Jun 7 2013 12:15PM

Dynasty & Empire


Bill Baptist; Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
Hakeem Olajuwon's repeat in '94 and '95 was an empire; the Celtics run in the '60s a dynasty.

Everybody has their own definition of what constitutes a sports dynasty.

You have your definition. I have mine. Noah Webster has his.

Webster says a dynasty is a succession of rulers of the same line of descent.

In order to have a line of succession of rulers in the NBA world, you need time a good amount of time. I say a decade covers that territory fairly.

In order to establish a succession of rulers, I would say you'd need to have three or more sets of NBA champions during that span.

Thus, three NBA championships in 10 seasons equals a dynasty in my book.

Some people think back-to-back championships should qualify as a dynasty, but I disagree.

There typically is no succession of rulers on back-to-back championship squads, even though winning consecutive titles is a meaningful feat.

I call teams that do repeat, I prefer the term empire.

Webster himself says an empire is an enterprise under single domination.

To me, that is a fitting title for a back-to-back championship team, who most often are led by one ruler.

And of course, should someone win three championships in a row, they also would meet the aforementioned requirement for dynasty status.

So with that in mind, in these 2013 NBA Finals, we have ourselves quite the showcase of dynastic and imperial teams.

The San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA championships in the past 15 seasons--three titles in the last 10 years--already establishing themselves as quite the NBA dynasty, whether they win a fifth championship or not.

On the other side, you have the Miami Heat, who are now four wins away from establishing themselves as both an NBA dynasty and empire.

After all, the 2012 and 2006 NBA champion Heat are one NBA Finals series away from winning its third title in eight seasons.

And should Miami cap off back-to-back championships in these 2013 NBA Playoffs, Dwyane Wade's organization would establish empire status in my book, as well.

Quite the double feat for the Heat, indeed.

Let's take a look back at the dynasties and empires in NBA history, shall we?

DYNASTY (NBA Championship teams and All-NBA players during this period)

2007, 2005, 2003 & 1999 San Antonio Spurs (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, David Robinson)

2010, 2009, 2002, 2001 & 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal)

1998, 1997, 1996, 1993, 1992 & 1991 Chicago Bulls (Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan)

1988, 1987, 1985, 1982 & 1980 Los Angeles Lakers (Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

1986, 1984, 1981, 1976, 1974, 1969, 1968, 1966, 1965, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1957 Boston Celtics (Robert Parish, Larry Bird, JoJo White, Dave Cowens, Tiny Archibald, John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy)

1954, 1953, 1952, 1950 & 1949 Minneapolis Lakers (Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, George Mikan)

EMPIRE (NBA Championship teams and All-NBA players during this period)

2010 & 2009 Los Angeles Lakers (Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant)

2002, 2001 & 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal)

1998, 1997 & 1996 Chicago Bulls (Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan)

1995 & 1994 Houston Rockets (Hakeem Olajuwon)

1993, 1992 & 1991 Chicago Bulls (Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan)

1990 & 1989 Detroit Pistons (Joe Dumars)

1988 & 1987 Los Angeles Lakers (Magic Johnson)

1969 & 1968 Boston Celtics (John Havlicek, Bill Russell)

1966, 1965, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1960 & 1959 Boston Celtics (John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Russell, Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy)

1954, 1953 & 1952 Minneapolis Lakers (Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, George Mikan)

1950 & 1949 Minneapolis Lakers (Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, George Mikan)