Teams With the Most Hall of Famers

August 24, 2018 by Grant Suneson

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When trying to build a championship squad, pro sports franchises have to rely on great players to lead their teams to victory. Sure, team chemistry and coaching are important, but players who can dominate at their position and make their teammates better are essential for sporting success.

Players who have a good season are often rewarded with All-Star game appearances or even a new, high-paying contract. But those who can sustain a high-level of play over the course of an entire career are rewarded with the highest honor an athlete can receive — induction to the sport’s Hall of Fame.

In order to get to the Hall of Fame, players need natural talent, hard work, enough luck to avoid injury — and to be put in a situation where they can be successful. Many teams have been unable to find a recipe for developing successful players. But franchises that consistently win titles have found sustained success by routinely drafting talented players and developing them into superstars.

Professional sports are always growing and evolving, and the athletics landscape today looks very different than it did in the early 20th century, when many of the major sports leagues began. Franchises often relocate and change their names but retain the history of past success and players. Many of the Hall of Famers on this list played for teams that no longer exist, outside of the record books. Inductees who contributed to past franchises that have since moved or changed names are listed as members of the current team as it now exists, in 2018.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Hall of Fame website for the four major American sports leagues — the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL — to determine the teams with the most Hall of Famers.

Click here to see the teams with the most Hall of Famers.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

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34. San Francisco 49ers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 16
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice
> First season: 1946

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most stories franchises in the NFL, with five championships. The team struggled for more than 30 years after its founding but became a dominant team in the 1980s, winning five Super Bowls from 1981 to 1994. Many of the 49ers Hall of Famers are from that era, including quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, safety Ronnie Lott, wide receiver Jerry Rice, and coach Bill Walsh.

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33. Oakland Raiders
> Total Hall of Fame players: 16
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Howie Long, Ken Stabler
> First season: 1960

The Oakland Raiders are planning to move to Las Vegas before the start of the 2020 season, and the franchise will take a lot of history from California with it. The Raiders won three Super Bowls after merging into the NFL from the AFL. Former head coach John Madden and late Raiders owner Al Davis are storied figures in NFL history and are enshrined in Canton for their contributions to the game.

Source: Joe Robbins / Getty Images

32. Dallas Cowboys
> Total Hall of Fame players: 16
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith
> First season: 1960

For America’s Team, most of the Dallas Cowboys’ Hall of Fame members are from two separate dynasties. In the 1970s, Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry and the Cowboys’ Doomsday Defense led Dallas to two titles. In the 1990s, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin — known as The Triplets — powered Dallas’s high-flying office to three more Super Bowl wins. All three have since been enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Source: Getty Images

31. Colorado Avalanche
> Total Hall of Fame players: 16
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg
> First season: 1979

Shortly after leaving Quebec for Colorado, the Avalanche won two Stanley Cups. The 1996 and 2001 championship teams were linked by a trio of Hall of Famers: Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, and Patrick Roy. Though the franchise never won a championship while in Quebec, it had several Hall of Fame players during that time, including Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny.

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30. Cleveland Browns
> Total Hall of Fame players: 16
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Jim Brown, Otto Graham
> First season: 1946 (inactive 1996-1998)

Though the Cleveland Browns have been one of the worst teams in football in the last decade, many of the greatest players in NFL history spent their careers there. Hall of Fame enshrinees Dante Lavelli, Frank Gatski, Lou Groza, and Otto Graham all joined the Browns in their inaugural 1946 season and helped the team make it to six straight NFL championship games starting in 1950. Unfortunately for the Browns, there have not been many Hall of Fame-caliber players on the team since. The most recent Hall of Fame player to spend a significant amount of time in Cleveland, Joe DeLamielleure, who left the team in 1984.

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29. Atlanta Braves
> Total Hall of Fame players: 17
> League: MLB
> Notable players: Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones
> First season: 1876

The Atlanta Braves franchise moved twice and changed names several times, but it has always had top-tier players. Former home run king Hank Aaron played for the Braves for 21 seasons, in both Atlanta and Milwaukee, winning a World Series in 1957. More recently, the Braves won the 1995 World Series behind three Cy Young-winning pitchers — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz — as well as third baseman Chipper Jones. All four have since been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

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28. Sacramento Kings
> Total Hall of Fame players: 17
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Oscar Robertson, Tiny Archibald
> First season: 1948

The Sacramento Kings, once known as the Royals, have played in five different cities. By the team moved to California, many of the franchise’s best players were long gone. Of the 17 Kings Hall of Fame inductees, 12 played during the Royals era of the franchise from 1948-1972. Oscar Robertson is likely the most recognizable name in Kings history, though others like Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes are also honored in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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27. Philadelphia 76ers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 17
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Julius Erving, Charles Barkley
> First season: 1949

Philadelphia 76ers fans have been able to enjoy watching some of the most exciting and dominant players in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Allen Iverson all won NBA MVP in Sixers red and blue. The team has won three NBA championships, and with exciting young players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, more titles and Hall of Famers could be on the way.

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26. Los Angeles Kings
> Total Hall of Fame players: 17
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Marcel Dionne, Rob Blake
> First season: 1967

Hockey may not be closely associated with Southern California, but the Los Angeles Kings are one of the oldest NHL teams. The Kings have a large number of Hall of Fame alumni — most notably the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. Players like Marcel Dionne and Rob Blake spent the majority of their careers in Los Angeles before being inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. After winning two titles in three seasons in the early 2010s, more Kings could be on their way to the Hall of Fame as well.

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Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

25. Chicago Cubs
> Total Hall of Fame players: 17
> League: MLB
> Notable players: Ron Santo, Ernie Banks
> First season: 1876

The Chicago Cubs famously had a 108-year World Series drought from 1908 to 2016, but it wasn’t for a lack of Hall of Fame talent. Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and Ryne Sandberg gave Cubs fans hope during the title drought. Ten different Cubs players won NL MVP, including Banks twice. Five Cubs have also been awarded the NL Cy Young award for best pitcher.

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24. Washington Wizards
> Total Hall of Fame players: 18
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes
> First season: 1961

The Washington Wizards franchise had its heyday in the 1970s, when the team, then known as the Bullets, made four different NBA Finals appearances, winning once in 1978. That championship squad was led by Hall of Fame inductees Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes. Though the franchise has struggled to find playoff success since, it has had a number of great players like Bernard King and Michael Jordan, though neither of those players had their best years with the Wizards.

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23. Los Angeles Rams
> Total Hall of Fame players: 18
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Jack Youngblood, Marshall Faulk
> First season: 1937

The Rams franchise has the rare distinction of winning championships in three different cities. The Cleveland Rams won the 1945 NFL championship, The Los Angeles Rams won in 1951, and the St. Louis Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. The Super Bowl-winning Rams, known as the Greatest Show on Turf for their high-octane offense, were led by a trio of Hall of Famers: quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, and left tackle Orlando Pace.

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22. St. Louis Cardinals
> Total Hall of Fame players: 19
> League: MLB
> Notable players: Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby
> First season: 1882

Since 1900, the St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the most dominant teams in baseball, winning 11 World Series titles. Players like Ozzie Smith, Stan Musial, and Dizzy Dean helped St. Louis win titles and were named to multiple All-Star teams.

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21. New York Giants
> Total Hall of Fame players: 19
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Michael Strahan, Lawrence Taylor
> First season: 1925

The New York Giants have had two of the greatest defensive players of all time in Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan. Both are among the all-time leaders in sacks, and both led the Giants to a Super Bowl title. Some 17 other Giants players, coaches, and front office personnel have also been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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20. Washington Redskins
> Total Hall of Fame players: 20
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Darrell Green, Art Monk
> First season: 1932

The Washington Redskins have five championships, two before the AFL-NFL merger and then three Super Bowls in a 10 year span. Typically, runs like this are linked to a quarterback, like Terry Bradshaw or Tom Brady, but Washington’s three Super Bowl wins came with three different quarterbacks. Those teams owe much of their success to Hall of Famers like wide receiver Art Monk, lineman Russ Grimm, and head coach Joe Gibbs.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

19. St. Louis Blues
> Total Hall of Fame players: 21
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Brett Hull, Al MacInnis
> First season: 1967

The St. Louis Blues are one of very few teams to boast a wide array of Hall of Fame players, though they have yet to win championship. The Blues lost in the Stanley Cup Finals each of their first three seasons and haven’t been back since. Despite the more than 50 year title drought, the Blues have been home to Hall of Fame players like Bernie Federko and Brett Hull.

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18. Pittsburgh Steelers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 21
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Joe Greene, Mike Webster
> First season: 1933

With six Super Bowl wins, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful team in the modern NFL. The Steelers owe their success to their early 1970s. Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris led the offense, and Jack Lambert and “Mean” Joe Greene led the defense, earning the team four Super Bowl victories in six seasons.

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17. Detroit Pistons
> Total Hall of Fame players: 21
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars
> First season: 1948

The Detroit Pistons’ greatest teams often take on the gritty, blue collar attitude of the city itself. The “Bad Boy” Pistons won consecutive titles in 1989 and 1990, featuring Hall of Famers Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, and Isiah Thomas.

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16. Atlanta Hawks
> Total Hall of Fame players: 21
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Dominique Wilkins, Bob Pettit
> First season: 1949

Though recent versions of the Atlanta Hawks have struggled to find success, the franchise has a rich history. In the early days of the NBA, the Hawks — located in Milwaukee and then St. Louis — were perennial threats to win the NBA championship with players like Bob Pettit and Zelmo Beaty. Even though the Hawks have been in Atlanta for 50 years, most Hawks in the Hall of Fame are from the franchise’s first 20 seasons.

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15. New York Knicks
> Total Hall of Fame players: 24
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Walt Frazier, Patrick Ewing
> First season: 1946

At least one New York Knicks player from each decade was inducted to the Hall of Fame, starting with Harry Gallatin in the 1940s. During the Knicks heyday of the early 1970s, there were as many as six Hall of Fame players on the roster. Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Jerry Lucas, Earl Monroe, and Willis Reed helped New York win its second NBA championship in four years.

Source: New York World-Telegram / The Sun staff photographer / Library of Congress

14. Golden State Warriors
> Total Hall of Fame players: 24
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry
> First season: 1946

The Golden State Warriors are the class of the NBA, winning three of the past four championships. Being loaded with talent is nothing new for the team however. Players like Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry led the Warriors to dominance in the 1960s and 1970s. Twenty-four Warriors have been inducted to the Hall of Fame, and others like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant will likely join them soon.

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13. San Francisco Giants
> Total Hall of Fame players: 25
> League: MLB
> Notable players: Willie Mays, Mel Ott
> First season: 1883

Of the 25 Giants Hall of Fame inductees, 20 primarily played for the team while it was still in New York, before it moved out west in 1957. Only Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Gaylord Perry have been inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame as San Francisco Giants. Though the Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014, the team had a more than 50-year long championship drought after leaving New York. Barry Bonds, arguably the franchise’s greatest player in history, could miss out on the Hall of Fame because of his steroid controversy.

Source: Joe Robbins / Getty Images

12. Green Bay Packers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 25
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Brett Favre, Bart Starr
> First season: 1921

The Green Bay Packers are the most successful franchise in NFL history, winning 13 championships, dating back to 1929 and the pre-Super Bowl era. Many Packers Hall of Famers revolutionized the game of football, including team founder Curly Lambeau and coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named. Over a dozen all-time great players suited up in Green Bay and helped the Packers win championships, including Don Hutson, Paul Hornung, and Reggie White.

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11. New York Yankees
> Total Hall of Fame players: 26
> League: MLB
> Notable players: Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle
> First season: 1903

With 27 World Series pennants, the New York Yankees are not only the most successful MLB franchise, but also the greatest organization in American pro sports. Past Yankees like Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle are some of the most storied athletes in sports history. The franchise would likely be much higher on this list if it were not for the Baseball Hall of Fame much more restrictive listings than those in other sports. Still, players like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will likely add to the total and join their fellow Yankees in Cooperstown very soon.

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10. Los Angeles Lakers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 27
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson
> First season: 1948

The Minneapolis Lakers won championships in five of their first six seasons and have been a force in the NBA ever since, winning 16 titles overall. The Lakers dynasties have been lead by some of the greatest basketball players ever, including Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and others. With LeBron James joining the team in 2018, the Lakers certainly have a chance to add more banners in Los Angeles.

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9. Chicago Bears
> Total Hall of Fame players: 28
> League: NFL
> Notable players: Mike Singletary, Walter Payton
> First season: 1920

No NFL team has more Hall of Famers than the Chicago Bears. The Bears have a tradition of hard-nosed players, like Mike Ditka, Mike Singletary, and 2018 enshrinee Brian Urlacher. Though the Bears have just one Super Bowl win, the franchise was dominant in the early days of the NFL, particularly the 1930s and 1940s. Link Lyman, Bronko Nagurski, and other Bears from that era are among the most revered players in football history.

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8. Ottawa Senators
> Total Hall of Fame players: 30
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Georges Boucher, King Clancy
> First season: 1917 (inactive 1934-1992)

Since reforming in 1993, the Ottawa Senators have only had one Hall of Fame player, Dominik Hasek, on their roster. But before the 58-season hiatus, the Senators were the class of the NHL, winning four championships from 1920-1927. Those early Senators teams are responsible for almost all of the Ottawa Hall of Famers — including legends like Art Ross, King Clancy, and Georges Boucher.

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7. Boston Celtics
> Total Hall of Fame players: 33
> League: NBA
> Notable players: Larry Bird, Bill Russell
> First season: 1946

The Boston Celtics had the most dominant stretch in American pro sports history, winning 11 championships in 13 seasons, starting with the 1956-1957 season. That season, the Celtics had seven different Hall of Fame players on their roster, including Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. In total, Boston has had 33 Hall of Fame players, coaches, and executives, and 17 NBA titles.

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6. Chicago Blackhawks
> Total Hall of Fame players: 44
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita
> First season: 1926

As one of the Original Six NHL teams, the Chicago Blackhawks are one of the oldest continuously-operating NHL franchises. Despite facing off against just five other teams during the Original Six era (1942-1967), the Blackhawks won just one Stanley Cup during that 25 year stretch and have fewer Hall of Fame inductees than the rest of the Original Six teams. However, with Chicago winning the 2010, 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cups, the team will likely have more players inducted soon.

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Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

5. New York Rangers
> Total Hall of Fame players: 51
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Ed Giacomin, Brian Leetch
> First season: 1926

The New York Rangers are tied with the Boston Bruins with 51 Hall of Famers, but New York could soon break the tie. Former Rangers greats like Dan Boyle and Brad Richards will be eligible for induction starting in 2019. If elected, they’ll join other Ranger legends like Ed Giacomin and Brian Leetch.

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4. Boston Bruins
> Total Hall of Fame players: 51
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque
> First season: 1924

The Boston Bruins have had two of the greatest hockey players of all time in Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque. Orr, despite being a defenseman, was one of the greatest scorers ever. Bourque played 21 seasons for the Bruins and made 18 All-Star teams in that time. Other Bruins legends like Phil Esposito and Eddie Shore helped the team win six Stanley Cups in their history.

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3. Montreal Canadiens
> Total Hall of Fame players: 56
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur
> First season: 1917

No hockey team has won as many championships as the Montreal Canadiens. In 100 seasons, the Habs have won 24 Stanley Cups — a mark no other hockey team can even come close to. Montreal won 15 titles in 24 seasons starting in 1955, led by Hall of Fame players like Jacques Plante, Rocket Richard, and Jean Beliveau.

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2. Detroit Red Wings
> Total Hall of Fame players: 59
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman
> First season: 1926

The Detroit Red Wings had more than 40 years of failure from the mid 1950s to the mid 1990s bookended by two impressive dynastiest. Detroit won the Stanley Cup in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955, then didn’t win again until their back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. The 1950s Red Wings were led by Hall of Famers like captain Sid Abel and Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe. Many of the late 1990s Red Wings have also been inducted, including Igor Larionov, Steve Yzerman, and Nicklas Lidstrom — a four-time Cup winner with Detroit.

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1. Toronto Maple Leafs
> Total Hall of Fame players: 65
> League: NHL
> Notable players: Turk Broda, Darryl Sittler
> First season: 1917

No team in pro sports has had more members inducted into the Hall of Fame than the Toronto Maple Leafs. After a century of play, Toronto has 13 championships and 65 Hall of Famers. The franchise was especially great in the 1940s and 1960s, when players like Turk Broda, Syl Apps, Harry Watson, and Tim Horton dominated the ice. The first half of the Maple Leafs’ history is especially impressive compared to the second half. Toronto hasn’t won a championship since 1967 — and the flow of Hall of Fame players has decreased dramatically.

Detailed findings & methodology:

The Hockey Hall of Fame lists players differently than the other halls of fame. An inducted hockey player is listed with all the teams he ever played for, whereas MLB players are only associated with one team. When separating Hall of Famers by franchise, the NFL breaks up enshrinees into whether they were major or minor contributors to a franchise. For instance, Jerry Rice is a major contributor to the San Francisco 49ers as he spent many successful years with that franchise. Rice is also a minor contributor to the Seattle Seahawks because he played nine games there. For this article, Rice is only counted as a San Francisco 49er.

The six teams with the most inducted players of any league are the NHL’s Original Six franchises: The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Original Six were the only NHL franchises from 1942 to 1967, so any great hockey players in those years played for one of those franchises. The three other leagues were also in operation during that time (the NBA’s forerunner the BAA began in 1946), but all had more franchises, so the talent was more evenly distributed.

Honors at the NBA and NHL halls of fame are limited to professional players. The sports of basketball and hockey honor athletes from the college and amateur ranks, as well as coaches and general managers, entire groundbreaking teams, and media contributors in their halls of fame.

Most of these teams have decades of history, but two of the entries on this list — the Cleveland Browns and Ottawa Senators — went defunct and came back. The first incarnation of the Browns moved from Cleveland to Baltimore after the 1995 season, where it became the Ravens. The Browns came back to Cleveland in 1999, but found little success since then, only making the playoffs once. The Senators had a much longer hiatus. The original Senators folded after the 1933-1934 season and didn’t come back until 1992. Despite over five decades of absence, the original Senators were so loaded with great players that the team still has among the most Hall of Fame players of any hockey franchise.

To determine the teams with the most Hall of Fame inductees, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the players as organized by franchise on the Hall of Fame website for each of the four major American sports leagues — NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL. Only active franchises were considered.

Each sport’s Hall of Fame associates players with franchises differently. MLB Hall of Famers were listed with one primary team. Enshrined NFL Hall of Famers had at least one primary team, though some have multiple primary teams, as they greatly contributed to multiple organizations. NFL honorees were counted for all teams for which they are considered a major contributor. NBA and NHL Hall of Famers were listed with each team they played for in their careers. For the NBA, only coaches and players were considered. For the NHL, only players were considered. Teams with an identical number of Hall of Fame players were organized alphabetically.