A sport is never just about winning medals and trophies and a player’s success can’t always be measured by it. In the end, there has to be only one winner.Legendary NBA players like Michael Jordan have helped carry their teams to championship wins, while some never won a title themselves.
Here are the top 10 NBA players who never won a championship ring.
1. PATRICK EWING
Ewing is considered one of the best centers of all-time in NBA history. In his 17-year career, the 11-time All-Star could not get past the Bulls champion Michael Jordan.MJ is said to have won the championships that could have fallen into the arms of Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon bagged the other ones.
This does not shadow the fact that he was named in the ‘50 Greatest Players in NBA historyin the year 1996 and was one of the 75 greatest players in 2021.Ewing had a Hall of Fame career and was a great player in the 90s golden era of the NBA, but teamed with a couple of bad luckresulted in him never winning a championship ring.
2. CHARLES BARKLEY
Barkley established himself well in the 16 seasons he played in the NBA. His excellent ability to score, defend, strength and resilience made him the11-timeAll-Starand an 11-time member of the All-NBA Team. The 6-foot-6 man with outrageous strength is one of the most talked-aboutplayers in the NBA.
Although he would fall short in the championship series and never won a championship ring, he is still one of the best players in NBA history. He was the fourth player in the history of the NBA to retire with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4000 assists in the year 2000. Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on two separate occasions.
3. KARL MALONE:
Considered one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, Malone is the name that pops up while talking about the best NBA players without a championship ring.Ruling the court as always, he led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA tournament in the year 1984. Malone competed in the Summer Olympics of 1992 and 1996 and bagged gold medals in both of them.
Malone averaged 25.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, milestones that could only be matched by players likeBaylor and Wilt Chamberlain.He came closee to winning a championship title on three separate occasions but could not because of Michael Jordan, who came in the way of several other players before. His injured knee also held him back from performing well and bagging a championship ring.
4. STEVE NASH
In the 18 seasons he played with the NBA, he was an eight-time All-Star. Nash had a knack for basketball since high schooland his talent got him a scholarship to Santa Clara University. He was the 15th pick in the NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns in 1996, and by his fourth season, he was voted to NBA All-Star Game and earnedhis first All-NBA selection.
Nash was named the MVP twice while playing for the Suns and also ranked as one of the top players in NBA history. Although he was a great player, he could not bring a championship ring to the Phoenix Suns. He did get close on a couple of occasions but with opponents like Kobe Bryant, he did not have it easy.
5. JAMES HARDEN
Harden is called the best shooting guard in the NBA and also one of the most prolific goal scorers. Bagging accolades since college, Harden was the 3rd pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unhappy with his role with the team, he got traded toHouston Rockets in the 2012-13 season.
Harden rose to prominence with the Rockets and set several records in this first season. He was an unstoppable scorer and was named Sixth Man Of the Year and also the MVP. However, he did not have that much great luck when it came to the championship ring and couldn’t win it because of average performances and injuries.
6. ALLEN IVERSON:
After his successful basketball career in high school and college, he was the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft and was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson was one of the best scorers in NBA history with the NBA scoring title in four consecutive seasons. Despite him being only 6 feet, which is relatively small for a basketball player, his career saw great heights.
Iverson carried his team to the NBA championship finals but couldn’t get past Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. He is perhaps one of the most deserving players who couldn’t get his hands on the championship ring. Despite this, he was one of the greatest players in the league and is named one of the most influential players of all time.
7. HRIS PAUL
Paul was selected as the 4th pick by the New Orleans Hornets. He developed into one of the league’s esteemed players with his talent and is considered one of the best point guards in NBA history. He has numerous accolades to his name like the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two gold medals in the Olympics.
After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns, Paul finally saw reached the NBA Finals in 2020 for the first time in his career. But bad luck, injuries, and poor team performance followed him there which led to him never winning a championship ring.
8. REGGIE MILLER
Miller was the 11th pick in the 1987 NBA draft and was selected by the Pacers. He led the Indiana Pacers to success and gained many fans along the way. In a game against Charlotte Hornets,he scored a record 57 points, which was the second-highest total in NBA, just behind Michael Jordan. He also earned the nickname “Knick Killer” for his performance against the New York Knicks and his well-known three-point shooting.
He reached the finals for the first time in the 1999-2000 season. The only hurdle for Miller in winning the championship title was to gothrough great players like Shaquille ÓNeal and Kobe Bryant. He performed very well in the match but it just wasn’t enough to bring home a championship title.
9. DOMINIQUE WILKINS:
In the 1982 NBA draft, he was selected third by the Utah Jazz team. Wilkins had a good basketball career in school and college and was set to make a mark on NBA history. In one of the most lopsided deals in NBA history, Wilkins got traded to the AtlantaHawks, where he averaged 25+ points per game for ten seasons straight.
He gained the nickname “The HumanHighlight Film” for his athletic and acrobatic abilities on the court. Unfortunately for the championships ring, Wilkins had to face the All-time teams like Bad Boys Pistons, and his team’s performance overall couldnot get him past the second round.
10. ELGIN BAYLOR:
Baylor was the no.1 pick in the 1958 NBA draft by the team Los Angeles Lakers. He had a successful basketball career even in high school and college. Baylor was praised for his shooting, rebounding, and passing skills. He was also best known for his signature hanging jump shot.
He is an 11-time NBA All-Star, a 10-time member of the All-NBA first team, and is recognized as the greatest player of the game. He was also named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in the year 1996. Although he was an outstanding player, the Lakers lost the championship finals eight times, which is why he never won the championship ring. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in the year 1977.