP, a fourteen-time NBA All-Star, a three-time All-Star MVP, and a ten-time NBA scoring title recipient, not to mention the fact that he retired with the NBA’s highest scoring average, at 30.1 points per game. And these are just some of his accolades.
11. Bob Cousy
He was benched by his coach in college because of his unorthodox style of play, but Bob Cousy would go on to be one of the most important players on the Boston Celtics, as they began to build their unparalleled dynasty in the late 1950s and 1960s. He won six NBA titles with the Celtics, and led the league in assists for eight consecutive seasons.
10. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Before Michael Jordan, there was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Originally born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971, after converting to Islam. Upon his retirement in 1989, he held the NBA records for points, blocked shots, MVP awards, All-Star Game appearances, and most seasons played. He began his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, but then moved to the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won all six of his NBA championships.
9. Jim Loscutoff
Loscutoff won seven NBA championships, all with the Boston Celtics, for whom he played from 1955 to 1964. He was selected third overall in the 1955 NBA draft, as the Celtics were in desperate need of a good defender, and Loscutoff was a prominent rebounder, playing for the University of Oregon. Not surprisingly, he managed to set a record for team rebounds in his rookie year with 27 of them in one game.
8. Frank Ramsey
Ramsey won seven championships in his nine seasons of play for the Boston Celtics. Although he was not the recipient of other NBA awards, Ramsey was considered a clutch player who played his best at the right times. During his career he averaged 13.4 points per game, though he never scored less than 17.1 points per game in the post-season. His jersey, number 23, is among 22 jerseys retired by the Celtics.
7. Robert Horry
In just his second season, Horry became an NBA champion, and would go on to win six additional titles before the end of his career, playing for the Rockets, the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, he won championships with all the teams he was part of, except the Suns. In addition, he still holds the NBA record for the most 3-point shots made, without missing, at seven.
6. Tom Sanders
Also known as “Satch”, Tom Sanders is another member of the legendary Boston Celtics dynasty of the late 1950s and 1960s. He would go on to win eight NBA championships with the team before retiring after the 1972-73 season. He had a career average of 9.6 points per game, but scoring was not his forte. It was on defense that the New York native gained distinction. After he retired, he went on to coach both the Celtics and at the collegiate level. He also served as the NBA’s Director of Player Programs.
5. K.C. Jones
He averaged just 7.4 points a game. His shot accuracy was dismal, and he was a poor free throw shooter. Yet, Jones managed to win eight NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. In fact, he won championships in all but the last year of his career. Although certainly not a scoring sensation, Jones often ran the offensive plays for his team. On defense, he smothered the star scorers on the opposing teams. After he retired, Jones continued his winning ways as a coach, winning seven division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, and two championships.
4. Tom Heinsohn
Another intricate part of the late 1950s and early 60s Boston Celtics dynasty, Heinsohn won eight championships with the team during his career. During his rookie season, for which he was awarded NBA Rookie of the Year, he scored 37 points in the last game of the NBA finals against the St. Louis Hawks, which the Celtics won in double overtime to win their first ever championship.
3. John Havlicek
Havlicek, nicknamed “Hondo”, joined the Boston Celtics in the second half of their great dynasty in the 1960s. He averaged 20.8 points per game to become the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer. In the latter half of his career, the Celtics’ dynasty had come to an end, but Havlicek would continue with the team, helping them win two more championships in 1974 and 1976. By the end of his career, he had racked up eight NBA championships.
2. Sam Jones
When Jones was selected by the Boston Celtics as the eighth overall pick in the 1957 NBA draft, he didn’t believe he had any realistic chance of actually making the team. He needn’t have worried, as the North Carolina native would go on to play for the Boston Celtics dynasty of the late 1950s and 1960s from the beginning to the end. Nicknamed “Mr. Clutch”, he won the NBA championship with the Celtics in ten of the twelve years he played for them.
1. Bill Russell
No one has won more NBA championships than the Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell, who won eleven of them. He was the man who led the Celtics’ mid-20th century dynasty. Not only did Russell win more NBA titles than any other player in history, but he was also a five-time league MVP and a twelve-time All-Star. Russell was a decent scorer at an average of 15.1 points per game, but he also made his mark on defense, and was a tenacious shot-blocker. His biggest strength, however, was probably his rebounding. He averaged 22.5 rebounds per game, and led the league in rebounds in four seasons.