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10 Great NBA Players That Never Won A Championship

Steve Nash - NBA DFS Picks, Daily Fantasy Basketball Rankings, Injury News - rotoballer icon

In basketball, greatness is often closely tied to how many championships a player has. Many fans and NBA historians keep track of how many titles greats such as Jordan, James, Russell, and Bird won during their illustrious careers.

A lack of a championship is used to discredit players, especially in basketball since a single player seemingly has a larger effect on the game than in any other team sport, and while that's not always fair -- it's just the way it is. Still, we should appreciate the careers of dominant regular-season players who displayed longevity and often willed their teams to the playoffs, but never quite had the team to cut down the nets.

Without further ado, let's dive into the top ten greatest NBA players to never win a championship.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including NBA Writer of the Year, Best NFL Series, MLB Series, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


10. Reggie Miller, SG, Indiana Pacers

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,389 games, 18.2 PPG, 2,560 three-pointers (fourth all-time), 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA, 50-40-90 Club

Miller was a prolific three-point shooter before the shot became a staple among almost all NBA guards. He was the league's all-time leader in three-point field goals when he retired, but more importantly, he willed the Pacers to 15 playoff appearances during his career.

Unfortunately, he only made one finals appearance -- losing in six games to the Lakers' duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. His career spanned the test of time, so he had to go through Michael Jordan, the Bad Boy Pistons, and Kobe Bryant.


9. Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Lakers

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,260 games, 22.5 PPG, 28,289 points (ninth all-time), 1x scoring champion, 10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA

Anthony was a superstar at Syracuse, leading the Orange to a National Championship as a freshman. However, he was selected behind LeBron James and Darko Miličić in the 2003 NBA Draft -- a nice consolation prize for the Denver Nuggets.

He scored 21 points per game in his rookie season and never scored fewer than 20.8 points per game through his next seven seasons with the team. He then transitioned to the New York Knicks and won his first scoring title (28.7 PPG) and cemented himself as one of his generation's greatest scorers. Melo never made it further than the Western Conference Finals in 2009 and gets plenty of criticism because of it.


8. Allen Iverson, PG/SG, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies

Key Stats/Accolades: 914 games, 26.7 PPG, 1x MVP, 4x scoring champion, 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA

Iverson was a fan favorite for most of his career for being his unapologetic self, but make no mistake -- he was a dominant player in the league -- mostly in his time with the 76ers. The Virginia native averaged 23.5 points in his rookie season and didn't fall under 20 points per game until his 12th year in the league.

Iverson battled the 2001 Lakers as hard as he could, but the Sixers ultimately lost the series in six games. Iverson was a human highlight real, a dominant scorer, and had a legendary unique personality.


7. Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,217 games, 14.3 PPG, 10,335 assists (fifth all-time), 6-time assist champion, 2x MVP, 8x All-Star, 7x All-NBA

Nash has two regular season MVPs, so he could arguably be higher on this list, but the No. 7 spot feels appropriate for the South African-born point guard. Nash seemingly took over for John Stockton as the game's most prolific passer in the middle part of his career and was one of the league's best three-point shooters percentage-wise.

His Suns' teams couldn't get over the hump against Dirk's Dallas Mavericks or Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs when the postseason rolled around, but his greatest should not be questioned among all-time points guards.


6. Patrick Ewing, C, New York Knicks, Seattle Supersonics, Orlando Magic

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,183 games, 21.0 PPG, 11,607 rebounds (25th all-time), 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, 3x All-Defense

Ewing can get lost in the shuffle in the all-time great big ben discussion, but he lived up to his No. 1 overall pick status from 1985. Ewing squared off with Michael Jordan in 27 playoff games and only came away with eight total victories. Needless to say, the GOAT stood in his way for the majority of his prime.

During Jordan's two-year break from basketball, Ewing led the Knicks to the 1994 NBA Finals, where they fell to the Houston Rockets led by Hakeem Olajuwon in seven games. If New York had won that game seven, Ewing's career would be viewed in an entirely different light.


5. Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,214 games, 17.9 PPG, 11,501 assists (third all-time), 5x assist champion, 6x steals champion, 12x All-Star, 11x All-NBA, 9x All-Defense

Technically, Paul could still win a championship, but at age 38, it's becoming increasingly unlikely. Paul is right up there with John Stockton, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Magic Johnson as one of the great passers in the history of the game. The "Point God" has led the league in assists with three different franchises and has reached the playoffs in 15 of his 18 seasons.

Paul came close to a title in 2021, but his Suns' squad lost in the Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks. However, there's a real argument Paul could be the greatest all-around point guard of all time. If he had even one championship ring, he might be the consensus GOAT among point guards.

4. Elgin Baylor, SF Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers

Key Stats/Accolades: 846 games, 27.4 PPG, 11x All-Star, 10x All-NBA, 7x NBA Finals Appearances 

Baylor lost in the finals a whopping seven times, but that many appearances have to count for something, right? Despite averaging as high as 38.2 points per game in a single season, he never won a scoring title. He can thank Wilt Chamberlain for that.

Either way, Baylor was easily one of the best scorers of his generation -- in an era where it was mostly big men who dominated the game. Baylor's legacy will live on forever among the greats who played for the Lakers organization -- even without securing a title.


3. John Stockton, PG, Utah Jazz

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,504 games, 13.1 PPG, 10.5 APG, 15,806 assists (most all-time), 3,265 steals (most all-time), 9x assist champion, 2x steals champion 10x All-Star, 11x All-NBA, 5x All-Defense

Stockton is hands-down the most prolific passer the NBA has ever seen, leading the league in assists an incredible nine seasons in a row. He also has seemingly unbreakable career records for assists and steals. He formed a legendary duo with fellow Hall-of-Famer Karl Malone, but the Jazz were never able to secure a championship.

The all-time great duo squared off with Michael Jordan's Bulls in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals, losing both series in six games. A ring would've helped Stockton secure his status as a top player of all time, but even without the title, he should be right in the mix of the discussion with Magic Johnson for the greatest point guard ever.


2. Charles Barkley, PF, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,073 games, 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1x rebound champion, 1x MVP, 11x All-Star, 11x All-NBA

The Round Mound of Rebound grabbed an average of at least 10.5 boards and as high as 14.6 boards every season except his rookie campaign, despite standing just 6'6". In an era with monstrous big men throughout the league, Barkley held his own on the offensive and defensive glass down low. He was also a prolific scorer before the significant rise of the three-point shot.

As with most people on this list, Barkley ran into players like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan come playoff time, so he lost his only finals appearance against the Bulls in 1993.


1. Karl Malone, PF, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

Key Stats/Accolades: 1,476 games, 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 36,298 points (third all-time), 14,968 rebounds (seventh all-time), 2x MVP, 14x All-Star, 14x All-NBA, 4x All-Defense

Malone averaged at least 25 points per game in 12 of his 19 seasons in the NBA and was a fixture in the All-Star Game and on the All-NBA team. Again, if Michael Jordan didn't exist, he and Stockton would likely have two rings a piece.

Malone made another trip to the NBA Finals in 2004 with the Lakers alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton, but he was far from the player he once was and the Lakers lost in six games.

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