Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Greatest Franchise in Sports

Which franchise is the greatest in all of sports? Some teams come to mind off the top: Lakers, Celtics, Packers, 49ers, Cowboys, Patriots, Yankees, Cardinals, etc. If you include college sports, you have Kentucky, UCLA, Duke, and North Carolina basketball or Notre Dame, Alabama, USC or Michigan football. Don't forget about the Utah Jazz. Just playin'...
In thinking about the best franchises in sports, what is the criteria? Championships? Hall of famers? Winning percentage? Consistency? I figure that all of these should be considered when calling a team the best franchise of all time. In keeping only with professional sports, it seems to me that you can narrow it down to the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Yankees. I'll make a quick case for each franchise and let you decide. Also, if you think I'm missing someone, you're wrong, but tell me anyway.

Boston Celtics
The Celtics have won more NBA championships than any other team (17), including one in 2008. Boston has won 17 championships in 62 years, a rate of 27%! The Celtics won 8 straight titles between 1959-1966, also an NBA record (and an American professional sports record, if I'm not mistaken). Red Auerbach coached 9 NBA championship teams, a record he shares with Philip Jackson (who won 3 with the Lakers). The Celtics have won at least one NBA championship in every decade since their existence other than the 1990s. The Celtics have won 17 of the 20 NBA Finals they've been a part of, an insane .850 winning percentage. Ridiculous. There are 33 members of the Celtics organization in the hall of fame, 15 of them players, including Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, and Bill Russell. Ten times a member of the Celtics has been named league MVP.

Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have the most wins of any team in NBA history (2,905), the highest winning percentage of any NBA franchise(61.5%), the most NBA Finals appearances (29), and the second most NBA championships (14). The Lakers have won 14 championships in 64 years, a rate of 22%. The Lakers have the longest win-streak in NBA history with 33 straight wins in 1971-1972. Since their existence, the Lakers have missed the playoffs only five times. The Lakers have 14 players in the hall of fame, including Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA logo and Wilt Chamberlain. They also have 4 coaches in the hall of fame. When the NBA named the top 50 players of all time, 8 of them played most of their careers for the Lakers. Eight times the league MVP played for the Lakers. The Lakers have been coached by two of the supposed greatest coaches of all-time: Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

New York Yankees
The Yankees have 26 World Series titles and 39 American League pennants. The Yankees have won at least one title in every decade but the 1980s since 1923. The Yankees have won 26 World Series' of the 101 played, a rate of 26%. Between 1927 and 1953 the Yankees won 18 world championships. The Yankees are the only team in baseball history to win 5 World Series titles in a row (1949-1953). In 1998 the Yankees went 125-50 (including playoffs), a major league record for wins and winning percentage in a season. The Yankees are the only team in Major League Baseball to have a player in the hall of fame at every position. The Yankees have 22 players in the hall of fame, including Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and Whitey Ford. A Yankee has won the AL MVP 22 times along with 5 Cy Young award winners.