There have been six complete decades in NBA history, and five of those decades were reigned by a dynasty. The ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s were all ruled by a team that won a minimum of four championships and defended their title at least once during the decade. But during the dynasty-less ‘70s, eight different teams earned an NBA Championship and none of them could defend their title. The ‘50s, ’60s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s were all ruled by an NBA team, while parity reigned the ‘70s.
NBA Dynasty of the ‘50s—Minneapolis Lakers
The first dynasty of the NBA won more NBA Championships during the ‘50s than any other team made NBA Finals appearances. The Minneapolis Lakers earned four NBA Championships (1950, 1952, 1953 and 1954) during their decade and became the first team in NBA history to win back-to-back-to-back NBA Championships.
For more on the Minneapolis Lakers in the ‘50s, see Minneapolis Lakers: NBA Dynasty of the Fifties.
NBA Dynasty of the ‘60s—Boston Celtics
During the ‘60s, the Celtics made nine trips to the NBA Finals and won the NBA Championship each time (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969). The Celtics were pushed to a championship-deciding Game 7 in the finals four times during the decade (1960, 1962, 1966 and 1969) and each time they won the game and defended their title. Boston failed to win the final game of the season just once during their 10-year reign of the NBA.
NBA Dynasty of the ‘80s—Los Angeles Lakers
The “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers won five NBA Championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988) and appeared in eight NBA Finals during the ‘80s. During Los Angeles’ 1987 championship parade, Lakers coach Pat Riley guaranteed that the Lakers would win the title again the next season. After being pushed to a seventh game in three consecutive series against the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Detroit Pistons, Riley’s words finally proved to be prophetic. The Lakers squeaked out a 108-105 victory over the Pistons in Game 7 of the 1998 NBA Finals and became the first team since the 1969 Boston Celtics to win back-to-back NBA Championships.
For more on the Los Angeles Lakers in the ‘80s, see Los Angeles Lakers: NBA dynasty of the ’80s.
NBA Dynasty of the ‘90s—Chicago Bulls
During the ‘90s, when no other team made more than two NBA Finals appearances, the Chicago Bulls completed two separate three-peats (1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996, 1997, 1998). The Bulls made it to the NBA Finals six times during the decade and each time they walked away with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
For more on the Chicago Bulls in the ‘90s, see Chicago Bulls: NBA dynasty of the ’90s.
NBA Dynasty of the 2000s—Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers gave themselves a head start at becoming the “Dynasty of the 2000s” by winning the first three NBA Championships (2000, 2001 and 2002) of the decade. After that early success, the Lakers were unable to regain that championship level until the very end of the decade. Los Angeles won the 2009 NBA Championship and the 2000s closed just as they had opened—under a Lakers’ Purple Reign.
For more on the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000s, see Los Angeles Lakers NBA Dynasty of the 2000s.