The Golden State Warriors are rewriting a lot of NBA records.

While they seems unstoppable, is it worth asking ourselves if their incredible winning streak (22-0 to open the NBA season, 26 consecutive regular season wins -counting the final 4 2014-15 games-) is the most impressive in Basketball History.

I will take in consideration both historical overall winning streak record in 5 basketball main context (NBA, NCAA, Euroleague, Spain and Italy top leagues) and best winning streak to open a season (considering “modern era”).


Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) – November 1971 to January 1972

The 1971-72 NBA Champions

NBA Winning Streak Record belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers, whom were able to win an impressive total of 33 games in a row in the 1971-1972 season.

Bill Sherman coached a team led by several Hall of Famers like Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, featuring also Elgin Baylor’s last NBA games before retirement.

Lakers’ streak began on November 5th, 1971, after a 6-3 start in October. Their 110-106 win against the Baltimore Bullets meant the start of two consecutive unbeaten months, being their streak-ending-loss on January 9th, 1972, against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 33-wins streak was the highlight of a 69-wins Regular Season, an NBA record at the time, passed only by 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10 record). They went on their way to win, later that year, Franchise’s sixth NBA Title, the first one since their moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.

During that stretch the Lakers average an impressive 123.3 points per game, with an average win differential of 16 points.

UCLA Bruins (NCAA) – January 1971 to January 1974

Notre Dame’s Dwight Clay shooting the historical streak-ending shot

Probably the more unbeatable of the streak, the 88 consecutive wins achieved by UCLA between 1971 and 1974 surely represents a landmark in Sports History.

With Hall of Famers like Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes and coach John Wooden, the Bruins were able to stay unbeaten for two consecutive NCAA seasons, dominating college basketball with a 23.2 average win margin and a tenacious defense (only 61.7 points allowed per game).

During their streak, UCLA won three NCAA Titles, which added to their previous four wins since 1967 makes a total of 7 consecutive championships, a College Basketball record.

The streak came to an end on January 19th, 1974, due to a loss to Notre Dame, the same team which UCLA had lost his last game before the streak’s start. A late 12 points lead wasn’t enough to reach win number 89, but surely Bruins’ record will stand along for decades to come.

Real Madrid (Spain) – November 1971 to February 1974

Attendance of a Real Madrid game in 1971

Another historical streak straight from the 1970s is the Real Madrid 61 consecutive wins, a record for Spanish Basketball.

The Blancos managed to stay undefeated for the whole 1972-1973 season, plus big parts of 1971-1972 and 1973-1974.

The astonishing Real dominion is highlighted by an incredible average winning margin of 32.8 points per game, by far the best one in the streak considered here.

Madrid’s long winning path met an end in the 1974 clasico vs Barcelona, due to… a tie.

That game in Catalunya ended 58-58, as no overtime periods were expected at the time. Real went on to win the national championship that season, alongside with the European Champions Cup.

Olimpia Milano (Italy) – February 1962 to February 1964

1962-1963 Olimpia Milano

To track the Italian record we have to travel back to February 2nd, 1964, the day when ended the historical Olimpia (Simmenthal) Milano’s 47-games winning streak.

Led by Hall of Famers Cesare Rubini and Sandro Gamba, and by Italian Legend Sandro Riminucci, Milano reacquired the dominion of National Basketball with two consecutive titles during that streak, prevailing over their historical rivals Ignis Varese.

The series ending loss, occurred at the hands of Livorno, planed out the way to Varese’s return to Italian Basketball’s throne.

CSKA Moscow (Euroleague) – November 2006 to April 2007

Theo Papaloukas receiving the Silver Medal after Euroleague 2007 Final

Modern Era Euroleague has seen, in its brief history, a lot of great teams and amazing players. Competition is hard and it’s really tough to achieve a long winning streak.

That was the case of CSKA Moscow, able to score an impressive 18-win streak during 2006-2007 season, despite an attack under the standards of the team mentioned before (‘only’ 78.3 points per game during that stretch).

The team led by Greek legend Theo Papaloukas and coached by today’s San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach Ettore Messina was title holder in 06-07, but their back-to-back campaign was stopped in Euroleague’s Final by Panathinaikos, making CSKA the only team between these ‘Fab Five’ to not have win their competition despite their record-streak.


Real Madrid (Spain) – October 2013 to April 2014

Real Madrid after 2014 Copa del Rey win. Their only trophy that season.

It is often said that achieving an impressive winning streak to open a season means a lock on winning the title during the same season.

That was not the case for Real Madrid during the 2013-14, able to tally a 27-games winning streak to open the 2013-14 ACB season, not counting also their February triumph in Copa del Rey.

Even when Valencia put an end to the 27-games streak, few people thought that this Real was going to lose it all.

Real was dominating that season with both good offense and great defense: 87.5 PPG with an average win margin of 17.3 points per game.

But at the end it all went wrong for Pablo Laso’s team, which lost both Euroleague Final in overtime and Liga ACB title to Barcelona in 5 games.

Montepaschi Siena (Italy) – October 2008 to February 2009

Montepaschi Siena - EA7 Emporio Armani Milano gara 5
Simone Pianigiani, Montepaschi’s Coach at the time

Montepaschi Siena was, without a doubt, the dominatrix of Italian Basketball League in the last 15 years. Their bad ending shouldn’t overshadow their impressive run of 7 consecutive Italian League Championships.

They probably reached their peak during the 2008/09 season, after reaching the Euroleague Final Four the season before.

Siena started that season with 19 consecutive wins, an Italian Basketball record in the modern era. Their average are similar to Real’s one (90.9 PPG and 71.2 points allowed per game), but they later went on winning the title, being the streak-ending loss to Fortitudo Bologna in February 2009 Montepaschi’s lone lost game during their Italian League campaign that season.

Kentucky Wildcats (NCAA) – November 2014 to March 2015

Kentucky’s Perfect Season dreams vanishing after Semifinals loss to Wisconsin

Still in the minds of all Basketball Fans worldwide, Kentucky’s loss to Wisconsin during the last NCAA Basketball Final Four represented the end of the longest NCAA winning streak to start a season.

Calipari’s team, full of players who later were selected in the upcoming NBA Draft (between them the First overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns), started that year dreaming about the Perfect Season, something not been achieved since 1976 (Bobby Knight’s Indiana).

After a last-second win in the Elite 8 against Notre Dame, the Wildcats fell to the Wisconsin Badgers, led by Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, in a heart-breaking way and said goodbye to a possible 40-games win streak.

CSKA Moscow (Euroleague) – November 2004 to March 2005

Tau Vitoria upsets CSKA Moscow in 2005 Euroleague Semifinal

The Russian powerhouse also detains the record for the greatest start in Euroleague history, having achieved an impressive 17-games winning streak to open their 2004-2005 Euroleague campaign.

However, their Top 16 loss to Barcelona was a sort of prelude to one of the greatest upset in Euroleague Basketball history: their Final Four Semifinal loss to Tau Ceramica Vitoria, which later lost that final to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Golden State Warriors (NBA) – October 2015 to December 2015

Stephen Curry in Warriors’ 22nd consecutive win to open the 2015-16 NBA season

A lot has been written about the incredible Warriors’ winning streak, which smashed the previous record to start the season (15-0, detained by the Washington Capitols and the Houston Rockets).

While it seems like Golden State will never lose again, it’s interesting to observe how, between these 5 historical streaks, the Warriors detains the worst defense (100.2 ppg, 83.5 if we adjust it to 40 minutes), and their 14.9 ppg winning margin (12.4 adjusted to 40 minutes) is second-last only to 04-05 CSKA Moscow’s one.


USA Olympic Men Team – August 1936 to September 1972

Belov’s game winner for USSR against USA in 1972 Olympic Final

Between others relevant Basketball winning streaks, we surely have to count the USA Olympic Team winning streak: the Americans stayed unbeaten for the entire first seven Olympic Games edition, from Berlin 1936 to Mexico City 1968, as they entered the Munich 1972 games to make it eight in a row.

Between Team USA and their 67th consecutive Olympic Win there was the ‘traditional’ Final against the USSR Team.

The Americans were leading 50-49 in the final seconds. The rest is history.

Connecticut Huskies (Women) November 2008 to December 2010

Geno Auriemma, legendary Huskies coach

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of a long Basketball relationship: the one between Geno Auriemma and the Connecticut Huskies Women Team.

The Italian-born Hall of Famer has led UConn to 10 NCAA titles in the last 20 years, and was also able to surpass, with his team, the historical NCAA Basketball Record, made by John Wooden’s UCLA in the 70s, with 90 consecutive wins between November 2008 and December 2010.

Aris Thessaloniki (Greece) 1985/86 to 1988/89

Nikos Galis, Aris legend

The late 1980s were a Golden Era for Greek Basketball, which put itself into the European Basketball Map by winning the Gold Medal at 1987 EuroBasket and coming close to a repeat two years later, winning the Silver Medal in 1989 EuroBasket.

That historical team was led by Aris Thessaloniki’s legends Nikos Galis and Panagiotis Giannakis, whom were also able to lead their club team to an incredible 80-games winning streak between the 1985-86 and 1988-89 seasons.


Tonight (12AM, GMT) Warriors’ streak will be challenged by the Indiana Pacers, one of the most intriguing teams to watch in the NBA right now.

Maybe they will made it to 23 (and 27 overall, eventually tying the 2012-13 Miami Heat for the second longest winning streak in NBA History), but are we sure that this Warriors streak is the most impressive in Basketball History?

5 (+1) reasons why I will miss Kobe Bryant

With a wonderful letter on The Players’ Tribune, NBA Legend Kobe Bryant has announced that he will retire from Basketball at the end of this season.

He has surely been a unique player in Basketball History, capable of generating a variety of strong feelings, both positive and negative. It’s hard to recall an athlete of such level able to cause both extreme loyalty or ferocious hater-ism.

His style and his legacy has influenced today’s generation of NBA Stars through their maturation as players and as adults.

Kobe has been able to win in extreme fashion but also to ‘lose loud’.

We are going to miss him, mostly because our passion for the NBA has grown up alongside his career.

I’ve admired Kobe Bryant’s career although he hasn’t been one of my favorite players.

Here are five (+1) reasons why I will miss him.

1. His Finals Appearances

Having played the NBA Finals for 7 times (winning 5 of them), Kobe currently leads the league in this stat between active players.

From the Three-Peat to start the decade with Shaq to the Back-to-Back titles with Pau Gasol as his sidekick, but also going through the heartbreaking losses against the Pistons in 2004 and the Celtics in 2008, each one of Bryant’s career Finals Series is special in its own way.

His Finals Career Stats may not be the greatest possible (roughly 24.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.0 apg, 40.8% FG), but he was surely able to leave his indelible footprint in each one of this series.

2. The 2005/06 Season

In my humble opinion Bryant’s peak isn’t represented neither by his ‘sidekick three-peat’ or his ‘MVP back-to-back’, but by the 2005/06 NBA Season, one of the single greatest in NBA history.

It’s not only about his impressive scoring display that season (his career best 35.4 PPG that year is second only, in the last 40 NBA seasons, to Michael Jordan’s 86/87 season), but his ability to bring a less talented roster (Kobe’s main teammates were Lamar Odom and Smush Parker) one shot away from the Western Conference Semifinals.

His win share of 15.3, another career high, gives an idea of Kobe’s impact in 2005-06 Lakers.

It is also worth it to review some of that season amazing performances, first of all the 62-in-3-quarters against the eventual NBA Finalist that year Dallas Mavericks.

Before I mentioned the fact that those Lakers were one-shot-away from the Conference Semifinals. Kobe’s series against that powerful Suns team was definitely something to remember. Between all the moments, the two Game 4 clutch shots are the best highlight.

Last but surely not least… The 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors. One of those cases where you leave the images speaking for themselves.

3. Michael Jordan

Kobe Bryant is probably the most dedicated player of his generation.

His love for the game and his hunger to improve still are an example to young basketball players.

His career was undoubtedly marked by his rivalry with Michael Jordan, something that went on also after MJ retirement, in 2003.

“I like Kobe, we talk a lot, I hope he comes back healthy. I think he’s one of the great players of the game, that he’s done a lot for it, and that he has a true love for basketball. I absolutely have high regard for him. Even though he stole all my moves, I still love him like a brother” – Michael Jordan, August 2015.
His duel with His Airness is something worth it to be kept in a glass case and displayed in a museum.

Jordan’s last ASG, Atlanta 2003, might represent the most unforgettable moment of this long feud.

4. Love for the Game

To express that concept, I will go with a personal Kobe memory, from my first interview with Federico Buffa in 2013.

For English-native speakers, a good will of Kobe’s devotion for basketball is his ‘retirement poem’ on the Players’ Tribune.

5. Italian Kobe

Between Bryant’s fans, Italian ones deserve a distinction.

Kobe’s relationship with il Bel Paese goes through the years, to the time when his father Joe played for seven seasons the Italian Basketball League with Rieti, Reggio Calabria, Pistoia and Reggio Emilia.

It is in Italy where Kobe Bryant has learnt to play basketball, and his bond with my home country is something that goes beyond sport.

Bryant’s relationship with Italy is something quite known inside the NBA, as we can see it in one of his funniest moment in an All Star Game.

(+1): Yesterday’s Kobe vs. Today’s Bryant

After having broken the internet with his ‘retirement poem’, last night Kobe Bryant played his first game after the retirement announce.

The atmosphere in Staples Center was more special than the usual, mainly due to Kobe’s announcement.

With the game being battled in crunch time, there was room to experience some bits of Yesterday’s Kobe, despite the fact he’s playing what it could be expressed as the “worst season of all time

After this shot and a couple of free throws made by the Pacers, the stage was set for a possible Kobe Bryant Instant Classic.

But history does not always repeat itself.

Last NBA season won’t surely be Bryant’s best one.

But one thing is absolutely sure.

On April 13th, after a season-long farewell tour, the eyes of all basketball world will be pointed to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Kobe Bean Bryant will play the last (probable) game of his distinguished career.

And, in spite of these tough last seasons, it will be a moment to remember.