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26.9k voters

The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings

Updated November 15, 2020 225.0k votes 26.9k voters 327.5k views161 items

List RulesVote up the top players who never quite reached the NBA mountaintop.

List of the greatest NBA basketball players of all time who never won a championship ring. Though winning a championship is the ultimate goal of any team in any league, often circumstances conspire to keep even the most elite athletes from actually making it to that pinnacle of achievement. Thus, it has become a known and accepted truth that there must be other ways to measure the greatness of a basketball icon other than counting up their actual championship record. A number of lesser players whose names have been all but forgotten to history have collected more rings than legends like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Reggie Miller.

But what other measurements can be used to evaluate the dominance of a given player, if not by the rings on their fingers? Perhaps participation in NBA All Star competitions? Their central importance to a particular team or city? It'd be hard to argue against the greatness of six-time NBA All Star Shawn Kemp, nor to deny his integral position on the '90s Seattle Sonics. Yet in may ways because of the dominance of Michael Jordan's Bulls dynasty, Kemp was never part of a championship team. 

Below, vote for your favorite players who never managed to clinch a championship victory. And if you think a key player has been left off the list, add them by making your own re-ranked version. Thanks to your votes, we'll create a list of the best NBA players without a ring.

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  • Allen Iverson1
    7,972
    4,078

    Allen Iverson

    Point guard

    Age45

    BirthplaceHampton, Virginia, United States of America

    Number1

    TeamsPhiladelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2001)

    Allen Ezail Iverson (; born June 7, 1975), nicknamed "the Answer", is an American former...  more

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    #40 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History#9 of 60 Famous Athletes Who Could Have Dominated a Second Sport

  • Charles Barkley2
    7,699
    4,250

    Charles Barkley

    Power forward

    Age57

    BirthplaceLeeds, Alabama, United States of America

    Number34

    TeamsPhoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers

    1 NBA Finals appearance (1993)

    Charles Wade Barkley (born February 20, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball...  more

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    22 Times Charles Barkley Made Everyone LOL#4 of 78 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time

  • John Stockton3
    7,292
    4,037

    John Stockton

    Point guard

    Age58

    BirthplaceSpokane, Washington

    TeamsUtah Jazz

    2 NBA Finals appearances (1997, 1998)

    John Houston Stockton (born March 26, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball...  more

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    #48 of 126 The Best NBA Buys for the Money#3 of 20 The Best 80s NBA Point Guards

  • Karl Malone4
    6,659
    3,813

    Karl Malone

    Power forward

    Age56

    BirthplaceSummerfield, Louisiana, United States of America

    TeamsUtah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

    3 NBA Finals appearances (1997, 1998, 2004)

    Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball...  more

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    #37 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#1 of 25 The Best Power Forwards of the 80s

  • Steve Nash5
    6,168
    3,749

    Steve Nash

    Point guard

    Age46

    BirthplaceJohannesburg, South Africa

    Number10

    TeamsDallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns

    Stephen John Nash (born 7 February 1974) is a Canadian former professional basketball player...  more

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    #394 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#4 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History

  • Patrick Ewing6
    5,227
    3,527

    Age57

    BirthplaceKingston, Jamaica

    Number33

    TeamsNew York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics

    2 NBA Finals appearances (1994, 1999)

    Patrick Aloysius Ewing (born August 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame...  more

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    #107 of 124 The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time#4 of 23 The Best NBA Centers of the 1980s

  • Reggie Miller7
    5,318
    3,555

    Reggie Miller

    Shooting guard

    Age54

    BirthplaceRiverside, California, United States of America

    TeamsIndiana Pacers

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2000)

    Reginald Wayne Miller (born August 24, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball...  more

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    #18 of 31 The Best NBA Commentators Ever#5 of 26 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 80s

  • Dominique Wilkins8
    4,154
    2,935

    Dominique Wilkins

    Small forward

    Age60

    BirthplaceParis, France

    TeamsAtlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers

    Jacques Dominique Wilkins (born January 12, 1960) is an American retired professional...  more

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    #2 of 53 The Best NBA Players Who Played Overseas#4 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

  • Dražen Petrović9
    2,976
    956

    Dražen Petrović

    Shooting guard

    AgeDec. at 29 (1964-1993)

    BirthplaceŠibenik, Croatia

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets

    Dražen Petrović (pronounced [drǎʒen pětroʋitɕ]; 22 October 1964 – 7 June 1993) was a Croatian...  more

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    #3 of 175 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History#3 of 130 The Best European NBA Players of All Time

  • Pete Maravich10
    3,452
    2,431

    Pete Maravich

    Shooting guard

    AgeDec. at 41 (1947-1988)

    BirthplaceAliquippa, Pennsylvania

    Number44

    TeamsUtah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Jazz

    Peter Press Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988), known by his nickname Pistol Pete, was...  more

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    #4 of 86 The Best Second-Generation NBA Players Of All Time#2 of 58 The Greatest LSU Basketball Players of All Time

  • Chris Paul11
    3,875
    2,735

    Chris Paul

    Point guard

    Age35

    BirthplaceWinston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America

    Number3

    TeamsPhoenix Suns

    Christopher Emmanuel Paul (born May 6, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for...  more

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  • Elgin Baylor12
    3,446
    2,428

    Elgin Baylor

    Small forward

    Age85

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

    8 NBA Finals appearances (1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)

    Elgin Gay Baylor (born September 16, 1934) is an American former basketball player, coach, and...  more

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    #7 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time#17 of 135 The Best Small Forwards of All Time

  • Tracy McGrady13
    4,437
    3,139

    Tracy McGrady

    Shooting guard, Small forward

    Age41

    BirthplaceBartow, Florida, United States of America

    TeamsHouston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2013)

    Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr. (born May 24, 1979) is an American former professional basketball...  more

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    #31 of 120 The Fastest NBA Players of All Time#6 of 21 20 Videos of Pro Athletes Crying at Press Conferences

  • Vince Carter14
    4,337
    3,067

    Vince Carter

    Shooting guard, Small forward

    Age43

    BirthplaceDaytona Beach, Florida, United States of America

    Number25

    TeamsAtlanta Hawks

    Vincent Lamar Carter (born January 26, 1977) is an American professional basketball player for...  more

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    #3 of 51 The Greatest UNC Tar Heels Basketball Players of All Time#64 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

  • Dikembe Mutombo15
    2,545
    1,978

    Age53

    BirthplaceKinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

    TeamsAtlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets

    2 NBA Finals appearance (2001, 2003)

    Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (born June 25, 1966) is a Congolese...  more

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    #2 of 50 The Greatest African NBA Players of All Time#4 of 22 The Greatest Georgetown Basketball Players of All Time

  • Penny Hardaway16
    2,078
    1,616

    Penny Hardaway

    Point guard

    Age48

    BirthplaceMemphis, Tennessee, United States of America

    Number1

    TeamsOrlando Magic, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns

    1 NBA Finals appearance (1995)

    Anfernee Deon "Penny" Hardaway (born July 18, 1971) is an American college basketball coach...  more

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    #7 of 27 The Best '90s Point Guards#6 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • James Harden17
    2,354
    1,838

    James Harden

    Shooting guard

    Age31

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Number13

    TeamsBrooklyn Nets

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2012)

    James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player...  more

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    The Best Harden Vol. 3 Colorways, Ranked#3 of 54 The Most Hated Active NBA Players

  • Russell Westbrook18
    2,777
    2,201

    Age32

    BirthplaceLong Beach, California

    Number0

    TeamsWashington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2012)

    Russell Westbrook III (born November 12, 1988) is an American professional basketball player...  more

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    The Best Jordan "Why Not?" Zer0.2 Colorways, Ranked#4 of 42 The Greatest UCLA Basketball Players of All Time

  • Chris Webber19
    2,428
    1,984

    Chris Webber

    Power forward, Center

    Age46

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    TeamsWashington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons

    Mayce Edward Christopher Webber III (born March 1, 1973) is an American former professional...  more

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    #2 of 46 The Greatest Michigan Basketball Players of All Time#21 of 69 All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked

  • George Gervin20
    2,176
    1,794

    George Gervin

    Shooting guard

    Age67

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan

    TeamsChicago Bulls

    George Gervin (born April 27, 1952), nicknamed "The Iceman", is an American retired...  more

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    #2 of 23 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 70s#5 of 27 The Best NCAA Shooting Guards of the 70s

  • Jimmy Butler21
    597
    405

    Jimmy Butler

    Small forward

    Age31

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    Number21

    TeamsMiami Heat

    Jimmy Butler III (born September 14, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for...  more

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    #79 of 178 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever#39 of 294 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today

  • Chris Mullin22
    217
    100

    Chris Mullin

    Shooting guard, Small forward

    Age57

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    TeamsIndiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors

    1 NBA Finals appearance (2000)

    Christopher Paul Mullin (born July 30, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball...  more

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    #45 of 68 The Best Current College Basketball Coaches#5 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s

  • Derrick Rose23
    2,408
    1,983

    Derrick Rose

    Point guard

    Age32

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Number1

    TeamsNew York Knicks

    Derrick Martell Rose (born October 4, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for...  more

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    #33 of 76 The Best Point Guards Currently in the NBA#2 of 46 The Greatest Memphis Basketball Players of All Time

  • Yao Ming24
    2,226
    1,832

    Yao Ming

    Center

    Age39

    BirthplaceShanghai, China

    TeamsHouston Rockets

    Yao Ming (born September 12, 1980) is a Chinese basketball executive and retired professional...  more

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    #71 of 256 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#24 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

  • Artis Gilmore25
    493
    355

    Age71

    BirthplaceChipley, Florida

    TeamsBoston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

    Artis Gilmore (born September 21, 1949) is an American retired basketball player who played in...  more

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    #67 of 133 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time#6 of 73 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time