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The National Basketball Association (NBA) (or Basketball Association of America (BAA) from 1946–49) Finals is the championship series for the NBA and the conclusion of the sport's postseason. All Finals have been played in a best-of-seven format, and contested between the winners of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference (formerly Divisions before 1970), except in 1950 in which the Eastern Division champion faced the winner between the Western and Central Division champions. Prior to 1949, the playoffs were instituted a three-stage tournament where the two semifinal winners played each other in the finals.[1][2][3] The winning team of the series receives the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The home-and-away format was in a 2–2–1–1–1 format (that is, the team with the better regular season record plays on their home court in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7) until 1985 (except 1953–55, 1975 and 1978, the latter two in a 1–2–2–1–1 format). After 1985, the games were changed to a 2–3–2 format (the team with the better regular season record plays on their home court in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7). However, all other playoff series are still in a 2–2–1–1–1 format.[4]

The Eastern Conference/Division leads the Western Conference/Division in series won (35–27). The defunct Central Division won one championship. The Boston Celtics and Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers alone own more than half of the titles, having won a combined 32 of 63 championships.

Contents

Trophies

The Walter A. Brown Trophy displayed at the Basketball Hall of Fame

Walter A. Brown Trophy

The Walter A. Brown Trophy was a trophy awarded to the BAA/NBA champions from 1949 to 1977. The trophy was kept by the winning team for one year and given to the winning team of the following year's finals, unless the previous team won again, much like the NHL's Stanley Cup, which continues that tradition to this day.

The trophy was originally referred to as the NBA Finals trophy,[5] but was renamed in 1964 after Walter A. Brown, the original owner of the Boston Celtics who was instrumental in merging the BAA and the National Basketball League into the NBA in 1949.[6][7] A new trophy design was created for the 1977 NBA Finals, although it retained the Walter A. Brown title. Unlike the original championship trophy, the new trophy was given permanently to the winning team and a new one was made every year. It was renamed the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in 1984 to honor former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien.[8][9][10]

The inaugural winner of the trophy was the Philadelphia Warriors, who defeated the Chicago Stags.[11] The Boston Celtics won the trophy 14 times, the most in league history. From 1957 to 1969, they won the NBA Finals 11 out of 13 times, including eight consecutive wins. The final recipient of the trophy was the Philadelphia 76ers, who defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 NBA Finals.

Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

As mentioned above, the trophy was renamed to the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in 1984 in honor of the late Larry O'Brien, who served as the NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1983.[8] The trophy is made out of 14.5 pounds of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay, and stands two feet tall. It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a net. The year and team names are engraved on the trophies, and are often prominently displayed in the team's arena.[9][10][12]

The Boston Celtics were the inaugural winner of the renamed trophy in 1984 defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to three in the 1984 NBA Finals.[13] The Los Angeles Lakers have won the trophy seven times, and the Chicago Bulls have won it six times.[14]

Champions

Legend

Bold Winning team of the NBA Finals.
Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season.

BAA champions

Year Finalist Result Finalist Reference
1947 Philadelphia Warriors 4–1 Chicago Stags [15]
1948 Baltimore Bullets[a] 4–2 Philadelphia Warriors [16]
1949 Minneapolis Lakers 4–2 Washington Capitols [17]

NBA champions

Year Western Champion Result Eastern Champion Reference
1950 Minneapolis Lakers[b] 4–2 Syracuse Nationals [18][19]
1951 Rochester Royals 4–3 New York Knicks [20]
1952 Minneapolis Lakers 4–3 New York Knicks [21]
1953 Minneapolis Lakers 4–1 New York Knicks [22]
1954 Minneapolis Lakers 4–3 Syracuse Nationals [23]
1955 Ft. Wayne Pistons 3–4 Syracuse Nationals [24]
1956 Ft. Wayne Pistons 1–4 Philadelphia Warriors [25]
1957 St. Louis Hawks 3–4 Boston Celtics [26]
1958 St. Louis Hawks 4–2 Boston Celtics [27]
1959 Minneapolis Lakers 0–4 Boston Celtics [28]
1960 St. Louis Hawks 3–4 Boston Celtics [29]
1961 St. Louis Hawks 1–4 Boston Celtics [30]
1962 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics [31]
1963 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics [32]
1964[c] San Francisco Warriors 1–4 Boston Celtics [33]
1965 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Boston Celtics [34]
1966 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics [35]
1967 San Francisco Warriors 2–4 Philadelphia 76ers [36]
1968 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics [37]
1969 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics [38]
1970 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 New York Knicks [39]
1971 Milwaukee Bucks 4–0 Baltimore Bullets [40]
1972 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 New York Knicks [41]
1973 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 New York Knicks [42]
1974 Milwaukee Bucks 3–4 Boston Celtics [43]
1975 Golden State Warriors 4–0 Washington Bullets [44]
1976 Phoenix Suns 2–4 Boston Celtics [45]
1977[d] Portland Trail Blazers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers [46]
1978 Seattle SuperSonics 3–4 Washington Bullets [47]
1979 Seattle SuperSonics 4–1 Washington Bullets [48]
1980 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers [49]
1981 Houston Rockets 2–4 Boston Celtics [50]
1982 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers [51]
1983 Los Angeles Lakers 0–4 Philadelphia 76ers [52]
1984[e] Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics [13]
1985 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Boston Celtics [53]
1986 Houston Rockets 2–4 Boston Celtics [54]
1987 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Boston Celtics [55]
1988 Los Angeles Lakers 4–3 Detroit Pistons [56]
1989 Los Angeles Lakers 0–4 Detroit Pistons [57]
1990 Portland Trail Blazers 1–4 Detroit Pistons [58]
1991 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Chicago Bulls [59]
1992 Portland Trail Blazers 2–4 Chicago Bulls [60]
1993 Phoenix Suns 2–4 Chicago Bulls [61]
1994 Houston Rockets 4–3 New York Knicks [62]
1995 Houston Rockets 4–0 Orlando Magic [63]
1996 Seattle SuperSonics 2–4 Chicago Bulls [64]
1997 Utah Jazz 2–4 Chicago Bulls [65]
1998 Utah Jazz 2–4 Chicago Bulls [66]
1999 San Antonio Spurs 4–1 New York Knicks [67]
2000 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Indiana Pacers [68]
2001 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 Philadelphia 76ers [69]
2002 Los Angeles Lakers 4–0 New Jersey Nets [70]
2003 San Antonio Spurs 4–2 New Jersey Nets [71]
2004 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Detroit Pistons [72]
2005 San Antonio Spurs 4–3 Detroit Pistons [73]
2006 Dallas Mavericks 2–4 Miami Heat [74]
2007 San Antonio Spurs 4–0 Cleveland Cavaliers [75]
2008 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics [76]
2009 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 Orlando Magic [77]

Number of championships won by teams

Team Championships
Boston Celtics &0000000000000017.000000 17 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008)
Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers &0000000000000015.000000 15 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009)
Chicago Bulls &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
San Antonio Spurs &0000000000000004.000000 4 (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007)
Detroit Pistons &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1989, 1990, 2004)
Philadelphia / Golden State Warriors &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1947, 1956, 1975)
Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1955, 1967, 1983)
Houston Rockets &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1994, 1995)
New York Knicks &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973)
Baltimore Bullets (defunct)[a] &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1948)
Miami Heat &0000000000000001.000000 1 (2006)
Milwaukee Bucks &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1971)
Portland Trail Blazers &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1977)
Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1951)
Seattle SuperSonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1979)
St. Louis Hawks (now Atlanta Hawks) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1958)
Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1978)

Notes

  • a Not related to today's Washington Wizards which were formerly known as the Baltimore Bullets from 1963–1973.
  • b Due to the NBA's realignment into three divisions, the team with the best regular season record after the Divisional Finals advanced automatically to the NBA Finals while the other two teams faced off in the NBA Semifinals to determine the other finalist. Eastern Division champion Syracuse had the best regular season record among the division champions, causing Central Division (no relation to the current Central Division) champion Minneapolis to face Western Division champion Anderson Packers in the NBA Semifinals.[19]
  • c The trophy was renamed for Walter A. Brown.
  • d The trophy was replaced by a new design.[9][10]
  • e The trophy was renamed for Larry O'Brien.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rosen, Charley (2008). The First Tip-Off: The Incredible Story of the Birth of the NBA. Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 211–212. ISBN 0071487859.
  2. ^ Anderson, Corrie and Rob Reheuser, et al (2006). Sporting News Official 2006–2007 NBA Guide. Sporting News Books. ISBN 0892048549.
  3. ^ Brown, Donald H. (2007). A Best of Basketball Story. AuthorHouse. pp. 4–5 ISBN 1434341933.
  4. ^ Bob Ryan (June 23, 2005). "Time to turn back clock on format". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2005/06/23/time_to_turn_back_clock_on_format/. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ Shimberg, Jason (June 9, 2005). "NBA Finals Trophy: Can You Name It?". docsports.com. Docsports. http://www.docsports.com/nba-finals-trophy.html. Retrieved October 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Walter A. Brown". hoophall.com. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/bhof-walter-brown.html. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
  7. ^ "NBA". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/404512/National-Basketball-Association. Retrieved July 27, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Lawrence O'Brien". hoophall.com. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/bhof-larry-obrien.html. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c "Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy". NBA.com. National Basketball Association. http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/trophy_020712.html. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c "The trophies". St. Petersburg Times. Times Publishing Company. April 10, 2003. http://www.sptimes.com/2003/04/10/Lightning/The_trophies.shtml. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
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