Every NBA player dreams of being a champion. As fans of the game, we all hope our favorite players get to win at least one championship throughout their careers, but sadly, it doesn't always come to fruition. Many people define greatness by how many rings a player can obtain, but as real fans of the game know, rings aren't everything in defining a player's career. Throughout the NBA's long history, there have been a lot of great players that fans wish were able to take home a championship, but sadly it just never happened for them.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 15 NBA players we wanted to win an NBA championship during their careers, but never did. Of course, we will not be naming any players who are still currently playing, because there is still a chance they will get a ring during their playing days, so we will be sticking to retired players.
As always, feel free to leave the names of any other players you wish won an NBA championship in the comment section.
Here are the top 15 NBA players we wish won a championship. Despite their incredible talent, it never happened for them.
15 Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was not only one of the league's most exciting players, but he is also one of the most popular the game has ever seen. An absolutely dominant scorer with the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, McGrady never really went very deep into the playoffs over the course of his career except as a bench player with the Spurs. Even though McGrady never won an NBA championship, he will still go down as one of the most talented players in all of NBA history. Fans would have loved to see the high flyer hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy at least one time over the course of his 16-year career.
Had he stuck around in Toronto with Vince Carter, perhaps he could have had one.
McGrady's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-0Conference Semifinals: 1-0First Round: 1-8
14 Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo was one of the best defensive minded centers the league has ever seen. Drafted with the 4th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets in 1991, the raw center from Georgetown had a phenomenal NBA career. Racking up multiple Defensive Player of The Year awards and many other accolades, Mutombo is easily one of the best centers to step on the hardwood. He had some serious success in the playoffs, but he was never able to close the deal during the most important series of the year. His signature finger wag after big blocks gained him a lot of fans during his playing days, and we would have loved to see him celebrate an NBA championship series victory.
Mutombo's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-2Conference Finals: 2-0Conference Semifinals: 2-4First Round: 6-7
13 Amar'e Stoudemire
In his prime, Amar'e Stoudemire was easily one of the most dominant big men in the league. He was one half of a dynamic duo with Steve Nash during the early 2000s, and was one of the highest flyers the league has ever seen. A great post player with great rebounding abilities, Stoudemire was never able to win a championship, let alone win a Conference Finals series during his career. Check out some of Amar'e's highlights and you will be amazed at some of the poster dunks he racked up throughout his playing days. Even though he definitely isn't the same player today he was ten years ago, his recent retirement will leave a hole in the NBA this season.
Stoudemire's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-0Conference Finals: 0-2Conference Semifinals: 2-3First Round: 5-5
12 Shawn Kemp
The SuperSonics got exactly what they were hoping to get when they drafted Shawn Kemp with the 17th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft. He was a high-flying big man with some serious athleticism which put him a step above the average big man in the league. Both he and Gary Payton led the SuperSonics to success in the 90s, as they even went all the way to the NBA Finals, where they ultimately fell to the Chicago Bulls. Shawn Kemp was a fun player to watch, and we would have loved to see him celebrate an NBA championship win at least one time over the course of his 14-year career. It seems like he just played in the wrong era, having had so much competition in the 90s.
Kemp's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-1Conference Semifinals: 2-2First Round: 4-6
11 George Gervin
George "The Iceman" Gervin is one of the smoothest NBA players to ever do it, and it's a shame he never got to win a championship. He had a great career in the ABA, and his talents were able to translate quickly into the National Basketball Association as well. Gervin was known for his beautiful finger rolls at the rim, and he was a dynamic wing scorer. Gervin was a four-time NBA scoring champion and has the ninth-best scoring average in NBA history at 26.2 points per game. Gervin went to the Conference Finals three times, but was never able to even play in a Finals game despite our hopes for him.
Unfortunately, the Spurs of the 70s weren't quite the Spurs of today.
Gervin's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-0Conference Finals: 0-3Conference Semifinals: 3-2First Round: 0-4
10 Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway was drafted with the 14th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Hardaway went on to become one of the best guards in the history of the NBA. A talented scorer, passer, and ball handler, Tim had all the skills needed to lead an NBA team from the point-guard position. Hardaway sure did leave his fair share of defenders with broken ankles due to his signature "killer crossover," and while he never got to win a championship with any of the five different teams for which he played (Warriors, Heat, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers), Hardaway will go down as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. It was more of a case of bad luck, as Hardaway never found himself surrounded by elite talent.
Hardaway's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-0Conference Finals: 0-1Conference Semifinals: 1-2First Round: 3-6
9 Dominique Wilkins
Even though Dominique Wilkins is considered one of the greatest players in all of the NBA's long history, it is surprising he never even made it out of the second round of the playoffs. Nicknamed "The Human Highlight Reel" due to his incredible in-game and dunk show dunks, Wilkins really was a walking highlight reel. Playing in the 80s and 90s,when the league was dominated by major talent, Dominique was never able to lead his team to a championship series win. Wilkins is definitely one of those guys we would have loved to see win at least one championship over the course of his great career. I'm sure he feels the same way.
Given that Wilkins spent most of his career with the Atlanta Hawks, he didn't really get a chance to be an NBA champion.
Wilkins' playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-0Conference Finals: 0-0Conference Semifinals: 0-3First Round: 3-7
8 Steve Nash
Steve Nash was the definition of a great point-guard, as he is considered one of the greatest passers of all time. Leading multiple great Suns teams deep into the playoff fight, Nash won two MVP awards during his career, and racked up multiple other awards along the way. His excellent court vision and flashy passes made him one of the most likable players in the history of the NBA.
Steve Nash lost in four different Conference Finals series, and never even got the chance to play for the Larry O'Brien trophy in a Finals series. Nash was a humble guy whom we would have liked to see get a championship ring. He joined the Lakers late in his career, but it was a little too late, as L.A. was in the middle of a tailspin.
Nash's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-0Conference Finals: 0-4Conference Semifinals: 4-3First Round: 7-5
7 Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway
Penny Hardaway was one of the most exciting point guards of the 90s, and even though his career was stalled by injuries, he still had a phenomenal NBA career. Teaming up with Shaquille O'Neal in Orlando, Penny and Shaq and went to the NBA Finals but unfortunately never got to win a championship together. In his prime and without injuries, Penny Hardaway was a dominant guard who could not only just score at ease, but set up his teammates with excellent assists.
What wasn't there to like about Penny Hardaway, and we wish he could have been able to win an NBA championship. Of course, I'm sure he does too.
Had Shaq stayed in Orlando, it's highly likely he and Hardaway would have led the Magic to a championship.
Hardaway's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-1Conference Semifinals: 2-1First Round: 3-5
6 Patrick Ewing
One of the greatest players to ever wear the iconic Knicks uniform, Patrick Ewing never won an NBA championship despite his immense success in the league. He seemed like a man among boys during his prime, as he dunked on quite a few premier defenders during his playing days. The first overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft didn't disappoint, as he was an 11-time NBA All-Star and won the Rookie of the Year award. He led the Knicks deep into the playoffs a plethora of times, and we wish his efforts could have been rewarded with a championship ring. It certainly would have been the icing on the cake that was his great career. If only Michael Jordan wasn't around at the same time.
Ewing's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 2-2Conference Semifinals: 4-7First Round: 11-3
5 John Stockton
John Stockton is the definition of the perfect NBA point guard, due to his amazing court vision and lockdown defense on the perimeter. The Jazz got a total steal when they drafted Gonzaga point guard John Stockton with the 16th pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. John Stockton is the NBA's leader in both assists and steals. He and Karl Malone led the Jazz to a lot of big games in the playoffs, but sadly, the two were never able to bring a championship to the loyal fans in Utah. Easily one of the greatest players of all time, John Stockton is one of the greatest players to never win an NBA championship. The NBA was so talented in the 90s that many great players weren't able to get their break.
Stockton's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-2Conference Finals: 2-3Conference Semifinals: 5-5First Round: 10-9
4 Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller is one of the NBA's greatest performers due to all of the clutch shots he hit during the course of his historic career. He played his whole career for the Indiana Pacers, and is the greatest man to ever wear the Pacers jersey. He once held the NBA record for most three pointers for his career, and he was a great scorer all during his playing days. The Pacers were contenders every year he was one their team, due to the fact he was one of the most valuable players in the league. Despite willing his Indiana Pacer teams to multiple Conference Finals appearances and one Finals appearance, the pure shooter was never able to win the championship he so desperately wanted.
Miller's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-5Conference Semifinals: 6-1First Round: 7-8
3 Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley was not only one of the best players to not win a championship, but he was one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. Period. Drafted 5th in the legendary 1984 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers, Barkley was a beast from the beginning. Labeled "The Round Mound of Rebound," Barkley was a big boy in the paint that could rack up double-double after double-double during his career. He took the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993, but he ultimately ended up losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Charles Barkley was one of the best players who fans wanted to win an NBA championship. He eventually joined the Houston Rockets in hopes of winning one, but the Rockets were in a downturn by the time he got there.
Barkley's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-2Conference Semifinals: 3-5First Round: 8-5
2 Karl Malone
Karl Malone was one of the best big men in the history of the league, and it's a shame he never won an NBA championship throughout his career. Malone was one of the best players Michael Jordan kept from winning a championship. A great post scorer with a talent in rebounding, Malone was a perfect power forward. Karl Malone and John Stockton teamed up to form one of the best duos the NBA has ever known, and both he and Stockton led many Jazz teams deep into the playoffs for years and years. His dominance on the court during his playing days will overshadow the fact that he was never able to win a championship.
It's a testament to the era that even a player as great as Malone wasn't able to win a championship.
Malone's playoff record:
NBA Finals: 0-3Conference Finals: 3-3Conference Semifinals: 6-4First Round: 10-9
1 Allen Iverson
No matter who his teammates were, a team with Allen Iverson in his prime was a team that could contend for a title. A good example of this was the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers and their legendary playoff run that Iverson led night-in and night-out. They squared up against the overpowered Lakers, which included both Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Game 1 of the series was one of Iverson's greatest games, as not only did he drop 48 points and step over current Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, he handed the Lakers their first loss of the playoffs, and did all of this in the Staples Center by the way! Iverson was one of the most popular players in NBA history, as he was one of those underdogs for whom everyone was rooting.
Iverson's playoff record.
NBA Finals: 0-1Conference Finals: 1-0Conference Semifinals: 1-3First Round: 4-4