Winning the NBA championship is the ultimate goal of every basketball player in the league. And while others have won more than once during their careers, there are those ended their great careers without winning a single ring.

Bill Russell has enough rings for every finger. The Boston Celtic legend won a total of 11 NBA titles during his playing days, including 9 straight during the 60s. In the modern era, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won six NBA titles for the Chicago Bulls while Robert Horry also has six rings while playing for three different teams.

But while there are players who won multiple NBA championships, there are also those who had a storied NBA career but who never won a single NBA title. Let’s take a look at the best NBA players in history that never won an NBA title:

Basketball 1. Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor was named as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players. But he is also the greatest NBA player never to have won an NBA championship. It wasn’t that he didn’t get a chance. He played on a total of eight NBA championship series but he was just not able to win a single one of those.

Other than that, Baylor was an All-Time great. After he was drafted first overall by the Lakers in 1958, he won Rookie of the Year honors after averaging 24.9 points and 15.0 rebounds per game while also winning All-Star MVP honors that season.

He was one of the greatest players during the ’60s, earning 11 All-Star game appearances and 10 All-NBA team honors. In 14 NBA seasons, Baylor averaged 27.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He was forced to retire during the 1971-72 season because of knee injuries. After he retired, the Lakers won an NBA-record 33 straight games and went on to win the 1972 NBA title.

Basketball 2. Karl Malone

The Mailman delivered everything except an NBA title ring. In 19 NBA seasons, he was the prototype and barometer for every NBA power forward. He is one of only four players in NBA history to score at least 20,000 points, grab at least 10,000 rebounds, and issue at least 5,000 assists in his career. He is ranked second all-time in points at 36,928 and sixth in total rebounds at 14,968.

Karl Malone played a total of 19 seasons in the NBA and he led the Utah Jazz to back to back NBA Finals appearances but lost both times to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Then in the twilight of his career, he transferred to the Los Angeles Lakers, reached the Finals again in 2004, but lost to the Detroit Pistons in one of the biggest upsets in Finals history.

Of course, Karl Malone wouldn’t have achieved all of these if he didn’t have John Stockton as his teammate. The two are widely recognized as the best duo in the history of the NBA. “Stockton to Malone” became a household phrase and the Jazz were a perennial playoff contender during their term in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, they peaked at a time when Michael Jordan and his Bulls reigned the league.

Basketball 3. John Stockton

As we said previously, there would have never been a Karl Malone without John Stockton. But there would have never been a John Stockton too, without Karl Malone. With Malone on the receiving end of countless pick and roll situations and fastbreak opportunities, John Stockton became the NBA’s All-Time leader in assists at 15,806.

Widely regarded as the best point guard during his era, Stockton was an old fashioned point guard who loved to play the pick and roll. He was a pass-first guard who also had a very good touch from the outside. He was also a pesky defender who is the NBA’s All-Time leader in steals at 3,265. Stockton ranks 5th all-time in win shares, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, and Michael Jordan. He is also 31st in PER.

Stockton had 11 All-NBA nods, 10 All-Star game appearances, and five spots on the All-Defensive team during his 19-year career. He was, without doubt, the best point guard during his time and if not for Michael Jordan, Stockton and Karl Malone would have won back to back NBA titles. Despite missing out on the title ring, he remains one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players and one of the all-time greats never to win an NBA title.

Basketball 4. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley evolved from the tough and bruising Round Mound of Rebound to Sir Charles, one of the best undersized big men in the history of the NBA. Barkley was one of the most dominant power forwards ever. He ranks in the Top 20 All-Time in rebounding despite being just 6-6 tall. He is one of only four players in NBA history to tally 20,000 points and 1,500 steals during his career.

Barkley was never afraid of anybody and he competed every night. He threw his weight around the basketball court and was a menace on both offense and defense. He averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds during his career and had a career PER of 24.6.

In 1993, he was named the NBA’s MVP after averaging 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. He led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals where they lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games. That turned out to be Sir Charles’ only appearance in the NBA Finals.

Basketball 5. Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing was the best player to put on a New York Knicks’ uniform. The Madison Square Guardian was the Knicks’ 1st overall pick in 1985 after leading the Georgetown Hoyas to three trips to the Final Four and the NCAA championship in 1984. Ewing was the first grand prize of the NBA lottery which the Knicks won.

Ewing was more than what the Knicks asked for. He finished his career ranked 6th all-time in blocked shots, 18th in points, and 24th in rebounding. He is one of only six players in the history of the league to put up 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 1,500 blocks during his career.

He was named to the All-Star team 11 times and was an All-NBA team member seven times. Ewing also won two Olympic gold medals and was part of the original Dream Team in 1992. He won 1986 Rookie of the Year honors and played in two NBA championships but lost to the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

Basketball 6. Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson was one of the most iconic players in the history of the NBA. The first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft quickly transformed the Philadelphia 76ers to instant title contenders with his dazzling handles and uncanny ability to score points despite being only 6-0 tall.

The Answer finished his NBA career as the 19th best scorer in NBA history. He was also 12th all-time in steals and 38th in passing. Many critics would rage at his 42.5% career field goal shooting percentage but if you look at the record books, he never played with a talented scorer in Philadelphia and defenders would gang up on him because his teammates couldn’t score.

If LeBron James can take credit for taking the Cavs single-handedly to the 2007 NBA Finals, Iverson can do the same in 2001 when he led the Sixers to the Last Dance against Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers. Of course, the Lakers won three straight titles during that period, causing Iverson to lose his only trip to the NBA Finals. As a consolation, he was named league MVP that season.

Basketball 7. Reggie Miller

Perhaps the best clutch players of all-time, Reggie Miller had the knack for hitting the big shots when they mattered most. Miller is one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen and before Ray Allen eclipsed him, he held the record for most three-point baskets made in the NBA and most three-pointers in the playoffs. Although his records have been shattered, he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest scorers in the game.

Miller retired as the 14th leading scorer in the history of the NBA. He is one of only five NBA players to score 25,000 points, grab 4,000 rebounds, issued 4,000 assists, and log in 1,500 steals. Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant are the others.

Miller Time made it to the NBA Finals in 2000 where he lost to Shaq, Kobe, and the Lakers. He played in two decades and was a five-time All-Star. Who could forget Miller’s late-game heroics? Game-winning three-point baskets? His epic playoff wars with the New York Knicks? And that eight-point outburst in nine seconds at the Garden in 1995?

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