With all the recent discussions about who ranks as the NBA’s greatest players of all time, the Mount Rushmore of players, and so on, the conversations can’t just be around individual awards and achievements, all-star games and all-NBA teams, but whether those individual accomplishments translated into team success. So it begs the question “Who has the most rings?” – championship rings, that is.
When it comes down to discussing the GOATs, team success — or winning when it matters most — is arguably the main ingredient to any talk of the greatest players. And the ultimate winners are those players that have the most championship rings on their fingers (and sometimes more rings than fingers).
Who Has The Most NBA Championship Rings?
The players that have the most jewelry on their fingers are directly connected to the franchises that have the most championships in the history of the NBA. It’s the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. And it’s the legendary players on those dynasties that you’ll find on the list of NBA players with the most NBA championship rings.
1. Bill Russell (11 rings)
If you were into NBA finals betting back in the day, you would have put your money on whatever team Bill Russell was on. The man, the legend, the civil rights activist has the most NBA championship rings of any NBA player in the storied history of the league. He won nine NBA championships as a player and two as a player/coach for a total of eleven NBA championships. That’s more rings than fingers.
In being the common denominator of those eleven NBA championships – including eight consecutive titles – Russell put multiple rings on the hands of several Celtics players from his era. That’s true for the next four players in particular.
2. Sam Jones (10 rings)
Don’t get us wrong, Sam Jones was a fantastic player and Hall-of-Famer, but each of his ten championship rings directly overlapped with Bill Russell’s career. No doubt Russell needed Jones, but Jones certainly needed Russell’s greatness.
3. Tom Heinsohn, K. C. Jones, Satch Sanders, John Havlicek (8 rings)
The next four players were also Boston Celtics and save for Havlicek, each of those players have eight championship rings on their hands thanks for playing alongside Bill Russell. Only Havlicek was able to claim a ring without Russell; winning two NBA championships in 1974- and 1976 after Russell had already retired as a player.
Here are the players that have the most rings (only as players; not as coach)
|1||Bill Russell||11||Boston Celtics||1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969|
|2||Sam Jones||10||Boston Celtics||1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969|
|3||Tom Heinsohn||8||Boston Celtics||1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965|
|3||K. C. Jones||8||Boston Celtics||1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966|
|3||Satch Sanders||8||Boston Celtics||1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969|
|3||John Havlicek||8||Boston Celtics||1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976|
|7||Jim Loscutoff||7||Boston Celtics||1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964|
|7||Frank Ramsey||7||Boston Celtics||1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964|
|7||Robert Horry||7||Houston Rockets||1994, 1995|
|Los Angeles Lakers||2000, 2001, 2002|
|San Antonio Spurs||2005, 2007|
|10||Bob Cousy||6||Boston Celtics||1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963|
|10||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||6||Milwaukee Bucks||1971|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988|
|10||Michael Jordan||6||Chicago Bulls||1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998|
|10||Scottie Pippen||6||Chicago Bulls||1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998|
|14||George Mikan||5||Minneapolis Lakers||1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954|
|14||Jim Pollard||5||Minneapolis Lakers||1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954|
|14||Slater Martin||5||Minneapolis Lakers||1950, 1952, 1953, 1954|
|St. Louis Hawks||1958|
|14||Larry Siegfried||5||Boston Celtics||1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969|
|14||Don Nelson||5||Boston Celtics||1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976|
|14||Michael Cooper||5||Los Angeles Lakers||1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988|
|14||Magic Johnson||5||Los Angeles Lakers||1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988|
|14||Dennis Rodman||5||Detroit Pistons||1989, 1990|
|Chicago Bulls||1996, 1997, 1998|
|14||Ron Harper||5||Chicago Bulls||1996, 1997, 1998|
|Los Angeles Lakers||2000, 2001|
|14||Steve Kerr||5||Chicago Bulls||1996, 1997, 1998|
|San Antonio Spurs||1999, 2003|
|14||Kobe Bryant||5||Los Angeles Lakers||2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010|
|14||Derek Fisher||5||Los Angeles Lakers||2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010|
|14||Tim Duncan||5||San Antonio Spurs||1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014|
As you can see from the list above, there are a lot of names that you wouldn’t expect on the list. I consider myself somewhat of a NBA historian, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of Jim Pollard, Jim Loscutoff, and Larry Siegfried. What these names say to me is that winning multiple championships not only takes iconic players like Russell, Kareem, Michael Jordan, George Mikan, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan, but requires role players that and team chemistry year after year.
7. Robert Horry (7 rings)
The most interesting player on this list has to be Robert Horry. Big Shot Bob sits on this prestigious list with a couple Celtic role players Frank Ramsey and Jim Loscutoff with seven NBA championship rings. Unlike Ramsey and Loscutoff, Horry didn’t accumulate seven rings with one team, but like those two Celtics, he was never the star player on his teams either.
Horry ended up winning multiple NBA championships with three different franchises. Two with the Houston Rockets (1994, 1995), three with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002), and another two with the San Antonio Spurs (2005, 2007). Some say Horry was lucky to have teamed up with Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan, but most credit Horry with being a player that knew how to fit in and play winning basketball.
Championships Creates Legacies
With all the points that Karl Malone, Carmelo Anthony, Alex English and James Harden scored, and all the individual achievements of Patrick Ewing, Chris Paul, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley had in their careers, none of them were never able do translate any of those into an NBA championship. Are Vince Carter, CP3, Steve Nash, Melo and Allen Iverson still considered some of the best players to ever play the game? No doubt. However, without an NBA championship or three on their resumes, they’ll never crack the conversation to be included in the top 15 players of all-time.
Having an NBA championship secures your legacy and confirms your greatness. That’s why role players like Robert Horry, Michael Cooper, and Derek Fisher are ingrained in our memories. Horry, Fisher, Cooper and Bill Laimbeer aren’t superstars by any means, but their contributions to multiple championships played a large part in NBA championships that become franchise folklore and those memories are replayed dozens of times when millions of NBA fans are watching the NBA Finals.
Let’s talk about the actual rings. The NBA championship rings have been designed and created primarily by a couple jewelers Jostens and Tiffany & Co. has recently become a supplier for the league. Sports Illustrated put out a gallery of NBA championship rings from the last 40 years.