History of the NBA During Presidential Election Years

A look back at some fun history of the NBA during Presidential election years.

Most championships

  • LA Lakers – 6 (2020, 2000, 1988, 1980, 1972, 1952*)
  • Boston Celtics – 6 (2008, 1984, 1976, 1968, 1964, 1960)
  • Chicago Bulls – 2 (1996, 1992)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers – 1 (2016)
  • Miami Heat -1 (2012)
  • Detroit Pistons – 1 (2004)
  • Philadelphia Warrior – 1 (1956)
  • Baltimore Bullets – 1 (1948)

*1952 Lakers championship came when the team played in Minneapolis

Lebron James

  • Lebron has won the last 3 Election year NBA titles (2012, 2016, 2020), and done so on 3 different teams (Heat, Cavs, Lakers)
  • Regular season MVP in 2012
  • He won Rookie of the Year in 2004.
  • NBA scoring champion in 2008
  • Won 2 Olympic Gold medals (2008, 2012)

Most NBA MVP awards

  • Michael Jordan – 3 (1996, 1992, 1988
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabar – 3 (1980, 1976, 1972)
  • Wilt Chamberlein – 2 (1968, 1960)

#1 Draft Picks

  • Starting five – Allen Iverson (1996), Oscar Robertson (1960), Shaquille O’Neal (1992), Hakeem Olajuwon (1984), Elvin Hayes (1968)
  • Bench– Ben Simmons (2016), Anthony Davis (2012), Derrick Rose (2008), Dwight Howard (2004), Kenyon Martin (2000)

Notable Events (since 1988)

  • 2020 – Worldwide pandemic, bubble basketball
  • 2016 – Warriors won 73 games, overcame 3-1 deficit vs Thunder in West Final, then blew 3-1 lead in NBA Finals to Lebron and Cavs (Cleveland’s first NBA title) and then signed Kevin Durant. All of this happened in Kobe Bryant’s final season.
  • 2012 – Lebron James won his first career NBA title, during a season which was shortened by a lockout and only 66 games were played during the regular season.
  • 2008 – Celtics, led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen beat the Lakers in NBA Finals. Seattle Sonics move to Oklahoma City and are rebranded as the Thunder.
  • 2004 Michael Jordan is forever connected to this Finals, which saw the Pistons beat the Lakers during the first official post-MJ era season and Lebron James’ rookie year.
  • 2000 – The first career championships for Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and the first of 3 straight for the duo plus Phil Jackson.
  • 1996 – The 4th of 6 NBA titles for the Bulls and the first of 3 straight for MJ, Scottie Pippen, and Phil.
  • 1992 – NBA lost two legends – Larry Bird played his final NBA games and Pistons coach Chuck Daly, who won two titles, resigned.
  • 1988 – MJ wins his first MVP award; Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat debut as expansion teams.

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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