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DAR Sports: The 13 Greatest NBA Players To Never Win A Title

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The goal in the NBA is to win a championship. Acquire the trophy. Win a ring. Sure, the individual stats and the MVP award means a lot, but winning awards without a title to go next to it is just a bit empty for most players. Today, I wanted to take a look at the 13 greatest players to never win a title. This criteria is based on era they played in, stats, other accolades, and impact on the game. This list just recently had a name scratched off of it, as Kevin Durant won his first (of possibly many) NBA Title. I have to hold off on including Elgin Baylor as well, because he technically has a ring, and though many don't recognize it as being legit, it is. With that being said, let's take a look at the greatest players that haven't won a championship. There are a few on this list who still have a chance, but for the majority that time has passed. Let's get into it.  

*Karl Malone

-I would have to consider Malone the best player to never win a ring in the NBA, if I'm not being biased at least. Karl Malone is one of the leading scorers of all time, and he was a regular playoff player through his career. Through all of his season with the Utah Jazz, he won the MVP Award, earned multiple All-NBA awards, and helped lead the Jazz to two back to back NBA Titles. Unfortunately, he would come across a juggernaut named Michael Jordan in 1997 and 1998, who ended up killing his chances of winning. He would make the Finals once more in 2004 with the Lakers, but come up short yet again. It's a shame Malone never got one title, but Michael Jordan stopped so many guys from winning their title (there are a few more on this list he stopped).

*Patrick Ewing

-I fully believe that Ewing should have a title. 1994 was his year. That was the year for the Knicks. It is beyond unfortunate that he doesn't have a ring, and nothing is worse than being so close to winning and not being able to finish the deal. The Knicks were the toughest team to beat in the East during the 90s besides the Bulls, but the fact remains, aside from 1994 where the Knicks reached the Finals (while Jordan was retired), Ewing just couldn't get beyond Jordan and the Bulls. As his body began becoming affected by age, Ewing would walk away from the game without a title, and his 2nd chance to win a ring was ruined by injuries in 1999. Despite being a favorite of mine in the 90s, Ewing couldn't complete the final step in his legendary career.

*Russell Westbrook

-When it is all said and done, I'm sure Russ will make it back to the NBA Finals. Maybe. Who knows. The fact remains that a player who has made it to the NBA Finals before, has garnered multiple All-NBA and All Star selections, won two scoring titles, broke the record for the most triple doubles in a season, averaged a triple double for the first time in over 50 years, and won MVP doesn't have the ring. It's the next piece in his career and the only thing left. Russ has been a part of 60 win teams, 55 win teams, put his team on his back, but the only thing he hasn't done is win a championship (and play elite defense).

*Dominique Wilkins

-It is a true shame that Dominique never got a chance to taste championship gold. It's honestly one of the more unfortunate occurrences to happen in the NBA. During his era, the bigger names were Clyde Drexler, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan, all of whom have a championship to their name. Playing with the Atlanta Hawks in the 80s was the closest Dominique got to championship glory, and he fell short due to the dominance of the Celtics during this time, which led to a great rivalry. It would have been great to see one of the greatest dunkers and one of the best small forwards win a championship, but it wasn't in the cards.

*Chris Paul

-In many ways, CP3 has yet to live up to his potential and it seems unlikely he manages to get a championship in this era. While it's not out of the realm of possibility, the truth of the matter is that CP3 has now entered the decline phase and is no longer in his prime. This presents a bit of a challenge for him now in Houston, and we've seen what occurred in his year in Los Angeles. Still, despite his failures in the playoffs, CP3 is still one of the greatest pure point guards that we've ever seen. He probably won't win a MVP award, and there's a chance he might not win a title (he has a decent chance in Houston if he stays), but he's a legend and a Hall of Famer regardless.

*Steve Nash

-His accolades and his reputation are solidified. Though I don't think he deserved to win back to back MVP awards, Steve Nash is still a legend and of course a future Hall of Famer. The problem here is that Nash wasn't the championship style leader and he was on teams that were stacked offensively, but lacked a bit defensively. When he was with the Phoenix Suns, that was the closest he came to reaching the Finals, but they were never able to get beyond the dominant franchises of the era. Whether it was the Kobe Bryant led Lakers or the Dirk led Mavericks or the Spurs, the Suns and Nash just could never get it done. He's got a lot of solo accolades, but I'm sure Nash would have loved to have won that ring to complete his career.

*John Stockton

-One of the best point guards in the game during his era, if not the best, Stockton is in the same boat as Malone. One of the most iconic duos in sports history just couldn't finish the job, but to be fair, when you're going against quite possibly the greatest duo in basketball history in the Finals twice (which includes the greatest player ever), your task is a bit tougher than the norm. Stockton was an assist machine, a pure point guard, and a legendary player, but of course, coming so close to the title and not winning one had to hurt.

*Vince Carter

-I will forever look at Vinsanity as one of those players who literally missed out so many times. He either joins a team that has no chance of making the Finals, a team that has already been to the Finals, or a team that was a Finals favorite and came up short in the end. After his stint with the Raptors, he would end up joining the Nets a year too late after they made the Finals twice, then he joined the Orlando Magic the season after they went to the Finals, then he joined the Mavericks the year after the won the title, and none of those teams ever made it back to the Finals. After a solid stint in Memphis, the 40 year old Vince decided to sign to the Sacramento Kings, which is likely to end any chance of his title hopes. Unless Vince joins the Warriors for the vet minimum next season to be a part of their 3rd string squad, I think he finishes his career without a ring. It's a shame.

*Reggie Miller

- One of the greatest three point shooters ever came up short numerous times in his quest to win a title. He was able to take over a game in his prime, and through the 1994 and 1995 seasons, he saw his best opportunity without Michael Jordan being in basketball, but was stopped short by the Knicks and the Orlando Magic. 1998 saw the Pacers come this close to heading to the Finals, but Jordan and the Bulls stopped that. The Pacers finally made it in 2000, but had the unfortunate pleasure of running into the Shaq and Kobe Lakers as they were beginning their dominant run. Still, the Pacers pushed them to 6 games, and showed they weren't going down without a fight. Reggie was the star of the Pacers and though he was a great player, he came up just a bit short in his title quest.

*George Gervin

-The Iceman. One of the best scorers this game has ever seen never earned a championship. Gervin was a part of some solid teams through his career, but there was always a team that was much better or just ahead of the pack. With that being an issue, Gervin had to settle for being a scoring champion and other individual accolades, but that elusive NBA Title woupd have been the perfect cap to a legendary Hall of Fame career.

*Tracy McGrady

-He was so close to actually no longer being on this list. It was 2013. The Spurs had little use for McGrady off their bench, but they were a few seconds away from winning the NBA Title. Then they got lazy, the Heat came back, and the rest is history. McGrady didn't go to the Finals in his prime, he didn't get a MVP Award, but he did end up with multiple All Star and All-NBA selections, as well as scoring titles. With his injuries being one of the main things that held him back, T-Mac is a prime example of what if, as his best years were spent on bad teams and trying to recover from nagging injuries. He's got some classic moments in his career for sure, but we know that he would have much rather tasted championship glory. If only the Spurs would have held on to win the Finals. He wouldn't be on this list.

*Charles Barkley

-He was one of my favorite players in the 90s and he's one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, but much like another legendary power forward on this list, he had no championship to show for it. He managed to come close, and make the NBA Finals, but like many stars in the 90s, Michael Jordan stood in his way of winning a ring. While with the 76ers and Rockets, Barkley got close to the Finals, but his chance came in 1993 with the Phoenix Suns as the no. 1 seed in the West. He was the MVP that season and came up short in 6 games to Jordan and the Bulls. This was his only shot at a title, but make no mistake, he's still a legend and definitely deserved to win a title. If only Sir Charles had the ring, his legacy would be even greater.

*Allen Iverson

-Of course. The Answer. As controversial as his career might have been, Iverson is one of those players that walked the line of being one of the best for many years. Though I would never pinpoint out a year where he was actually the best, he did manage to become a scoring machine, winning multiple scoring titles, multiple All Star and All-NBA selections, a trip to the Finals, and a MVP Award. He also has an amazing performance in the Finals to his credit, as game 1 of the 2001 Finals against the Lakers is his finest hour in the playoffs. Still, despite all of that, Iverson finished his career without the main reason they all play for: a ring. That's one thing about these legends. No matter how they accomplished, how many individual awards they won, it still doesn't compare to having a championship. They're still legends regardless, but I guarantee you they would trade some of those accolades away for a NBA Title, which shows you the importance of winning in the game of basketball.


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