Jun 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; A Miami Heat fan wears a championship ring replica on his head prior to game six in the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Finals Poll: Would You Rather Have 5 Rings or a 3-Peat?

This could be it.

With a 3-1 series lead in the 2014 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs can win their fifth championship in franchise history tonight.

Starting with head coach Gregg Popovich, who drafted Tim Duncan to pair with David Robinson, the San Antonio Spurs have transformed how an NBA franchise should be run. They’ve let Pop and Duncan grow together since the late 90’s, and we’ve seen upper management add integral stars like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili—who have also been shown complete loyalty.

An extremely rare occurrence in the league these days: a superstar playing with the same franchise that drafted him while maintaining the same coach.

Oct 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) smiles after receiving his NBA championship ring before a game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) smiles after receiving his NBA championship ring before a game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Having five rings would match Duncan’s number of rings with Kobe Bryant‘s, and put him one ahead of Shaquille O’Neal.

Timmy is already widely considered the best power forward of all time, but I think five rings could move him from the top-ten players of all time argument to the top five.

On the other hand, we have the three-peat.

Back when Pat Riley was coaching Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, he coined the term “three-peat” after the Lakers won a couple of championships.

From Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg.com:

Miami Heat President Pat Riley might have more than an emotional interest in his team’s pursuit of a third straight National Basketball Association championship. He may have a financial stake, too.

Riley’s Riles & Co. owns the trademarks “Three Peat” and “3 Peat,” the phrase commonly used to describe a sports team that’s won back-to-back-to-back titles.

Any entity, including NBA licensees, wanting to use the term for a commercial purpose would have to obtain either permission or pay a royalty to Riley, whose 1994 trademark filings include bumper stickers, posters, collector plates and mugs. A 2010 filing added hats, jackets and shirts, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

Riley has yet to three-peat, and probably wants it more for financial reasons  just as badly as LeBron.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated sums up the three-peat for LeBron James:

There are only five teams in NBA history to have won three straight titles including the 1991-93 Chicago Bulls, the 1996-98 Chicago Bulls and the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers so he’d be part of an elite group including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, two players James is chasing on a historical level.

He’d also be halfway to six title at age 29 and six career titles seems to be the magic number for the public given that Jordan owns six titles. This will also be the best team James has ever faced in the Finals. 

The glaring stat for Miami’s Big Three is this: If they lose the 2014 NBA Finals, they will have a 2-2 overall Finals record, while they’ll be 3-1 if they three-peat.

The latter certainly looks better.

Would you rather have a 3-peat or 5 rings for your career?

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