The Best Players To Never Win An NBA Championship

At the end of the day, only one team is fortunate to win an NBA Championship each season. It’s brutal, it’s unfair, and, ultimately, unpredictable. Heck, LeBron James, one of the league’s best players ever, has only managed to win twice. Man, if LeBron has only won twice, what hope does that leave the rest of the league? For some, they were cursed to play during the same era as Michael Jordan, for others, it was the inability of players around them as the franchises wallowed and stalled throughout their respective careers. Either way, these athletes are some of the best to ever play the sport and not come out on top a single time. Fortunately for them, their legacies are long preserved already, but surely they wish things could’ve been just a little bit different. 6. Reggie Miller Reggie Miller will forever be one of the greatest shooters to grace the game and ranks second all-time in three-pointers made, trailing just Ray Allen, who broke his record only a few years ago. Although our very own Stephen Curry is quickly approaching Miller, the legacy of the Pacer guard is untouchable. From torching Knicks and Spike Lee in the playoffs to scoring eight points in nine seconds, Miller is a post-season hero. Although Reggie came close a few times, he never won a ring — which is unfortunate because he’s one of the most entertaining players to step foot on a court. 5. Allen Iverson Iverson, the exciting prospect from Georgetown, immediately set the NBA on fire with his ankle-breaking crossovers and cocky attitude. The Philadelphia 76er star led the league in scoring four times, but only reached the NBA Finals once. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t carry his team past Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Sixers were clearly overmatched in such a series, Iverson averaged an insane 36 points per game before the Lakers eliminated them in five. Undeniably, Iverson can be a polarizing figure, but he absolutely helped usher in a new era of professional basketball. Iverson, who will be eligible for the Hall in 2016, will most definitely be a first ballot winner, but, without a ring, people will be left wondering what could’ve been. 4. Patrick Ewing Ewing, who is the Knicks’ best player in franchise history, was an eleven time all-time and reached the Finals twice. Despite Ewing’s best efforts, the Knicks crumbled in back-to-back chances to eliminate the Houston Rockets in 1994 and fell in seven games. The looming center physically punished some of the league’s best post players ever on a regular basis and stands as last good era in New York basketball. Unfortunately for Ewing, the Knicks, and many of the players on this list, they couldn’t take advantage of the one year that Michael Jordan took off for baseball. 1994, when the Knicks lost to the Rockets, helped sandwich two Bulls’ back-to-back-to-back dynasties. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ewing and the eighth seeded Knicks fell to the Spurs in 1999. Better luck next time, Patrick! 3. Charles Barkley The Round Mound of Rebound may not know how to swing a golf club, but boy, oh, boy, could he score! Barkley, another victim of Michael Jordan’s dominance, played for sixteen years and only reached the Finals once. Although Barkley won an MVP in 1993 and made the All-Star team eleven times, he may just go down as one of the very best to never win a championship. These poor guys couldn’t even win in Space Jam as the MonStars, who famously stole Barkley and Ewing’s powers, ultimately lost to the Tune Squad on a last second shot from, you guessed it, Michael Jordan. 2. Steve Nash Even worse, Steve Nash, who won two-MVP awards in 2005 and 2006, never even made it to the Finals. As the fearless leader of the Eight Seconds or Less Suns, Nash was a revelation for Phoenix alongside stars like Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion but never quite reached the summit. Those Suns lost in back-to-back Conference Finals in, again, 2005 and 2006, and fell there in 2010 as well, all to the eventual winners — San Antonio, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Nash could do it all too; from the line, behind the arc, or in the paint, the point guard came up clutch time and time again. Injuries forced the legend out of the game in 2015, but his legacy will never be forgotten. 1. Karl Malone + John Stockton Now, if you think the others had it bad, this tag-team duo of Jazz franchise players will rock your world. They conquered the Western Conference twice in row during the 1997 and 1998 seasons, but fell to Michael Jordan both times. John Stockton finished his career with no ring, but the first-place leader in both steals and assists. On the other hand, Malone, who ranks second all-time in total points with 36,928, dominated the court for Utah over the majority of his long career. At the end of it, however, still searching for that elusive ring, he joined the Lakers in 2004. Armed with Bryant, O’Neal, and fellow ring chaser Gary Payton, pundits raved that they had created the best team of all-time. Ultimately, the team went all the way to the Finals before losing to the Detroit Pistons in five games, leaving Malone forever ringless.

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