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Michael Jordan was a phenomenal winner, but many seem to forget how he altered the careers of other all-time great players. Because MJ was perfection in the Finals, and clearly the most dominant player of his era, he denied many players a shot of ever lifting an NBA title.

Even if some of these players managed to win a title, it was because Jordan was out of the league This list can basically be exhaustive, because 6 titles in 8 years is something that probably happens once or twice in a lifetime.

While these are legends of the game that have made their mark in NBA history, their careers would have taken a huge turn if they just managed to win a ring. With Michael Jordan as the opposition, he proved to be too much of a roadblock. Here are the 15 superstar players that Michael Jordan denied an NBA title

 

Charles Barkley

(via CBS Sports)

Charles Barkley is truly one of the most dominant power forwards the game has ever seen. He was a monster double-double threat every night, and could easily be the best player on a championship team in his prime. That is a trait that only the very best superstars have, and Charles Barkley truly was a superstar player and MVP performer.

Unfortunately for him, he fell short to Michael Jordan as well. In the 1993 Finals, Barkley and the Suns fell to the Bulls in 6 games. Instead of Barkley joining the likes of Tim Duncan in the conversation of the greatest power forward to win an NBA title, he has to step back to the likes of Duncan and even Dirk Nowitzki thanks to Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan beat Charles Barkley:

– (1993) NBA Finals 4-2

 

Karl Malone

Stockton’s teammate, and possibly the best scoring forward ever, Karl Malone was denied an NBA title. Without question, in any other era, Malone would be an NBA champion. His scoring prowess was truly something extraordinary, and his 25.0 PPG career average doesn’t even do him justice. Malone averaged less than 20 PPG only twice in his illustrious career and is second in all-time points scored.

MJ beat Malone and Stockton in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals and shut down any chance for Malone to compete with Duncan on the top ten players of all-time list.

Michael Jordan beat Karl Malone:

– (1997) NBA Finals 4-2

– (1998) NBA Finals 4-2

 

John Stockton

Stockton is one of the games greatest passers and defensive point guards, and a true Hall of Fame performer. With Stockton manning the point guard spot, the Jazz never missed a single playoff appearance. That is truly extraordinary, and Stockton is really on the Mt. Rushmore of point guards. In many ways, he was the perfect point guard thanks to his ability to run the offense and get everyone involved.

But MJ dampened Stockton’s legacy, making him just another all-time great player without a ring in the 1998 Finals. Instead, Stockton would have to look up at Isiah Thomas who is probably rated higher because of his NBA titles.

Michael Jordan beat John Stockton:

– (1997) NBA Finals 4-2

– (1998) NBA Finals 4-2

 

Patrick Ewing

To start off, Patrick Ewing would probably be rated higher on many all-time greatest lists if MJ didn’t shut him out of the NBA Finals. If Ewing would have delivered an NBA title to New York, and he probably would have, his legacy would have taken a huge turn for the better.

Instead, Ewing and the Knicks fell multiple times to Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the playoffs. In multiple conference finals and semi-finals, Jordan and the Bulls would knock out Ewing and the Knicks. Jordan and the Bulls ran into the Knicks 5 times in the playoffs, and every time Michael Jordan beat Patrick Ewing.

Michael Jordan beat Patrick Ewing:

– (1989) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-2

– (1991) Eastern Conference First Round 3-0

– (1992) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-3

– (1993) Eastern Conference Finals 4-2

– (1996) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-1

 

Clyde Drexler

Clyde was the original dominant shooting guard in the league before Michael Jordan started taking over. As a matter of fact, Jordan was famously insulted when he drew comparisons to Drexler in terms of his game and his impact. MJ wanted to make it clear that he was miles ahead of anyone at his position, including Clyde Drexler.

Jordan did not allow Clyde to carry his Portland Trail Blazers team to an NBA title. In the 1992 NBA Finals, Jordan took it upon himself to be the best player in that series and dominate every game. Which he did. MJ dropped 46 points in a pivotal Game 5 while holding Clyde to only 41% shooting in the series.

Michael Jordan beat Clyde Drexler:

– (1992) NBA Finals 4-2

 

Reggie Miller

(via 12up)

Mr. Clutch himself, Reggie Miller would be rated higher if he won an NBA title. But MJ and the Bulls shut him out, leaving him on this list instead of closer to the top-30 player of all-time list. Reggie is probably a top-50 player when you consider his mental toughness, clutch shooting, and intangibles but does not have a ring to show for it.

MJ famously defeated the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, taking down a very good team led by Reggie. Even if Reggie Miller was clutch and did his absolute best to not fall to the Bulls, MJ would not be denied and instead denied Reggie a ring on his finger.

Michael Jordan beat Reggie Miller:

– (1998) Eastern Conference Finals 4-3

 

Shawn Kemp

Kemp was a monster dunker and a dominant paint presence. His size, strength, and athleticism made him a fantastic partner to point guard Gary Payton. Unfortunately for Kemp, he would be mainly remembered for his dunks and high-flying antics rather than his postseason success. MJ and the Bulls shut Kemp’s championship hopes in the 1996 Finals.

Kemp was a very good player and a Supersonics legend, but he never quite got over the hump thanks to a power-hungry Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan beat Shawn Kemp:

– (1996) NBA Finals 4-2

 

Gary Payton

Alongside Shawn Kemp, Payton could have been the man to deliver an NBA title to the city of Seattle. Even though Payton won one with the Miami Heat in 2006, he was a role player and played a minimal role in comparison to Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.

Payton is one of the best point guards ever, and one of the best defensive players of all time. He was known as “The Glove” for a reason, but that didn’t help him against MJ and the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals.

Michael Jordan beat Gary Payton:

– (1996) NBA Finals 4-2

 

Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo is one of the icons of the game, thanks to his unbelievable shot-blocking presence and ability to impact the game defensively. In a total of 5 meetings in the playoffs, Jordan won 4 while Mutombo grabbed only one.

In Game 5 of the 1997 playoffs, MJ put on a master class by getting his revenge on Mutombo and ending his chance of ever winning an NBA title. Dikembe is recognized as one of the game’s greatest defensive players, and a true international icon of the game, but his lack of success in the NBA playoffs can also be attributed to Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan beat Dikembe Mutombo:

– (1997) Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-1

 

Tim Hardaway

Tim Hardaway was a great player, but he could have been greater. In the 1997 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Hardaway and the Heat had a great shot to reach the NBA Finals. Hardaway was the leading scorer in this series, and he had strong support with Alonzo Mourning and Jamal Mashburn backing him.

Unfortunately for Tim Hardaway, he could never reach the NBA Finals and he fell to the Bulls in 5 games. Jordan’s 30.2 PPG average in the series stood out from the rest of the pack, and he was the clear force that kicked Hardaway out of the playoffs.

Michael Jordan beat Tim Hardaway:

– (1996) Eastern Conference First Round 3-0

– (1997) Eastern Conference Finals 4-1

 

Penny Hardaway

Credit: AP Photo

Penny Hardaway will always be known for being one of the greatest “What-If’s” in NBA history because he never had any longevity in his promising career due to injury. Still, Penny was a fantastic player and formed a very formidable duo with a young Shaquille O’Neal.

Unfortunately for Penny, he was never able to get over the hump and win an NBA title before his injury bug started to bother him. In the 1996 Playoffs, MJ would dismantle the Magic and sweep Penny in convincing fashion.

Michael Jordan beat Penny Hardaway:

– (1996) Eastern Conference Finals 4-0

 

Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin is a Hall of Fame player and yet another great player who was denied an NBA title. With the Indiana Pacers, Mullin had a serious shot at competing and winning an NBA title. He had a strong crew behind him, and he could do what he does best which is drain shots from the perimeter and score the ball.

Michael Jordan shut down Mullin in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, defeating probably the best possible opponent at that time. If MJ was replaced by any other superstar in NBA history, Mullin would be an NBA champion.

Michael Jordan beat Chris Mullin:

– (1998) Eastern Conference Finals 4-3

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