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.
Over the course of 15 seasons, Green would maintain a perfect attendance record for games played and would only miss three games total during his entire NBA career. Surprisingly at 36 years old, Green would start all 82 games for the 1999-2000 Lakers team that would eventually capture their first title since the late 80s. While Green's contributions weren't anything phenomenal, what was surprising was the fact that at 36 years old, he started over younger players such as Robert Horry, Rick Fox and John Salley. Something to be said for veteran experience.
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.
After hanging up his kicks in '09, Lue would enter into the world of coaching, joining the Boston Celtics staff for four years before joining the LA Clippers for a season and then eventually taking over as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that he guided to their first NBA Championship.
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.
After a pair of stops along the D-League sidelines sandwiching a quick return to his Alma Mater Stanford, Madsen would eventually return to his original NBA stomping ground as an assistant coach, alongside another former teammate Luke Walton, trying to help rebuild the Lakers.
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.
Oddly enough, Kerr would be hired by the Golden State Warriors in 2014 and would guide the team to their first championship since 1975. Oh yea, let's not forget he had Steph Curry on his roster and that his team are the odds on favorites to win another chip with yet an additional future Hall of Famer in Kevin Durant on the roster.
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.
While many look at Milicic as a bust, which he was in Detroit, he did end up having a serviceable ten year career in the league, with his best years being played in Orlando and Minnesota. After retiring from the NBA in 2013 to take up kickboxing for a short period of time, he settled down back home in Serbia. Maybe he should get together with Bryant Reeves and trade stories about being NBA busts turned overweight farmers.
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.
If fans today think that the young Bucks are enjoyable, watching the trio of Robinson, Sam Cassell and Ray Allen was equally as impressive. Statistically Robinson posted the best numbers of his career during his eight seasons in Milwaukee, before finishing out his career with yearly stops in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Antonio. Sure the Big Dog finally got his bone during his final season in the league with the Spurs, but his contributions were limited during his nine regular season games and 13 post season appearances.
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.
The Kings were arguably the only team in the league that would pose a threat to the Lakers dynasty. After failing to reach the NBA Finals, "Whit Eboy" would be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that he would help guide to the 2004 playoffs for the first time in team history. A third move, this time to Miami would result in Williams capturing the elusive NBA Championship that eluded him in Sacramento. Two additional years in Orlando and a return to Memphis would cap off JWill's career. Thanks to Ice Cube, fans will be able to enjoy Williams' on court theatrics once again as part of the BIG3 League.
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.
After two years in Toronto, Bonner would be traded to the San Antonio Spurs before the 2006-07 season and help the team to the NBA Championship. While he never averaged anything more than 8.2 PPG and a career high 67 starts during the 08-09 season, Bonner was a key component to the Spurs success over the past decade, which included a second championship ring during the 2013-14 season. After seeing a career low average of seven minutes of floor time over thirty games, Bonner walked away from the game at the beginning of 2017 and joined the Spurs television broadcasting team.
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.
Over the course of his 500+ games, the former USC Trojan would spend most of the season either waving a towel or coming off of the bench during garbage time. As part of the 2008 Celtics, "Veal Scalabrine" would find himself as part of Boston's playoff roster but would not see even a tick of floor time. Regardless of whether or not Scal got any burn, the fact that he can claim a NBA Championship as part of one of the most storied franchises in the league, is something few others can proudly say.
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.
Two attempts to stick with teams in Europe and a second attempt at impressing a trio of NBA teams during the 2012 summer season resulted in Morrison retiring from the pro game. After returning to assist with the Zags in various roles for a few years, Morrison would find himself in his current position as a high school assistant coach in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.
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.
The next two seasons, Bynum would be a shell of his former self playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers before retiring at the age of 26. So what is the former two time champion up to these days? Spending his $72 million contract on absolutely anything and everything he wants to while doing nothing of relevance. Oh, and he's got the Lakers championship ring to treasure forever.
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.
Following his rookie coaching year with the Nets, Kidd was "traded" to the Milwaukee for a couple of second round picks and has helped guide a young Bucks squad to two playoff appearances in three seasons. It isn't surprising that Kidd has turned his coaching career around after a rocky start considering that as a sure fire Hall Of Fame player, he was an extension of his coaches while on the floor.
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.
However, the dynamic duo was short-lived as unfortunately health complications in 2015 have led to the former 11 time All-Star being sidelined and temporarily retired from on-court action. As a way to still be involved with the game, Bosh has joined the TNT broadcast crew as a studio analyst. At only 33 years old, Bosh still has the ability to offer something to the game on the court, but with no real positive outlook with regards to his health issues, seeing him in a suit on the panel of experts is what fans will have to settle for.
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.
Ten teams and nineteen years later, Howard, who had made a career being one of the most versatile and professional players in the NBA during his era, would hang up his kicks and take a position as part of the Miami Heat coaching staff as an assistant.
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.