This isn't strictly an NBA conversation, obviously. But this IS my favorite sports forum in general. And it is at least part-NBA. So what the heck. Now, what do I mean by best? I'm going to start with a local example. The Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings are, IMO, the 'best' franchise in professional hockey. There is a "Red Wings Way" of doing things. Of playing. Of drafting. Of developing. Of treating veterans well. Of grooming future head coaches and high-level executives from within. Of stability and continuity. I can only speak to my lifetime (since 1987). But in my lifetime, the Red Wings have been the 'best' franchise in professional hockey. Their third cup - in 2002 - was kind of yankees-like, with all the high-priced talent that was brought in. But aside from that, it's been pure. The Penguins are a close second, with the way Mario Lemieux and co. have remained involved taking the franchise from one era to the next. The Blackhawks, having brought in Scotty Bowman from Detroit as a lead advisor, are burgeoning in this category. The Devils have been tailing off, but are still a 'good' franchise. And there are, of course, some other good programs building up as well.. but who haven't been there long enough (Boston, Los Angeles, etc.) NHL: Detroit Red Wings. NBA: In basketball, I believe the 'best' franchise is the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers have won the most championships in my lifetime...but they are sort of like the yankees of basketball, in that they have more or less purchased their championships. The Bulls have won the second most, but really, they just got lucky in having one guy. Miami's the current franchise-to-be, but again, yankees-like. The Pistons are actually worth mentioning, in that we've won championships in two different eras, and a presence from the first era - Joe-D - was running things for the second. The Celtics are similar in that way, though they more or less bought their one championship since 1987. But back to the SPURS. There is definitely a San Antonio "way" of playing, coaching, drafting, developing, grooming, treating, etc. There isn't much question for me in this one. NBA: San Antonio Spurs. MLB: This is a tough call. The yankees have won, by far, the most world series' in my lifetime - but in a very yankee ($$$) fashion. Boston I'll throw into that group too, but not as good at it. It's a four-horse race for me. And it's very, very close. There's the Phillies. Just one championship in my lifetime, but a perennial contender. High-priced pay-roll, but only because their draft picks have been so expensive to keep. There's the Giants. Two championships in the last three seasons. Middling pay-roll. There's definitely something to their "way". There's the Cardinals. Two championships in the last, idk, half-dozen or so years. Middling pay-rolls. Something to their system as well. Then, of course, there's the Braves. Just one championship since 1987. But Bobby Cox took them to the playoffs 14 seasons-in-a-row. Never the biggest pay-rolls either. Very, very hard to say. I guess I'd rule out the Braves because they haven't been relevant recently. And, idk, I guess I'd pick the Cardinals. LaRussa picked his own successor - a true rare-ity in stability in professional sports. And they're still super relevant. MLB: St. Louis Cardinals. NFL: This, I think, was the toughest call. The NFL's sort of the ultimate sport for this category, as there's been a strict salary cap for a long time, and it's tough for big-time FA's to move. The Giants have actually won the most championships in my lifetime - - and I believe Coughlin used to be on Parcells' staff, so there's carry-over there. The Patriots have won the second most, and again, there's carry over there too, from Parcells to Belichick (though Parcells just won the AFC championship there). Though SF's good again, there's not a real connection between Walsh and Harbaugh. The Cowboys haven't made it into a second era. The Packers are a team that's won championships in two eras, with the same front office. The Steelers too. Even the Ravens, to some extent. The Colts have just one championship, but that's a tremendous system in place there (and we'll see what A. Luck can do). New Orleans has a nice program in place too, but it hasn't been long-lasting. I guess it comes down to the Giants, the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Ravens and Colts. Bill Parcells has had at least a small part in building seven championship teams. I think it's clear that the Patriots got the best-groomed assistant of his (Belichick). So, I guess I'm going to go with the Pats. The Giants are close though. As are the Packers and Steelers. And I guess the Ravens too.. though we'll see what happens post R. Lewis and E. Reed there. NFL: New England Patriots. I can't stop and I want to get into major college sports. NCAA MBball: I don't count Kentucky, sold their soul to the devil (yankees-like). UCLA is dead, has no connection to John Wooden (who was a cheater anyways.. look it up, the John Calipari of his era). Indiana is back, but has no affiliation with Bobby Knight. MSU's long-term success under T. Izzo can't be ignored, just one ring though. Kansas is one hell of a program. There's really no affiliation between R. Williams and B. Self - - but there's something to that program, for sure. North Carolina, is of course, up there.. as D. Smith groomed R. Williams. For me, it's DUKE. The best college basketball coach of all-time, IMO, is B. Knight. His successor is not at Indiana, but at Duke. There is definitely a "Duke" way of doing things, and I believe it's the best. NCAA MBball: Duke. NCAA Football: I don't Alabama, sold their soul to the devil (yankees-like...though Saban is a Belichick/Parcells descendant). Pete Carrol was a big-time cheater at USC. Nothing since he got busted. ohio was cheating too. Georgia's been a great program, but what have you done lately? Florida hasn't recovered since Saban got into town. Notre Dame appears to be back - - but with little to no ties to former eras. LSU's one of the few teams that still seems to be able to at least compete with Alabama, but Les Miles has no ties to the school's history (he is, however, groomed by the great Bo Schembechler, before being run out of Ann Arbor forever - - long story). For me, and I'll admit I'm biased, it comes down to three schools: ...Michigan. Bo. Lloyd. Hoke. Stability. And I believe we're on the verge of being the team that's going to knock off an SEC champ. ...Texas. Mack Brown's been there doing his thing forever, struggling mightily lately though. ...Oklahoma. Bob Stoops has been there forever too, but also struggling lately. I'm picking Hoke. I think there is a Michigan way. There's stability (again, after a brief stint). Things are done the right way. The Bo way. I might be biased, but I honestly do think it's Michigan. NCAA Football: Michigan.