5 Best NBA Players Who Never Won the Championship
Throughout sports history, there have been great players who never won a deserved championship.
The NBA is no different—every decade has produced a new player who should have won a title, but failed for some reason or other.
Sometimes it came down to performance; at other times, it was simply bad luck; still other times, it came down to the simple domination of the eventual winner.
5. Reggie Miller
You don't become all-time leader in three-point field goals made, fail to win a championship and not make this list.
Reggie Miller spent 18 long years with the Indiana Pacers and was regarded as the best shooter in NBA history (perhaps only matched by Ray Allen).
Also highly regarded for being incredible in late-game situations, Miller lost twice in the conference finals to Patrick Ewing's New York Knicks.
His one NBA Finals appearance came in 2000 against the Lakers, who—at that time—boasted Shaq at his absolute best alongside an up-and-coming youngster named Kobe Bryant.
Hardly surprising the Pacers lost.
4. Karl Malone
Karl Malone, "The Mailman," is remembered as arguably the greatest ever power forward to grace the NBA hardwood.
Malone currently sits second on the all-time scorers list (36,298 points) and leads the NBA for most field goals attempted and made.
He starred for the Utah Jazz for 18 seasons and made up half of one of the most feared duos in the game, alongside point guard John Stockton. He won the 1997 and 1999 MVPs and made the playoffs every year of his career.
Malone's Jazz team was eliminated in the Western Conference Finals several times in the early 1990s, first to Clyde Drexler's Portland, then to the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Houston Rockets and finally to the Seattle Supersonics.
They did, however, reach the NBA Finals twice—but lost to Michael Jordan and a Chicago Bulls team that went down in the history books.
3. LeBron James
Is there a list that doesn't feature LeBron James?
LeBron has been around since 2003. He spent his first seven seasons trying to drag his native Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title to no avail—failing miserably, in fact.
In the 2007, the Cavs put out an abject display as they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
Fast forward to 2009 and LeBron had his infamous "LeQuit" performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Boston. LeBron put up just 15 points on 3-14 shooting.
Pathetic? That would go on to be James' last appearance as a Cavalier at the Q.
Following a much-publicized (and hated, praised—everything, really) move to the Miami Heat to join fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat made it to the NBA Finals to face off against the Dallas Mavericks.
Again, LeBron failed.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks to their first ever NBA title. The series will be most remembered for James' terrible Game 4 showing, when he scored just eight points, his fewest in a game since Jan. 2007.
LeBron will win a championship—probably more than one. He will also go down as one of the game's greats. I don't like his style, but he's a brilliant basketball player.
2. John Stockton
We've already met half of the Malone-Stockton combination—here's part two. John Stockton commanded the Utah Jazz to two successive NBA Finals losses to the Jordan-inspired Bulls.
In his long career, he made it to 30th on the NBA all-time scorers list. However it wasn't his scoring, but his passing that he would be remembered for. Stockton averaged over 12 assists per game for eight consecutive seasons.
1. Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor has to go in at No. 1 on this list.
Baylor played 13 seasons for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers from 1958-71. He was named an All-Star 11 times and made 10 All-NBA teams. Baylor averaged, in consecutive years, 34.8 points, 38 pts and 34 pts per game from the '60-'61 season to the '62-'63 season.
As a result of his dominant play, he took the Lakers to eight NBA Finals appearances during the 1960s. The Lakers would leave empty-handed.
Why? The 1960s Boston Celtics were arguably the greatest NBA team ever. Led by Bill Russell, the Celtics won the championship every year in the 60s, except for 1967.
Baylor retired a few games into the 1971 season—the year the Lakers finally broke through and won the championship.
Dominique Wilkins (pictured) was one of the most exciting players the NBA has ever known. Despite being the face of the Atlanta Hawks during the 1980s, Wilkins never made it past the Conference Semi Finals.
Patrick Ewing, (New York Knicks) took the Knicks into the playoffs many times, but had the bad fortune to run into the early-90's Chicago Bulls every year of their first back-to-back-to-back title run. His Knicks then missed their golden opportunity to get a ring when they lost to the Rockets in 1994 and after that, Ewing was on the downward slope.
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