It’s no secret to any basketball fan that the San Antonio Spurs are the NBA’s winningest franchise, with a 2267-1449 record and a .610 win percentage. The second-best team, the Lakers, is not even close, sitting at a still impressive 3462-2390 overall record, sitting at .591.
It should be said that the Spurs beat out the other major sports powerhouses. In the NFL, the Cowboys sit at .572. Baseball’s Yankees have played 18,602 games and won “only” .569 of them, and even the NHL, home of the Montreal Canadiens, sits at .597, with a 3503-2357 record.
The Lakers have three surefire Hall of Famers on their roster, but they would need to win an insane 277 games in a row to pass the Spurs if the Spurs were to hold their current pace–that’s over three full seasons. Now, the age of Duncan is over, and the Lakers should be the better team, but they presently sit at 2-10 and are beating only woeful Houston in the NBA Western Conference standings.
It would take a dynasty for anyone to beat out the Spurs
If the Spurs keep up their historic pace, the Yankees would need to win 1,914 games in a row, which is nearly 12 consecutive seasons. The Cowboys would need to win 92 straight games (more than five seasons), and the Canadiens need 185 wins in a row, which is slightly more than two full seasons.
All of the numbers above only count if the Spurs keep winning nearly two-thirds of their games, which seems unlikely, but it puts things in perspective. I would say that it’s much more likely for the Spurs to flounder rather than all those teams to overachieve like that, but if each team manages to keep their current pace–which is unlikely for the Lakers–then the Spurs would need to lose a lot of games to get passed. The Spurs would have to drop 120 in a row for the Lakers to pass them, and 211, 268, and 82–an entire season–to get passed by the Cowboys, Yankees, and Canadiens.
In order for the best winning percentage to fall to any other team in the near future, the Spurs or their closest competition would need to go on a streak as we have never seen before or both. Chances are the Spurs will hold the NBA’s best winning percentage for another lifetime, and the Canadiens, their closest competition, would still need a dynasty to make a move.
All historical numbers were pulled from Sports-Reference