NBA  > General NBA  > Greatest NBA Franchise: Celtics or Lakers?
June 19, 2010, 08:52 PM
Just wanting to get thoughts from fannation on who people think is the greatest NBA franchise since there's been a lot of talk lately about the LA and Boston rivalry...

Here's the facts as I see them:
Boston - Won a record 17 championships, including 8 in a row with the greatest dynasty ever, made the finals 21 times (winning over 80% of its Finals appearances), won 9 of 12 times against the Lakers in the Finals, has some of the all-time greats including Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, and Paul Pierce among others...

Lakers - Won 16 championships, has won 3 of last 4 against the Celtics, has been to the finals a record 31 times, has the highest all-time win percentage, has won more games than the Celtics (despite playing fewer years), only missed playoffs 5 times, most NBA playoff wins and playoff series wins in NBA history, all-time greats include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant among others...

There's a lot more that people can obviously talk about, but please give your take on which franchise you think is the all-time greatest and why.
July 1, 2010  07:41 PM ET

Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers both returning to their teams. I think Pierce is also going to re-sign with the Celtics. We could possibly see a re-match next year in the Finals.

It'll be tough for the Lakers to 3-peat, but if they do, I still think they can take the claim away from Boston as being the greatest all-time franchise. The only thing Boston will have on the Lakers is a 9-3 head-to-head record. LA has them beat in every other way: consistency, more dynasties, more trips to the Finals, better winning percentage, most playoff series and games won, and most regular season games won (in 2 fewer years than the Celtics).

It'll be fun to see in the offseason what each team does as the rest of the NBA has its sights set on some of the big-time free agents.

July 5, 2010  11:15 PM ET
QUOTE:

I do think there's a valid point about players being better today than in the 60s. They're bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic. I think guys like Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, DWade, etc... benefit from learning from the predecessors. This is a huge advantage because they can copy the best moves from all the greats before them. No knock on players from decades ago, but this was bound to happen. Can you imagine a player that combines the scoring ability of Jordan, the playmaking of Magic, the shooting touch of Bird, and the defense of Pippen? I wouldn't be surprised if we see such a "super player" in the coming decades...

I believe that player has a name and it is Kobe Bean Bryant

July 7, 2010  12:56 PM ET
QUOTE:

Consistency goes to the Lakers. They rarely miss the playoffs while the Celtics were MIA for a long time. Both teams have good arguments though. The 17 titles with many of them over the Lakers is huge. When the Lakers pass the Celtics there won't be any argument however. Gotta give the Lakers the edge.

I agree with your analysis. One thing to consider in this is take one Celtic player away from this argument and they fall below the Bulls in championships.

July 7, 2010  12:59 PM ET
QUOTE(#23):

Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers both returning to their teams. I think Pierce is also going to re-sign with the Celtics. We could possibly see a re-match next year in the Finals. It'll be tough for the Lakers to 3-peat, but if they do, I still think they can take the claim away from Boston as being the greatest all-time franchise. The only thing Boston will have on the Lakers is a 9-3 head-to-head record. LA has them beat in every other way: consistency, more dynasties, more trips to the Finals, better winning percentage, most playoff series and games won, and most regular season games won (in 2 fewer years than the Celtics). It'll be fun to see in the offseason what each team does as the rest of the NBA has its sights set on some of the big-time free agents.

I don't think we'll see a rematch of last year. The Celtics are getting worse, the Lakers are getting better. Signing Pierce didn't help the Celtics. Everyone is criticizing Bosh for not being able to carry a team. The same can be said of Pierce. He did nothin' until the big boys came to town. And then they only won cause the Lakers center was out. Lakers all the way in this discussion.

January 13, 2012  04:10 PM ET

I know this thread goes back a while but it's an enduring question for the NBA ages. The interesting thing to me regarding the Lakers/Celtics question is that both franchises seem to have qualities that cause at least some envy (sometimes disguised as hate) of the other franchise in their fanbase.

The Celtics have the dominant history in head-to-head competition over the Lakers (although not in recent decades) while the Lakers have that unbelievable consistency of seemingly always "being there" at the end. It could actually be argued that the Celtics early excellence is what drove the Lakers to obsession with excellence in the long run. This was despite, or perhaps even because of, all the early failure in head-to-head competition with the Celtics. And despite all that early Celtic dominance, it's apparent to most that the Lakers are likely to "get the last laugh" if they haven't already.

I'd have to say Lakers if pressed for an answer due to the recent decades of dominance and the continuing upward trend. It's apparent that a franchise can never let up if they want to keep that perch at the top.

January 13, 2012  04:13 PM ET

I know this thread goes back a while but it's an enduring question for the NBA ages. The interesting thing to me regarding the Lakers/Celtics question is that both franchises seem to have qualities that cause at least some envy (sometimes disguised as hate) of the other franchise in their fanbase.

The Celtics have the dominant history in head-to-head competition over the Lakers (although not in recent decades) while the Lakers have that unbelievable consistency of seemingly always "being there" at the end. It could actually be argued that the Celtics early excellence is what drove the Lakers to obsession with excellence in the long run. This was despite, or perhaps even because of, all the early failure in head-to-head competition with the Celtics. And despite all that early Celtic dominance, it's apparent to most that the Lakers are likely to "get the last laugh" if they haven't already.

I'd have to say Lakers if pressed for an answer due to the recent decades of dominance and the continuing upward trend. It's apparent that a franchise can never let up if they want to keep that perch at the top.

February 5, 2012  02:43 AM ET

Lakers ARE indeed the best NBA franchise all-time. They're always among the elite and they travel well.

 
February 15, 2012  01:08 PM ET

It is the Bulls, by far. Jordan made the NBA global. The Bulls will go down as the most historically significant team of all time. Nothing the C's or Lakers ever did or will do will draw in more fans, money and talent than what the Bulls have.

But between the two fighting for second place, it is the Lakers by far. They have consistently been the standard in the NBA. Even the mighty Jordan had to overcome them. The C's sucked from Bird til Garnett. that's a long, bad gap.

I would have agreed both teams are "greater" on the court, in a historical sense. But as far as true greatness is concerned, you can't beat how the Bulls conquered the world. And don't try to give me **** about "the game was bound to go global, the internet assured that". Jordan was huge before the internet was a household staple around the world. People would but bootleg tapes of Jordan all over the planet. VHS has been around a long time and no Laker or C ever had suck an impact. No other North American sport has seen such global expansion. Football is just ours. Baseball we share with the Japanese. Hockey we share with the Russians. And despite all the ability to be globally connected no soccer or rugby star has mattered in America ever. I know the name of Pele, but am a little too young to remember him. And there is the Beckham guy but most people know him from his wife and tabloids. The Bulls, through the greatness of Micheal Jeffery Jordan, did what no sport has been able to do. Basketball is played in ever corner of the globe now. Every NBA team owes the Bulls half of their value to the global impact of the Bulls.

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