The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association played between the Western and Eastern champions of the Conference Finals. The first team to win four games in the seven-game championship round is declared the champion and is awarded the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Winners from 1946 to 1983 received the Walter A. Brown Trophy redesigned in 1977 to the current form.The NBA Finals has been played at the end of every NBA and Basketball Association of America season in history, the first being held in 1947. Between 1985 and 2013, the winner of the NBA Finals was determined through a format: the first and last two games of the series being played at the arena of the team who earned home court advantage by having the better record during the regular season.Most NBA Finals series were played under the format prior to 1985; the Finals returned to this format in 2014. The series was named the BAA Finals from 1947 to 1949 and then changed to the NBA World Championship Series from 1950 to 1982. The following two years, the league used Showdown ’83 and Showdown ’84. It returned to NBA World Championship Series in 1985, before settling on NBA Finals in 1986.
During the first decade the Minneapolis Lakers had the first NBA dynasty, winning five championships in six years under Hall of Fame head coach John Kundla. The team also featured George Mikan, one of the greatest players in NBA history. With the establishment of the Celtics dynasty in 1957, Bill Russell became the star of the league. Game 7 of the NBA Finals was decided on a Celtics basket in the final seconds of the second overtime. For most of the late 1950s and 1960s, the Celtics always seemed to have the upper hand on Wilt Chamberlain’s teams. In 1964, Wilt Chamberlain, who had moved to the state of California with his team, the former Philadelphia Warriors, led the San Francisco Warriors to a Western Conference championship, but again failed to conquer the Celtics. The following season, he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, the former Syracuse Nationals team that had moved to cover the vacancy created with the departure of the Warriors.