20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History7 min read

20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">7</span> min read</span>
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Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, captivating fans with its fast-paced play and incredible athleticism. Over the decades, certain teams have risen above the rest, dominating their era and cementing their legacy as some of the best to ever take the court.

In this article, we break down 22 of the greatest basketball teams of all time across the NBA, NCAA, and EuroLeague. From dynasties like the 90s Chicago Bulls to legendary college squads like the undefeated 1972 UCLA Bruins, these are the cream of the crop when it comes to basketball greatness.

The Best NBA Teams Today

The NBA features incredibly talented teams vying for the championship every year. As the 2022-2024 season gets underway, here are 6 top contenders:

1. Golden State Warriors

Best Season:
2015-2016 (73 regular season wins)
Coach: Steve Kerr
Key Players: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green

The Warriors have been the team to beat over the past decade, spearheaded by Stephen Curry’s legendary shooting. After winning their 4th title in 8 years last season, they’re primed to continue their dominance with their core trio back healthy.

2. Boston Celtics

Best Season:
1985–1986 (67 wins)
Coach: Joe Mazzulla (Interim) Key Players: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown

Emerging as the NBA Finals runner-up last season, the Celtics have two bonafide stars in Tatum and Brown plus a rugged defense. They’ll look to get over the hump under new head coach Mazzulla.

3. Milwaukee Bucks

Best Season:
2020-2021 (NBA Champions) Coach: Mike Budenholzer Key Players:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday

The Bucks are coming off a championship in 2021 and have superstar Giannis signed long-term. With Khris Middleton set to return from injury, they’ll be formidable again this season.

20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History

4. Los Angeles Lakers

Best Season:
1971–1972 (33-game win streak) Coach: Darvin Ham
Key Players: LeBron James, Anthony Davis

The Lakers are always a threat with LeBron James leading the charge. Anthony Davis’ health will be pivotal as they look to retool their roster and get back into contention under first-year head coach Darvin Ham.

5. Miami Heat

Best Season:
2012-2013 (NBA Champions) Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Key Players: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo

Led by All-Star Jimmy Butler, the Heat play with incredible heart and hustle. After falling one win shy of the Finals last season, Pat Riley has retooled the roster to make another championship run.

6. Phoenix Suns

Best Season:
1992–1993 (NBA Finals appearance) Coach: Monty Williams
Key Players: Chris Paul, Devin Booker

Boasting an elite backcourt in Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the Suns notched a franchise-record 64 wins last regular season before falling in the second round. They’ll look to get back to the Finals again this year.

The Greatest NBA Teams Ever

In the NBA’s 75+ year history, these dynasties, juggernauts, and legendary squads have separated themselves from the pack as the cream of the crop.

7. 1996 Chicago Bulls

Season Record: 72-10
Key Players: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman
Achievements: NBA Champions, Best regular season record

The 95-96 Bulls are in the conversation as the greatest team in NBA history. They followed up a 72-win regular season with a domineering 15-3 playoff run to win the title, led by MVP Michael Jordan in his prime.

8. 2017 Golden State Warriors

Season Record: 67-15
Key Players: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
Achievements: NBA Champions

Already a 73-win team the year prior, the Warriors added former MVP Kevin Durant to the fold and became an absolute juggernaut. They cruised to a 16-1 playoff record and their 2nd title in 3 seasons.

20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History

9. 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers

Season Record: 69-13 Key Players: Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich Achievements:
NBA Champions, 33 game win streak

Powered by an epic 33 game win-streak, the 71-72 Lakers fielded a lineup with 3 Hall of Famers – Wilt, West and Goodrich – who were on a mission to win a title. They finished it off by steamrolling through the playoffs.

10. 1986 Boston Celtics

Season Record: 67-15
Key Players: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton Achievements:
NBA Champions

With MVP Larry Legend leading four future Hall of Famers, the 86 Celtics dominated en route to an NBA title. Their overwhelming talent and team basketball makes them one of the best ever.

11. 1987 Los Angeles Lakers

Season Record: 65-17 Key Players: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy Achievements: NBA Champions

The "Showtime" Lakers hit their peak in 87 when Magic claimed the MVP and Finals MVP to lead LA to a title over their arch-rivals, the Celtics. Their flashy, up-tempo style revolutionized basketball.

College Basketball’s Greatest Teams

The NCAA tournament provides March Madness excitement every year thanks to powerhouse college teams vying for national titles. These sides stand out as some of the most dominant in college basketball history.

12. 1972 UCLA Bruins

Season Record: 30-0
Key Players: Bill Walton, Greg Lee, Keith Wilkes Achievements:
NCAA Champions, 88 Game win streak

The 1972 Bruins continued John Wooden’s UCLA dynasty by going a perfect 30-0. Led by legendary big man Bill Walton, they won by over 30 points per game with an suffocating defense.

13. 1976 Indiana Hoosiers

Season Record: 32-0
Key Players: Scott May, Kent Benson, Quinn Buckner
Achievements: NCAA Champions

20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History

Under the expert guidance of Coach Bobby Knight, Indiana went undefeated in 1976 to win the NCAA tournament. They knocked off UCLA and Michigan along the way behind star Scott May’s scoring and rebounding.

14. 1996 Kentucky Wildcats

Season Record: 34-2
Key Players: Antoine Walker, Tony Delk, Walter McCarty Achievements:
NCAA Champions

Featuring nine players that eventually made the NBA, Kentucky were loaded with talent. They breezed to the championship after a dominant tournament run, beating opponents by over 20 points per game.

15. 1992 Duke Blue Devils

Season Record: 34–2
Key Players: Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley
Achievements: Back-to-back NCAA Champions

Christian Laettner’s clutch game-winner against Kentucky propelled Duke to a second straight title in 92. With Coach K at the helm, they took down Michigan’s "Fab Five" freshmen stars in the finals.

Europe’s Top Basketball Teams

Team success isn’t limited to just the NBA and NCAA – clubs across Europe’s leagues, especially in the EuroLeague, have carved out their place in basketball lore. These are some of the very best:

16. Anadolu Efes

League: EuroLeague, BSL
Key Players: Vasilije Micic, Bryant Dunston, Tibor Pleiss Achievements:
Back-to-back EuroLeague champions (2021, 2022)

Efes has emerged as the new EuroLeague powerhouse, winning the last two titles behind league MVP’s Micic and Larkin. They became just the 7th team to repeat as champions.

17. Real Madrid

Spain League: EuroLeague, ACB
Key Players: Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, Guerschon Yabusele
Achievements: 10 EuroLeague titles (record)

The winningest team in EuroLeague history with 10 championships, Real Madrid is Spanish basketball royalty. Legends like Llull and Fernandez have led them to continued success.

20 The Greatest Basketball Teams In History

18. Maccabi Tel Aviv

Israel League: EuroLeague, Israeli Premier League Key Players:
Scottie Wilbekin, Ante Zizic, Wade Baldwin IV Achievements: 6 EuroLeague titles

With six EuroLeague championships and over 50 Israeli League titles, Maccabi Tel Aviv has long been a Middle East powerhouse. They continue stockpiling talent to regain their championship form.

19. CSKA Moscow

Russia League: EuroLeague, VTB United League
Key Players: Mike James, Johannes Voigtmann, Daniel Hackett Achievements:
8 EuroLeague titles

CSKA Moscow is one of Europe’s premier clubs, having won the 3rd-most EuroLeague titles ever. They also boast 51 league championship crowns back home in Russia across multiple sports.

20. FC Barcelona

Spain League: EuroLeague, ACB Key Players: Nikola Mirotic, Alex Abrines, Nick Calathes
Achievements: 2 EuroLeague titles, 19 Spanish League titles

FC Barcelona has experienced great success at home by winning 19 Spanish league championships. They’ve also translated that into two EuroLeague crowns behind their talented Spanish roster.


Basketball has provided no shortage of legendary teams that dominated their competition and left indelible marks on the sport’s history. From Michael Jordan’s Bulls to John Wooden’s UCLA dynasty to Real Madrid’s EuroLeague supremacy, these are the elite of the elite.

When it comes to the great teams in action today with potential to join these ranks, the NBA’s Warriors and EuroLeague’s Anadolu Efes appear primed to add to their sterling resumes. College basketball also offers a blank canvas each year for the next great team to etch their name among the best.