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20 Greatest NBA Players To Never Win A Championship

20 Greatest NBA Players To Never Win A Championship

After the Phoenix Suns lost Game 7 to the Dallas Mavericks, it led to another crushing blow to the legacy of Chris Paul. In thinking of the greatest point guards in the history of the game, Paul’s name will be mentioned in passing. The issue is that Paul has made just one appearance in the NBA Finals, and does not own a single NBA championship.

Paul is getting closer to 40 years old with each passing day. He is getting close to being another player that had great stats and accomplishments, but no championship ring. However, he is not the only player to be like that though. There are other great players in the history of the NBA that were absolute studs but didn’t have any bling on their fingers.

These are the 20 greatest players without a championship.

20. Chris Webber

LOS ANGELES - JANUUARY 17:  Chris Webber #4 of the Sacramento Kings reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 17, 2005 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Clippers 89-83.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG

Honors: 5x All-Star, 5x All-NBA Team Selection, 1998-99 Rebounding Champion,1993-94 Rookie of the Year, Hall of Fame

Webber nearly went to the NBA Finals with the Sacramento Kings in 2002. The team was looking to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers from their two straight championships. However, questionable officiating remains talked about 20 years later, but the Lakers were a pretty solid team in the end.

You can’t fault Webber for his efforts in either loss in Game 6 and Game 7. In both games, Webber nearly finished with a triple-double. In Game 6, he had 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. In the final game, Webber had 20 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. In the end, Webber never made the NBA Finals.

19. Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo

NBA Finals Record: 0-2

Career Stats: 9.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.4 SPG, 2.8 BPG

Honors: 8x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team Selection, 6x All-Defensive Team Selection, 4x Defensive Player of the Year, 2x Rebounding Champion, 3x Blocks Champion, Hall of Fame

Mutombo played in the NBA Finals two times. The first time came in 2001. Mutombo was acquired by the 76ers midway through the year. Alongside MVP Allen Iverson, the 76ers rose through the East to make the NBA Finals. There, the team was defeated by the Lakers duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Mutombo had a double-double in only one game.

Mutombo played in the Finals in 2003 as a member of the Nets. However, he didn’t have much of an impact. He played 18 minutes or more in three of the games but had other games where he played only six minutes. Two of his three wins in the Finals came during this run.

18. Vince Carter

Vince Carter

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 16.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Honors: 8x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Team Selection, 1998-99 Rookie of the Year

Despite all of his accomplishments, Carter never had the chance to play in the NBA Finals. Carter was a star with the Raptors, but the team never had true playoff success. The Nets made the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, which were before his tenure with the team. Carter played in one Conference Finals, which was in 2010 with the Magic.

Carter played with heart against the Celtics during those games. Carter scored 23, 16, and 15 points in three straight games. The Celtics won each of those games to create a 3-0 lead. After the Magic won two games, the Celtics closed out the series in Game 6. After that, Carter was in the latter stages of his career.

17. Pete Maravich

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NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Honors: 5x All-Star, 4x All-NBA Team Selection, 1976-77 Scoring Champion, Hall of Fame

Maravich made the playoffs for four of his 10 seasons. He never made the NBA Finals. For four straight appearances, Maravich made the semifinals. Two of those times, the series stretched to six games. Maravich recorded 30 or more points in three of the six games in 1973.

Maravich made one appearance in the Conference Finals, which was his final season. In 1980, Maravich played for the Celtics and the team took on the 76ers. The 76ers eliminated the team in five games, where Maravich scored in double figures just one time.

16. Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Honors: 7x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 20000-01 Most Improved Player, 2x Scoring Champion, Hall of Fame

McGrady was eliminated from the first round in seven straight playoff appearances while playing for the Raptors, Magic, and Rockets. While McGrady was a scoring champion and excellent player, his teams never made true deep runs in the playoffs. McGrady made the NBA Finals one time, but he was a reserve that was at the end of the bench.

In 2013, McGrady saw the NBA Finals for the first time. He was a non-factor in the series, playing a total of 13 minutes. One of those times was in a 19-point loss, while the other was a 36-point win. It was also the same time that McGrady appeared in the Conference Finals as well.

15. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 18.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 10x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Team Selection, Hall of Fame

There was one player that came so close, but couldn’t get over the hump. Blame the competition around him, if you want, but Miller had multiple opportunities. Miller made the Conference Finals four times but was eliminated. In 1994, the Knicks won the series, while the Magic won in 1995. In 1998, the Pacers nearly eliminated Michael Jordan’s Bulls in seven games but came up short.

The Pacers eventually made the NBA Finals. It was the first and only time that Miller played in the Finals. The Lakers defeated the Pacers in six games. Miller had another chance in 2004, but the Pistons won the Conference Finals in six games.

14. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony Doesn't Regret Taking A Bad Last-Second Shot vs. Clippers: "I'll Take That Same Shot Any Night."

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 22.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Honors: 10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA Team Selection, 2012-13 Scoring Champion

When looking back on the career of Anthony, we will remember his All-Star appearances, his scoring titles, and his All-NBA selections. He was a scoring sensation for a decade with the Nuggets and Knicks. Unfortunately, when you look back on his playoff resume, it’s very lackluster.

Anthony has never played in the NBA Finals, playing in one Conference Finals. That came in 2009 when the Nuggets took on the Lakers, but it was Bryant that had the last laugh on his way to winning a championship. Since then, Anthony has played in the second round one time, which came in 2013 with the Knicks.

13. George Gervin

George Gervin

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 26.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Honors: 9x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 4x Scoring Champion, Hall of Fame

Gervin was a mainstay with the Spurs that always had San Antonio in the playoff conversation. The team did not get to the NBA Finals once with Gervin as the star player. The NBA was loaded with other talented teams, but Gervin did play in the Western Conference Finals two times.

The first time came in 1982 against the Lakers. The tandem of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made quick work of the Spurs with a four-game sweep. Gervin did everything he could by scoring 39 and 38 points in the final two games. The second time came in 1983. The Spurs won two games, but the Showtime Lakers were once again too tough to stop.

12. Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG

Honors: 9x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 1985-86 Scoring Champion, Hall of Fame

With the Hawks, Wilkins helped the team stay in the playoff conversation. Wilkins saw the playoffs 10 times in his career but made the semifinals only three times. Seven times Wilkins was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, meaning that Wilkins never made the NBA or Conference Finals.

The team made the semifinals in 1986, 1987, and 1988. One of those times, the Hawks lost to the Pistons. The other two times, the team lost to the Celtics. In the end, the Hawks were missing that complement to Wilkins.

11. Nikola Jokic

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NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 19.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Honors: 2x MVP, 4x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team Selections

What Jokic has done in his career has vaulted him to nearly making the top-10. Jokic has won the MVP Award in back-to-back seasons. He is potentially the best passing center we have ever seen. After all, he was the first player to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season.

Jokic has made the playoffs each season since 2019. The team made the Conference Finals in 2020 but was eliminated by the Lakers in five games. Jokic has yet to play in the NBA Finals but has had some bad luck in the last few years. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. have both battled injuries. If the Nuggets are healthy, this team could be in the NBA Finals very soon.

10. Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing

NBA Finals Record: 0-2

Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG

Honors: 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 3x All-Defensive Team Selection, 1985-86 Rookie of the Year, Hall of Fame

Ewing’s issue was that he couldn’t get past Michael Jordan. In the 90s, Jordan’s Bulls eliminated the Knicks in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996. When Jordan left the league in 1994, the Knicks finally got over the hump and eliminated Chicago as the team eventually made the NBA Finals. There, the team had their best chance of winning Ewing a ring, but the team came up short to the Rockets in seven games.

Ewing had to watch the Knicks play in the 1999 NBA Finals. He injured his Achilles in the second round, which forced him to watch the rest of the playoffs. Had Ewing been healthy, the team might have defeated the Spurs, but that is something we will never know.

9. Chris Paul

Chris Paul Claps Back At Charles Barkley And Shaquille O'Neal For Betting He Wouldn't Get 12 Assists: "I Can Get Chuck Some Buckets Now Even The Way He Looks."

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 18.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Honors: 12x All-Star, 10x All-NBA Team Selection, 9x All-Defensive Team Selection, 5x Assist Champion, 6x Steals Champion, 2005-06 Rookie of the Year

When we look back on Chris Paul’s legacy, there will be frequent mentions of all the chances he has received. In 2008, Paul nearly led New Orleans to their first Conference Finals but lost in seven games. The Clippers blew a 2-0 lead in the first round to the Grizzlies. The Clippers blew a 3-1 lead in 2015 to the Rockets. The team blew a 2-0 lead to the Trail Blazers the following year.

The Rockets blew a 3-2 lead to the Rockets in 2018, but Paul had an injured hamstring and did not play the final two games. With the Suns, he made the NBA Finals, which saw the team take a 2-0 lead before losing four straight to Milwaukee. This year, the Suns lost two straight to the Mavericks in the second round.

8. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 22.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 8.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Honors: 2016-17 MVP, 9x All-Star, 9x All-NBA Team Selection, 2x Scoring Champion, 3x Assist Champion

Westbrook is the only player to average a triple-double in a season since Oscar Robertson. He is so special that he has accomplished this four times. Without Kevin Durant, Westbrook has shown that he can lead a team to the playoffs, but what he has not been able to do is lead the team to a Conference Finals or back to the NBA Finals.

When Westbrook played with Durant and James Harden with the Thunder, the team made an incredible run to the NBA Finals in 2012. There, the team was defeated by an experienced squad in the Heat in five games. Westbrook had a chance to make it back to the NBA Finals in 2014 and 2016, but the team came up short both times. The 2016 series featured the Thunder owning a 3-1 lead on the 73-win Warriors before losing three in a row, and ultimately Durant to the Warriors.

7. James Harden

James Harden

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 25.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Honors: 2017-18 MVP, 10x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year, 3x Scoring Champion, 2016-17 Assist Champion

Harden made the NBA Finals one time, which came in 2012 with Westbrook and Durant. Since then, he became a superstar with the Houston Rockets, where he won an MVP and three straight-scoring titles. Harden nearly made the NBA Finals in 2018 with Chris Paul, but the team came up short in Game 7. The same goes for 2015.

The 2018 series will remain something talked about by fans in Houston for years to come. Harden scored 32 points in each of those losing efforts in Games 6 and 7. Had Paul stayed healthy, who knows? With that said, Harden has bounced from the Nets to the 76ers and came up short both times in the playoffs.

6. Steve Nash

Steve Nash

NBA Finals Record: 0-0

Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 8.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Honors: 2x MVP, 8x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 5x Assist Champion, Hall of Fame

Nash was a two-time MVP that was unable to lead his team to the NBA Finals. Nash had the tall task of taking down Tim Duncan in the Spurs in 2003, but the Mavericks came up short. He came up short again to the Spurs in 2005 as a member of the Suns. In 2010, the Suns lost to the Lakers in the Conference Finals.

The Suns were a magical team on offense, with Nash running the show. With that said, he could never wave his magic wand to lead the team to the NBA Finals. When Nash joined the Lakers in his later years, the team looked great on paper, but it became one of the worst moves the Lakers could have ever made.

5. John Stockton

John Stockton

NBA Finals Record: 0-2

Career Stats: 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 10x All-Star, 11x All-NBA Team Selection, 5x All-Defensive Team Selection, 9x Assist Champion, 2x Steals Champion, Hall of Fame

Stockton finished his career leading the league in assists nine times and racked up the most assists in NBA history. His record will remain for many years to come. One had to wonder if he would trade all of those assist titles for an NBA ring. With the Jazz, he had two chances to win a championship in 1997 and 1998, but the Chicago Bulls came out on top both times.

The most gut-wrenching defeat likely came in 1998 when the Bulls hit a game-winning shot in Game 6 to eliminate the Jazz. Had Utah won that game, it would have pushed the series to a Game 7 and anything can happen there. In the end, the Jazz was a championship contender each season with Stockton on the team, despite him never winning a ring.

4. Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson On Why He Won't Be An NBA Coach: "I Ain't Coaching No Mother******s That Make More Money Than Me."

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 2000-01 MVP, 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 8x All-Defensive Team Selection, 4x Scoring Champion, 3x Steals Champion, 1996-97 Rookie of the Year, Hall of Fame

Iverson had one chance to play in the NBA Finals. That came in 2001 when he was the league MVP and helped lead the 76ers through the playoffs. In the Finals, the 76ers won Game 1 but were eliminated after losing four straight. After that, the 76ers never made it back to the NBA Finals, nor the Conference Finals.

Iverson was a phenomenal player. He won four scoring titles and made seven All-NBA teams, as well as eight All-Defensive teams. Among shooting guards, one could say he is the best shooting guard to ever win a championship.

3. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

NBA Finals Record: 0-1

Career Stats: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Honors: 1992-93 MVP, 11x All-Star, 11x All-NBA Team Selection, 1986-87 Rebounding Champion, Hall of Fame

When thinking of the greatest player to never win a championship, Barkley is one of the first to come to mind. Shaquille O’Neal makes it a point to bring it up on Inside the NBA when the two have their friends' back-and-forth arguments. Barkley did a lot in the league, from leading the league in rebounding to winning the MVP Award, but he was unable to ever land a title.

In 1993, Barkley was the best player in the league. He won the MVP Award over Michael Jordan. It was in the NBA Finals that Jordan got his revenge by leading the Bulls over the Suns in six games, which included winning his third straight Finals MVP. Barkley eventually joined the Rockets, which looked deep on paper with Hakeem Olajuwon on the team as well, but the team never lived up to the hype and was upset in the playoffs.

2. Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor

NBA Finals Record: 0-8

Career Stats: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG

Honors: 11x All-Star, 10x All-NBA Team Selection, 1958-59 Rookie of the Year, Hall of Fame

The man you have to feel the most emotion for is Elgin Baylor. During Baylor’s heyday, the Lakers were a constant fixture in the NBA Finals. His nemesis was Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. Among the players on this list, Baylor had the most appearances in the NBA Finals. Heck, he won 16 games in that spot as well, but never strong enough games together to win a championship.

Baylor had his chances. The 1962 Finals stretched to seven games and saw the Lakers own a 3-2 lead. In 1966, the Lakers won two straight games after falling 3-1 in the series to force a Game 7 before losing by two points. The 1969 series saw the Lakers own a 3-2 lead before letting it slip, which included a two-point loss in Game 7. The 1970 Finals was his last chance, this time against the Knicks with Russell out of the league, but even then he came up short.

1. Karl Malone

Karl Malone

NBA Finals Record: 0-3

Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Honors: 2x MVP, 14x All-Star, 14x All-NBA Team Selection, 4x All-Defensive Team Selection, Hall of Fame

The greatest non-champion in the history of the NBA must be Karl Malone. While Baylor was a great player in his own right, Malone owns more on his resume. He won two MVPs and made 14 All-Star teams, as well as 14 All-NBA selections. He led the Jazz to two appearances in the NBA Finals, but both times the team lost to Jordan and the Bulls in 1997 and 1998.

Malone finished his career with the second-most points scored in the history of the NBA. The tandem of Stockton and Malone remains the best duo to not win a title. As for individual players, Malone was a sensation. Malone even joined the Lakers in his latter years, which included playing in the NBA Finals in 2004, but this time it was the Pistons that slammed his title hopes shut.


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