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Richest Teams in NBA History

The NBA is among the wealthiest professional leagues in the world!

Basketball is one of the most widely viewed sports globally, attracting millions of spectators. In the United States, it ranks among the top-watched sports, alongside Major League Baseball and the National Football League, drawing an audience of over 300 million people through television broadcasts or stadium attendance. Given its escalating popularity and recent expansion, let's explore some of the wealthiest NBA teams.

The New York Knicks ($5 billion)

Established in 1946 by Ned Irish, the Knicks are an Eastern Conference Atlantic Division member. Initially part of the BAA, they merged with the NBL in 1949. The team experienced early success, frequently making the playoffs in their formative years. Although they reached consecutive NBA Finals from 1950 to 1952, they fell short of clinching a title, leading to their coach's resignation in 1956 and a subsequent decline. In the late '60s, Red Holzman took over as head coach, steering the Knicks to NBA championships in 1973 and 1975. The '80s saw six playoff appearances but no finals for the Knicks. Since the '90s, they have secured three Division finals and two Conference titles. Despite financial success, on-court achievements have been limited. The 2013 US$1 billion Madison Square Garden renovation, lucrative sponsorships like Chase Bridges, and partnerships with the Tao Group have significantly increased the franchise's valuation in recent years.

The Golden State Warriors ($4.7 billion)

Established in 1946 in Philadelphia, the Golden State Warriors, a Western Conference Pacific Division member, clinched the inaugural Basketball Association of America (BAA) title in 1947 and repeated the feat in 1956. Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962 and adopting the city's name, they later changed to Golden State in 1971. Despite challenges during this relocation period, the Warriors struggled to achieve notable on-court success. Their breakthrough came in the 1975 season, when star players Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes led them to their third championship, a historic upset in the history of the NBA. In the 2010s, the team, featuring stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, returned to prominence. They secured championships in 2015, 2017, and 2018, aided by the addition of Kevin Durant. 

The Los Angeles Lakers ($4.7 billion)

Undoubtedly one of the most triumphant franchises in NBA history, the team's journey commenced in 1947 with the acquisition of the Detroit Gems from the National Basketball League (NBL). Launching in Minneapolis, Minnesota, they secured the 1948 NBL championship as the Minneapolis Lakers. Transitioning to the Basketball Association of America, the Lakers clinched five championships out of the six they contested. Facing financial challenges in the '50s, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season. Despite reaching the NBA Finals six times in the '60s, they faced defeat against the Boston Celtics each time. Their breakthrough came in 1972, when they won their sixth NBA final, marking their first victory in Los Angeles. The pivotal turning point in the Lakers' history occurred in 1979, when Jerry Buss assumed ownership, ushering in a golden era. Under Buss's leadership, the Lakers secured 11 NBA championships, with the most recent triumph in the 2020 finals. They also attained 17 conference and 19 division titles in the past four decades.

These teams have contributed to the league's popularity over the years and brought great players to the league. Their billion-dollar valuations can be attributed to great marketing and player selection!