Over the course of nearly 75 years, hundreds upon hundreds of players have won an NBA championship. Some have obviously won more than others with the great Bill Russell leading the way with 11, all with the Boston Celtics. Numerous players have also won titles with two different franchises, a long list that includes LeBron James and Danny Green.
But in the seven-plus decades of the league’s existence, only two players have ever won championships with three different teams. If the LA Lakers can manage to defeat the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals, that number would obviously double.
John Salley was the first player to win a title with three different franchises
The first player to win a championship with three different teams was John Salley. The man known as “Spider” won back-to-back NBA titles with the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990 and won a third championship in his lone season with the Chicago Bulls in 1995-1996.
After three years away from the NBA, Salley returned to the league ahead of the 1999-2000 season, his final season in the NBA, and won a title alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with the LA Lakers, a team that included the other player that’s won titles with three teams.
Robert Horry won a combined seven NBA titles with three teams
Robert Horry, otherwise known as “Big Shot Bob,” won a total of seven NBA championships in his 16-year career. Like John Salley, his first two came in back-to-back fashion as he helped the Houston Rockets to NBA Finals victories in 1994 and 1995.
Horry was then a part of the Lakers’ three-peat from 2000-2002 before winning his final two titles with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007. Only six players in NBA history have won more championships than Robert Horry, all of whom were a part of the famed Boston Celtics that dominated the league in the 1950s and 1960s.
LeBron James and Danny Green can become just the third and fourth players to win a title with three teams
If the LA Lakers can knock off the Miami Heat to win the franchise’s 17th NBA title, which would tie them with the Celtics for the all-time lead, both LeBron James and Danny Green would join the exclusive club of players to win championships with three different teams.
Like John Salley and Robert Horry, LeBron James also went back-to-back to win his first two championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, earning NBA Finals MVP honors both times. He also earned Finals MVP when he won his lone title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, famously leading the team back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
As a rookie, Danny Green was LeBron James’ teammate with the Cavs in 2009-2010 before joining the San Antonio Spurs the following season. Green won his first NBA title with the Spurs in 2014, oddly enough defeating LeBron and the Miami Heat, and won a second just last season as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference