Michael Jordan and LeBron James are widely considered the two greatest basketball players of all time. The duo has combined for nine NBA titles, and James is still in a position to add to that total in the coming years. As incredible as their nine rings are, however, it’s not nearly as impressive as winning 10 titles alone. That’s exactly what this Boston Celtics legend did in his 12-year NBA career. And no, it wasn’t Bill Russell.
Michael Jordan and LeBron James have combined for nine NBA titles
Michael Jordan and LeBron James are No. 1 and No. 2 in the NBA GOAT debate not just because of their skill, but because of their prolific championship resumes.
Jordan’s championship success is well known across the basketball community. The Chicago legend won all six of his NBA Finals appearances, solidifying him as one of the all-time great winners in league history. He led the Bulls to two separate three-peats during the 1990s.
James has only half the number of titles Jordan owns, but his playoff resume is still one of the greatest ever. The former Cavaliers and Heat star has made it to nine NBA Finals in his career. Although he only won three championships in those nine appearances, James’ ability to lead a team to its greatest potential is unmatched.
Boston Celtics legend Sam Jones won more NBA titles than Jordan and James combined
If you think Michael Jordan and LeBron James have impressive postseason resumes, wait until you hear about Sam Jones. The Celtics legend played 12 seasons in the NBA and won an unprecedented 10 championships, more than Jordan and James combined.
Jones was an integral part of the Celtics’ dynasty throughout the 1950s and ’60s. Bill Russell gets the most credit for Boston’s incredible sustained success, but Jones should be a close second.
Over the course of his career, Jones averaged 17.7 points per game. He served as the team’s sharpshooter and playmaking guard for over a decade. He made five All-Star teams and three All-NBA Second Teams, but his championship resume is by far his most impressive feat.
After his rookie season ended without a title, Jones and the Celtics rattled off eight consecutive championship seasons. Boston failed to win the 1966-67 title, but they bounced back to win the next two. Jones finished his career with enough rings to fit on all of his fingers at once.
Sam Jones was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983
Sam Jones might not garner the same respect Bill Russell gets for propelling the Celtics dynasty, but Boston doesn’t win 10 titles in 12 years without him.
Jones scored over 15,000 points in his illustrious career. He averaged over 20 points in four straight seasons during the 1960s, leading the team in scoring in all four years.
Jones was ahead of his time in terms of his scoring ability. He had the Tim Duncan bank shot perfected before Duncan was even born. He could run the floor like a deranged Russell Westbrook in his prime. His mid-range jumper rivals that of “Iso” Joe Johnson’s.
Jones finished his career with the second-most NBA titles in league history. Russell is still the only player ahead of him with 11 championships. Jones was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference