Nba Finals History
The NBA Finals history began with the league's inaugural season in 1946. The NBA Finals is a series of final round playoff games that match up the last two teams remaining from the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. Teams get to the NBA Finals by winning the first and second round playoff series and then winning their conference championship series. The NBA Finals are played every June at the end of the season and determine the national champions for that year.
Early NBA Finals Champions The first NBA Finals series was played in 1947 between the Philadelphia Warriors and the Chicago Stags. At that time the NBA was known as the BAA, the Basketball Association of America. The finals were played as a best-of-seven series, meaning that the first team to win four games won the title. Philadelphia won the first league championship, defeating the Stags four games to one. In 1949, the league was renamed the National Basketball Association and that same year the Minnesota Lakers won their first Finals Championship. They would go on to form a dynasty, winning five championship titles in six seasons. Their dominance was later overshadowed by the Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics, who won a record eleven titles in thirteen seasons.
Notable NBA Finals Series Several rivalries developed as the league grew and some of the best grudge matches in sports were played during the NBA Finals. During Boston's eleven-title run, they defeated the Lakers seven times, setting up a historic NBA rivalry. The two teams rekindled their rivalry during the 1980s, with either the Celtics or the Lakers winning the Finals title each year for eight of nine seasons. Their sparring culminated in 1987 when the Lakers, led by Magic Johnson, finally defeated the Celtics in the Finals. In 1990, the Chicago Bulls, with the combined influence of star Michael Jordan and coach Phil Jackson, began their NBA Finals run. The team won three championships in a row from 1991 to 1993 when Jordan suddenly retired. After he returned to the game in 1995, the Bulls recorded another three-peat, winning all three NBA Finals from 1996 to 1998. A couple of years later, the Los Angeles Lakers, featuring Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and also coached by Phil Jackson, recorded a three-peat of their own, winning three straight Finals titles from 2000 to 2002.
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards With the 1969 NBA Finals, the league began awarding a Most Valuable Player Award to the most outstanding player during the Finals. The first winner of this prestigious award was Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite his team's loss to the Celtics in the 1969 finals, West's performance was so incredible that he became the only player from a losing team to win the Finals MVP. As the years went on, several players were received Finals MVP awards, including a few stellar players who won the award more than once. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the Finals MVP award twice, Magic Johnson won the award three times and Michael Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP six times, one for each time his team won the championship.