Every franchise in the NBA has had great players play for their city. Not every NBA franchise is lucky enough to have a great player that won them a championship though, and this is what we will be looking at in this article. These guys were/are all amazing NBA players, and did their city proud during their time playing for the franchise. Even though none of these players ever won a championship for the team they had the most success with, they will go down as heroes in the city as they are the greatest player in the history of the franchise...that never won a ring for them. This means a lot of the league's greatest players will not be included on this list, however these guys listed below still had great careers for their teams, they just never went all the way to the top of the NBA mountain.
In this article, we will be looking at every NBA franchise's greatest player, who never won a championship for the team. Twelve NBA teams have still yet to win a championship, so you will be seeing that teams best player of all-time as no one has yet to bring win them a ring. There are both retired and active players in this list, as some teams haven't had as much talent as others and some teams haven't even been able to win a championship yet.
Here is every NBA franchise's greatest player who never won a ring for them.
30 Atlanta Hawks - Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins had a great NBA career with the Hawks, and will go down as the franchise's greatest player to never garner them a title. He was a great scorer and is considered one of the best dunkers of all-time, as he was even nicknamed "The Human-Highlight Reel" as he put on a show every night due to his athleticism. Wilkins is one of the league's best small forwards to ever play the game, and it's a shame he was one of the great players of the 80s and 90s who was never able to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy. It was just a really tough time to win in the NBA. Dominique Wilkins will forever go down as one of the greatest NBA players to never win a ring.
29 Boston Celtics - Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah Thomas still has some years to help add another banner in TD Garden, however right now, Thomas is the greatest Celtic of all-time...to never win a championship. There is a multitude of NBA legends who wore Celtics green, but due to the fact Boston has been so successful, all of the other great Celtics in front of Thomas have championships in Boston green. Thomas had a fantastic NBA season as he showed he could consistently score in high volumes and helped lead the Celtics to being the number 1 seed in the East. The Celtics are currently locked in an exciting matchup with the Chicago Bulls, and Celtics fans are hoping their team can win a championship. However as of today, Isaiah Thomas is the most dominant Celtics player to never win an NBA championship for Boston.
28 Brooklyn (New Jersey) Nets - Jason Kidd
The Nets have never won a championship, meaning Jason Kidd is the greatest Net of all-time. Jason Kidd arguably played the prime of his incredible NBA career with New Jersey. He is one of the best basketball players of all-time and is a prime example of a great NBA guard due to his consistency, leadership, and ability to do it all on the court as he is one of the NBA's best triple double players ever. He even led the Nets to the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals in two fantastic seasons that many believed should have garnered him the MVP award, and even though the Nets were swept by the Kobe and Shaq led Lakers and beaten by the San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey fans will always respect Kidd's effort he displayed during his time in New Jersey.
27 Charlotte Hornets - Kemba Walker
The Hornets have had a relatively short lifespan in the NBA, and it looks as though Kemba Walker is already the greatest Charlotte Hornet of all time. An all-star caliber player, Kemba will need some more supporting pieces around him if Charlotte expects to win a championship anytime soon, because they are just an average team in the league who are not acquiring great young prospects and are not contending for a championship either. Walker is an all-star caliber player for sure, but it doesn't look that great for the Hornets that the greatest player in the history of the franchise since being established is Kemba Walker.
We'll have to see how the Hornets look to build their team in the coming years. Get Kemba Walker some help!
26 Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose
The Bulls have had some legendary players wear their iconic red jerseys such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, however none of these guys could be on this list due to the fact the Bulls won multiple championships with these players leading the team. Derrick Rose came into the league as a dominant force, and even won the 2011 NBA MVP award as it looked as though he could end up being one of the best players of all-time.
Injuries ruined what could have been a legendary NBA career, but Derrick Rose is the greatest Bulls point-guard of all-time, and is the best player to never win a championship in Chi-Town. It's a shame he never got the help (or luck) he needed in Chi-town.
25 Cleveland Cavaliers - Mark Price
The Cavaliers currently have three of its greatest players in the history of the franchise on the roster right now, and considering they won a championship last season, none of them can take this spot on this list. Mark Price can however, as he had a nice run in Cleveland and sadly was never able to bring Cleveland it's would be first championship. Price was a great guard throughout his time for the Cavaliers, as he was a consistent scoring threat and even averaged just about 20 points per game in just his fourth season for the Cavs. Price is the greatest Cleveland Cavalier to never win The Land a championship. A few years ago we would have easily said LeBron but as we know now, he's accomplished that.
24 Dallas Mavericks - Michael Finley
Michael Finley does have an NBA ring to his name, however he was the most dominant throughout his 17 year career with the Mavericks, and sadly, he was never able to win them a championship. Finley spent nine seasons in Dallas, and was a dominant force for the team as he was a great overall player and used his strong 6'7" frame to not just score at will, but also bring down rebounds and pass the ball with nice vision. His best playing days came in Dallas, as he was a two-time all-star as a Mav and really made a name for himself in the league as he was a great player each and every night down in Dallas. Luckily for Finley, he got to ride the wave in San Antonio to a championship.
23 Denver Nuggets - Alex English
Considering the Nuggets have yet to win a championship, we had to look at just the best Nuggets of all-time, and Alex English easily takes this title as he had a very successful career in the NBA. An 8-time NBA all-star, English even won the scoring title in 1983, as he averaged 28.4 points per game which led the league. He even almost cracked 30 points per game in '86, as he averaged a very impressive 29.8 points per night. English is easily one of the greatest scorers in the history of the NBA, and is the greatest Denver Nugget of all-time without a doubt due to the dominance he displayed on the court while wearing those awesome throwback Nuggets jerseys. It's too bad he never hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
22 Detroit Pistons - Grant Hill
Grant Hill could have been one of the greatest NBA players of all-time if his career wasn't riddled with injuries. Grant was drafted by the Pistons with the 3rd pick in the 1994 NBA Draft to the Pistons, and came into the league an excellent scorer and it looked as though Hill was going to have a very memorable career. He even scored over 25 points per game in his final season with Detroit, and the rest is all down hill for Hill, as injuries completely derailed what could have been a Hall of Fame career. Grant Hill was the greatest Piston to never win a championship in Detroit. He came around at the worst possible time, as the whole bad boy Piston era had just ended and they hadn't yet found their groove of the mid 2000s.
21 Golden State Warriors - Chris Mullin
The Warriors have had some amazing NBA talents play for their team. They are currently the best team in the league right now as the Warriors begin to become one of the most successful franchises in the history of the league. Chris Mullin is the greatest Golden State Warrior to never a win a championship for them. Mullin was drafted by Golden State in 1985 with the 7th pick, and ended up having a fantastic career with the Warriors as he was a staple of consistency, leadership, and sharpshooting for sure as he made a name for himself as one of the greatest guards in the NBA's long history. Unfortunately, it was also a terrible time for Golden State basketball, so he walked away ringless as a Warrior.
20 Houston Rockets - James Harden
James Harden is without a doubt the greatest Houston Rocket to not give the city a championship, yet. Harden and company are rolling in the playoffs right now and maybe this list could be out of touch for this one once the season ends, as the Rockets really are championship contenders. Harden is a front-runner for this year's MVP award as well, as he really had an excellent season in Houston. This means Harden could join the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon as a Rocket legend who has a ring. For now though, James Harden is easily the greatest Houston Rocket to not win the city a championship. It's hard to see him doing it, as he has to compete with the likes of Golden State and San Antonio.
19 Indiana Pacers - Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller isn't just the greatest Indiana Pacer to never win a ring, he is easily one of the most talented NBA players to never win a championship as he had a long and successful career in Indiana as he is often considered one of the best clutch shooters in the history of the game. Miller will forever be known for his clutch shots throughout the playoffs, banter with Knicks super fan Spike Lee, and overall ability to keep Indiana a great team throughout his very long time there.
No other player embodies the title of this article as much as Reggie Miller, as fans everywhere would have loved to see him bring a championship to Indiana. New York is probably happy he didn't win one though.
18 Los Angeles Clippers - Chris Paul
Chris Paul is one of the greatest point-guards to ever play a game in the NBA. He has enjoyed a very successful career in the league and still has a few great years ahead of him as he continues to build his legacy. Paul, however, has not had much success when it comes to the playoffs, as he and the talented Clippers team around him can't seem to get out of the second round of the playoffs. Paul is an excellent leader and incredible player but he and the Clippers just haven't been very good in the playoffs during his time there. Chris Paul is the greatest Los Angeles Clipper of all-time, but like the franchise he has yet to win a championship. With the Clippers suffering another first round exit this year and CP3 a pending free agent, his time in L.A. could be over.
17 Los Angeles Lakers - Elgin Baylor
The Lakers may have had the most amount of NBA legends play for them, and Elgin Baylor stands out among the rest as even though he dominated during his time in Los Angeles, he never won them a ring. Baylor was a great scorer and athlete during his playing days in the league and consistently was able to average over 20 points per game as a Laker and could bring down a hefty amount of rebounds each night as well as he was a double-double machine in his prime. Elgin Baylor is definitely one of the greatest NBA players to not have a ring, and takes the cake for being the best Los Angeles Laker to never win a championship for them. The Lakers have won so many it's pretty surprising to see a great player like Baylor never won one in purple and gold.
16 Memphis Grizzlies - Pau Gasol
It's pretty crazy to think about but the top two greatest Memphis Grizzlies of all-time are Pau Gasol years ago and Marc Gasol in today's game. It was a tough decision but I gave Pau the edge as he just came into the league so dominant for the Grizzlies, as he won the Rookie of the Year award after being drafted with the 3rd pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Gasol quickly became the Grizzlies franchise big man and it was a devastating loss for Grizzlies fans when Gasol was traded to the Lakers.
While Gasol did go on to win championships with the Lakers, Gasol was never able to bring a ring to Memphis, making him the best Grizzly player to never win a championship for them.
15 Miami Heat - Glen Rice
Don't be confused by the photo used above, Glen Rice is not holding up the Larry O'Brien trophy to many Heat fans' disappointment. He won the three-point contest in '95. Rice was drafted by the Miami Heat in 1989 with the 4th pick, and quickly became one of the deadliest shooters in the league and was a great combo guard for the Heat during his time there. Similar to Pau Gasol who is listed above, Rice found championship success after he left the team he represents on this list, as Glen Rice managed to win the NBA championship with the Lakers in 2000. The Heat have had great players win the championship for them. Glen Rice was great, but never could bring home the big trophy.
14 Milwaukee Bucks - Sidney Moncrief
Sidney Moncrief played every season of his NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks except his last, and takes the title for being the greatest Buck of all-time to never win them a championship ring. The Bucks have not managed to win a title since 1971, so Moncrief was out of luck here. Moncrief was a great player during his time in the league and saw himself become a 5 time all-star and a two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Moncrief was the definition of a consistent player who stayed humble and brought his A game to the court for Milwaukee each and every night. Sidney Moncrief never won a championship even though he dominated, which is why he is listed on this article here.
13 Minnesota Timberwolves - Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett's time in Minnesota was one of the most dominant showings in NBA history, as he was a man amongst boys most nights as he quickly became the greatest player in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves. KG was never able to will the Wolves to winning an NBA championship, the closest he got was in 2004 when he and the team made the Western Conference Finals ultimately losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Timberwolves have still yet to win an NBA championship, and Kevin Garnett is the greatest player to wear a Wolves jersey, which is why his name comes up for Minnesota this time around. It's too bad Garnett isn't a young man now, as he played out his final days with a very young, but promising T-Wolves team.
12 New Orleans Pelicans - Anthony Davis
Whether talking about the New Orleans Hornets or now Pelicans, Anthony Davis takes the cake for the most talented player. While Davis still has time to bring New Orleans a championship and get his name off of this list, he has yet to do so even though things are looking brighter with DeMarcus Cousins being added to the team this season. Davis was taken with the 1st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Ever since coming into the league, Anthony "The Brow" Davis has been on go, as he quickly propelled himself into being one of the most dominant big men in the league. Injuries have been a bit of a problem for Davis, but he was able to stay healthy this season and even though he and Cousins didn't make the playoffs this year, next season could be a huge step forward in their quest to bring New Orleans their first ring.
11 New York Knicks - Patrick Ewing
Despite Patrick Ewing's long effort to bring New York city a championship series win, he came up short and was never able to win a ring to his name. He was taken with the 1st pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, and the hype was real as he was wildly considered the best player coming out of college as he dominated during his time at Georgetown. Ewing was a beast in the paint and hit the ground running when it came to his NBA career. Winning the Rookie of the Year award, Ewing went on to win a multitude of other awards in the league, just not an NBA championship. Patrick Ewing is the greatest player in New York Knicks history to never win the city a championship.
10 Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook
After his incredible NBA season this year, Russell Westbrook has dethroned Kevin Durant as being the best player in Oklahoma City basketball history. Since the team moved from Seattle to Oklahoma, the team has seen multiple superstars wear their blue and orange jerseys, however things never worked out right even though the Thunder had a dynasty in the making. Russell Westbrook is the final piece remaining of the original big three in OKC since James Harden and Kevin Durant left, and Westbrook will most likely be bringing home the MVP award to OKC, just not the championship trophy. The Thunder really had something special building, and now just Russell is left behind as he will continue to try to win the Thunder a championship.
9 Orlando Magic - Shaquille O'Neal
I was about to give this title to Dwight Howard for his excellent time in Orlando, but when looking at the statistics Shaquille O'Neal put up for the Magic, sheesh the guy was an absolute beast. The Magic took O'Neal with the 1st pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, and O'Neal came into the league a dominant force as he averaged about 24 and 14 in his rookie season garnering him the Rookie of the Year award. Teaming up with Penny Hardaway, the two created a dynamic duo and contended for the championship early in both of their careers. It was a sad day for Orlando fans when Shaq signed with the Lakers leaving Orlando, as many knew that championships could have been won for the Magic, but he took his talents to L.A. which is why he finds himself on this list as the best Magic player to never win them a championship.
8 Philadelphia 76ers - Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson had an iconic NBA career. Bringing the streets to the court, Iverson was beloved by millions as he became a culture figure in the game as he destroyed his competition with Philadelphia as he perfected his smooth crossover which caught many ankles throughout his career. Almost on his own, Iverson willed the 76ers to the NBA championship in 2001 during his MVP season, and even though they ultimately lost to the Lakers in five games, the series made Iverson a legend in Philadelphia for his efforts and he came away from the series with one of the most iconic plays in NBA history when he stepped over Tyronn Lue in Game 1. Being from Philadelphia, I so wish Iverson was able to bring us a championship and win a ring to his name because he definitely deserved it.
7 Phoenix Suns - Steve Nash
Steve Nash is the greatest Phoenix Suns player of all-time. The franchise has still yet to win a championship, but still enjoyed great success while Nash was at the helm for them as he won two MVP's while on the Suns. The Suns made a great pick in 1996 when they took Nash with the 15th pick in the draft, as he went on to not only become the greatest Suns player ever, he is one of the best point-guards to ever grace the NBA hardwood. Teaming up with the very talented Amar'e Stoudemire, the two made a great combo and led the Suns deep into the playoffs multiple times, however they never made it all the way to the end and Phoenix is still left championship-less to this day.
6 Portland Trail Blazers - Clyde Drexler
Clyde "The Glide" Drexler was an excellent player throughout his career, and was most dominant while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. A lengthy scorer, Clyde was great at getting to the rim as he seemed to "glide" to the rim. He could rebound nicely as well, and was always willing to pass it to the open man if needed. He played 11 very successful seasons for the Blazers, even leading them to the NBA Finals twice coming up short both times.
It wasn't until he teamed up with Hakeem in Houston that he won a ring, but Clyde is still the greatest Portland Trail Blazer to never win them a championship. If only he didn't have to deal with those pesky Chicago Bulls who kept hogging all the rings in the early 90s.
5 Sacramento Kings - Chris Webber
Chris Webber doesn't get the recognition he deserves for his excellent career in the NBA, as he was definitely one of the best big men in the league during his prime with Sacramento. He played for both the Warriors and the Wizards before playing for Sacramento, where he made the Kings one of the best teams in the West. He led the Kings in epic battles in the playoffs and while he was never able to win a championship for Sacramento, he made a name for himself as he dominated his opponents on his way to putting up numbers such as about 25 points and 11 rebounds throughout one of his playoff runs. Chris Webber is the greatest Sacramento King to not win them a ring.
4 San Antonio Spurs - George Gervin
George "The Iceman" Gervin was ahead of his time as he brought a certain flash and style to the game that was not yet seen before. He was one of the smoothest players in the history of the game as he brought out the finger-roll a lot which always got a nice reaction from the crowd as he skied to the rim and rolled the ball high into the air off his finger tips. Gervin played for the Spurs for 12 years of his career, even being with the team when it moved from the ABA to the NBA in 1977. George Gervin wasn't able to win San Antonio a championship like other Spurs legends, which is why he takes the title on this article.
3 Toronto Raptors - Vince Carter
Vince Carter is one of the greatest athletes to ever pick up a basketball. He put on an absolute show each and every night during his early and prime days of his career, and is still chugging along as he is the oldest player in the league right now and is still finding ways to contribute. Carter was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1998 Draft by the Warriors, who traded him on draft night which turned out to be a mistake. Carter had an excellent career with the Raptors and is widely considered the greatest player to represent the country of Canada of all-time, and is on this list because he was never able to win them a championship, as Toronto is still waiting for a title to their name.
2 Utah Jazz - Karl Malone
Karl Malone and John Stockton tried to bring the Jazz a championship every year they were together, and even though the two took them to the final series, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were to talented to get passed in the final round. Malone was a beast and is easily one of the greatest players in the history of the league as he finished his career as the second best scorer in NBA history with 36,928 points scored. Malone was incredibly strong and got to where he wanted to get on the court, and finished at the rim like a man over and over again as he beat down his opponent and put up incredible numbers each night. Karl Malone is easily one of the greatest NBA players to never win a championship over the course of his career.
1 Washington Wizards - John Wall
John Wall is having his best NBA season to date this year. He is most definitely one of the most talented guards in the league, and is leading the Wizards in the playoffs as he even turned a few heads as people thought he had an MVP caliber season as he really came into his own this season. Wall is one of the fastest players in the league, but this season he learned how to use that to his advantage instead of disadvantage as he slowed down his game and led the Wizards to being one of the best teams in the East. Wall has solidified himself as one of the greatest Washington Wizards of all-time, and while there is still a great amount of time to get himself off of this list, Wall has yet to bring the capital of our country a championship.
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