In order to win a championship, there are a number of components needed in order to make a successful run at the title. Superstars, role players, glue players, bench players and some luck all play key parts in building the puzzle that is an NBA Championship banner.
Throughout the 2000s, there were a number of Hall Of Fame members that managed to capture one or more championship rings, etching their place in the NBA history books. While someone like Jason Kidd is on the list, many fans may have forgotten that the former Rookie Of The Year did not capture his first ring until late in his career and during his second tour of duty with the Dallas Mavericks. On the other end of the spectrum, you'll find a player like Austin Daye who could have played a more productive role handing out Gatorade than he did in his contribution to the Spurs last championship. With that being said, let's take a walk down memory lane and revisit 15 NBA players you forget won a championship in the Y2K era.
15 2000 LA Lakers - A.C. Green
Many tie Green into the "Showtime Lakers" era as the fourth musketeer alongside Magic, Worthy and Abdul-Jabbar, but few remember that the former NBA ironman was a part of the Shaq/Kobe era.
14 2001 - LA Lakers - Tyronn Lue
Nobody will ever credit Lue with being a focal point in the second of LA's championship run during the early 2000s, especially with the memorable Allen Iverson step-back, cross-over baseline "J" followed by Iverson stepping over a fallen Lakers point guard. But that's okay as Lue can just flash two of his NBA Championship rings to anyone who mocks him. Coming off the bench for most of his career, Lue would travel the NBA, playing for eight teams in eleven years. While he would find individual statistical successes along the way, he would never achieve the same pinnacle that the Lakers did.
13 2002 - LA Lakers - Mark Madsen
If you thought white guys couldn't dance before seeing the Mad Dog move, just YouTube the clip and have a chuckle. After leaving LA, his championship team, as a free agent in 2003, Madsen would finish out his career in Minnesota, playing six seasons with the Timberwolves. Following a trade to the LA Clippers that essentially was a roster clearing move, Madsen would retire and take up the same role as his former Lakers teammate Lue, by becoming an assistant coach.
12 2003 - San Antonio Spurs - Steve Kerr
A career winning throughout his lengthy NBA run, Kerr would pick up a ring for his thumb before heading into retirement in 2003 (fifth NBA championship if you're confused). Although he walked off the court, Kerr didn't walk away from the game as a stint as a broadcaster with TNT, followed by a front office gig with the Phoenix Suns kept Kerr close to the action.
11 2004 - Detroit Pistons - Darko Milicic
The "Human Victory Cigar" found himself in possession of a championship ring before fellow rookie class members LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Okay, sure his statistical contribution to the Detroit Pistons championship run was the near equivalent of one of the aforementioned players first couple of possessions as the rookie forward totaled only eight minutes, one point (0-4fg, 1-4ft), three rebounds and one assist.
10 2005 - San Antonio Spurs - Glenn Robinson
The "Big Dog" was one of the most impressive and popular NCAA players during the early 90s, leading the Purdue Boilermakers to back-to-back appearances in March Madness. Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1994, Robinson lost some of that fan support as he held out of a contract signing before eventually inking the most expensive rookie deal in league history.
9 2006 - Miami Heat - Jason Williams
For three years "White Chocolate" helped turn the Sacramento Kings into must see NBA TV. Known for his flashy street-ball style of play, a young Williams teamed up with Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic providing the league with a run and gun, fun crew.
8 2007 - San Antonio Spurs - Matt Bonner
If you were to ask any fan, Bonner would be one of the least likely players you would consider to contribute to the success of two championship rings, but at the same time, he's also a guy that many would want on their roster.
7 2008 - Boston Celtics - Brian Scalabrine
The "White Mamba" captured his first and only NBA ring as a member of the Boston Celtics. As one of the most popular players for fans to hitch their wagon to or make fun of, Scalabrine made the most of his ten years in the NBA while playing for three different franchises.
6 2009 - LA Lakers - Adam Morrison
One of the biggest draft busts in league history, Morrison was an absolute stud while playing three years for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He was selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. Two years later and Morrison would find himself moving from a team that was battling for playoff hopes to a title contending squad in the LA Lakers. The flip side to personal successes and playing time were replaced by a minimal role off of the bench and two championship rings.
5 2010 - LA Lakers - Andrew Bynum
With the increased time, Bynum showed flashes of potential that would thrust the young center into an full-time starting gig for the next five years, including two back-to-back championship runs from 2008-10 in which there were some saying Bynum could battle for being the best big man in the league. Those same statements quickly turned as the three team deal for Dwight Howard led to Bynum landing in Philadelphia, a team which he would never actually dress for due to injury.
4 2011 - Dallas Mavericks - Jason Kidd
Some forget, but Kidd was indeed an NBA champion during the Y2K era earning himself a ring in 2011. He later made the transition into coaching being named the Brooklyn Nets head coach just days after retiring from the game, Kidd had his struggles with a club that was built with players who were once peers with the point guard. Considering his knowledge and experience in the game, Kidd made a number of bone head decisions early in his coaching career (DUI, "soda-gate") before actually settling into the role and guiding the Nets to a second round playoff appearance.
3 2012 - Miami Heat - Chris Bosh
After joining forces with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami, Bosh would settle into playing a supporting role for a team that went to four NBA Finals and claimed two championship rings. When James decided to return to take his talents back home, Bosh stepped back into a more prominent position with the Heat, playing Robin to Wade's Batman.
2 2013 - Miami Heat - Juwan Howard
Out of all the members of the Fab Five, the first person that you think to capture a NBA Championship was probably not Juwan Howard, especially with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose being part of the famous NCAA squad. After his time at Ann Arbour and before he was part of the Miami Heat back-to-back championship squad, Howard put up solid numbers for the first fourteen years of his career, but was known more for being the first NBA player to sign a contract worth over $100 million.
1 2014 - San Antonio Spurs - Austin Daye
He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 2009 as a Tayshaun Prince clone, a long, lanky forward who could potentially provide the team with a variety of stats. Unfortunately, the physical characteristics were all that was similar between the two. Well that and the fact that both have an NBA Championship ring on their finger.
While Prince would play a key role in the Pistons 2004 banner run, Daye would have to wait until 2014 when he played a very minimal role (six minutes to be exact) off the bench for the San Antonio Spurs fifth NBA Championship. After a couple of years in the D-League and a few more attempts at clinging on to a NBA roster, the former Gonzaga Bulldog would end up signing a number of contracts overseas where he was last contracted with a team in Turkey.
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