NBA / Jul 30, 2010 / 10:00 am

The Most Blatant NBA Ring-Chasers of All-Time

Gary Payton, Dime #9

What happens to former stars once they pass their prime? Unfortunately in professional sports, most become ring-chasers.

Let me define a ring-chaser: An older player, usually a former superstar or at least an All-Star, who is past his prime and decides to join a championship contender knowing he won’t be a major factor in his new team winning a title.

I mean, look at what’s going on right now in Miami. Ever since the “Super Friends” joined forces, now you got ex-superstars like Penny Hardaway, Stephon Marbury and most recently Steve Francis are all trying to hop on the bandwagon and become official ring-chasers. With that being said, here are the five worst ring-chasers of all-time:

5. Stephon Marbury (Celtics, 2009) — Marbury’s late-season signing was widely considered a failure because the Celtics were his chance to redeem himself and make up for his tarnished image. Not only did the Celtics not win the NBA championship that year, they didn’t even make it back to the finals (as they lost to Orlando in the second round). Also, one can see this as a failure because Marbury hasn’t seen an NBA roster since.

4. Shaquille O’Neal (2010) — Shaq was traded to the Suns (’08) and Cavs (’09), so it wasn’t really ring-chasing then, but now this summer the Big Fella is doing what vets used to do to his powerful Lakers teams. Still available on the free-agent market, Shaq apparently only wants to sign with a contender, and recently said he was most interested in the Celtics in an effort to get his fifth championship.

3. Kevin Willis (Spurs, 2003) — At 40 years old, the former All-NBA performer signed on with San Antonio in an effort to get the ring that eluded him as Dominique Wilkins’ sidekick in Atlanta and several other stops. Willis was once among the NBA’s leading rebounders, but with the Spurs grabbed just 3.2 boards in 11 minutes a night. He got his ring when the Spurs beat the Nets in the Finals, but Willis only played 25 minutes total in the playoffs.

2. Mitch Richmond (Lakers, 2001) — He once graced the cover of NBA Live 97, but as Richmond’s career began to dwindle down, and with the Wizards being nowhere near a championship contender, Richmond took his talents to L.A. Going from making $10 million to just $1 million, Richmond did at least win an NBA championship, but I’m not sure L.A. even needed him. He only played four minutes total during the playoffs.

1. Karl Malone & Gary Payton (Lakers, 2004) — In the same summer that D-Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh joined the NBA, “The Mailmain” and “The Glove” pulled an original Super-Friends move, joining up with Kobe and Shaq in L.A. to form a super-team on paper. GP and Malone both started for the Lakers, but considering they each used to be The Man in Seattle and Utah, respectively, it was a tough adjustment going to being the 3rd or 4th option. The Lakers lost in the ’04 Finals to Detroit, leaving Malone to finish his career without a championship. Payton later won a ring with Miami in ’06.

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  • Tizzy

    You left out Lebron

  • Pareja

    This is why Reggie Miller is greater person/player than anybody on this list.

  • Heckler

    Grant Hill should be on this list.

    maybe even more so than Shaq. Shaq was TRADED to phoenix while they were a contending team. Grant Hill signed with phoenix (bitching out on orlando after the magic made the playoffs) for only $2 million a year.

  • vince

    You’re wayyyyyyy off @ #3.

    Kevin Willis only played 11 minutes a game prior to the season he joined the Spurs, and he played for the Rockets. He also had played over 1200 games already… he joined the Spurs in his 18th (!!!) season while still being serviceable. How is that “blatant’?

    I’d say you’re missing a pretty big name here. Shaq. Quitting on teams, demanding to be traded by a team which looks better.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    @Rey Jefferson
    Original Superfriends?? Sorry Rey, that distinction goes to Hakeem, Clyde, Charles and Scottie.

    Sometimes I think Lakeshow, Chicagorilla, Brogden, myself and a few others can start our own blog and be more on point than some of these Dime writers. Not saying we’ll be more popular but just more accurate.

  • vince

    I’d say I missed a pretty big name. Hahahah. Still Willis is far from a ringchaser.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    @#4 vince
    Funny you’re calling out #3 for being “wayyyyyyy off”.

    “I’d say you’re missing a pretty big name here. Shaq.”

    Wanna re-read the article?? Looks like you’re waaaayyy off bud.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    what’s with this new term “ring-chaser”. What defines it?? and what makes it negative???
    Ewing, Reggie, Stockalone all chased the rings. Who gave a fuck? Isn’t that what competitive pro athletes do?? Chase rings? In these cases I would mind being called a ring chaser…. better than being a Vince Carter who doesn’t care enough as long as he gets paid.

    Maybe we should change the word for the context it’s being used. Perhaps, “bandwagon bitches”, or the “headless horsemen” or “piggy-backers”.
    “Ring-chasers” for me, isn’t a bad thing. It means you are aiming for the top. Hell, Kobe has 5 and he’s still a “ring chaser”.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    It wasn’t like Willis and Richmond had plenty of offers coming in at that stage of their careers and were turning down bigger roles to play for the Spurs and Lakers. It’s unfair to list those guys.

  • karizmatic

    Willis also signed with Dallas the year they led the NBA in wins and lost in the first round to Golden State. That was an epic fail.

  • vince

    Jay, I’m talking about #3, Willis, not the poster. Wanna read #5?? Looks like you’re waaaayyy off bud. ;)

  • http://SoulChorea.com Kermit The Washington

    @ JAY:

    In this context, “ring-chasing” is being used the same as “contender-hopping”.

    If someone is contender-hopping, and comes out and SAYS PUBLICLY that they will ONLY play on a contending team, then to me, that’s the equivalent of saying “I will make a minimal difference on the next team I play for. I ultimately just want to link up with a squad that already has a pretty good chance of getting a ring without me.” WTH is THAT?! I hate that crap so much. It’s one thing to DO it, and another entirely to come out publicly and SAY it. UGH

  • s.bucketz

    GP gotta be #1 on this list on his own…after the lakers lost the squirrel shootin mailman hung it up but GP kept followin shaq around until he finally got that ring

  • http://www.chocolateearth.com ChocolateEarth

    I’m with Jay on this one. Isn’t everyone who’s playing for a championship a “ring-chaser”? If so, why is that a bad thing?

  • iannyb

    Coming from a huge Laker fan, Ron Artest & most recently Matt Barnes & Theo Ratliff because my Lakers gon threepeat.

  • Detroit Dave

    I don’t think you can call GP and Malone ring chasers. They went to good teams to become valuable pieces to the puzzle. If Karl Malone would have signed with the Clippers or Hawks back in 2004 the media would be saying he is just chasing stats and doesn’t want to win. When superstar get old why is it wrong for them to swallow their ego and accept a role as an everyday player.

    I see it really as a drop in the chain of command.

    Superstar>Star>Role Player>12th Man> 10 Day Contract> Bankrupt

  • Detroit Dave

    And by the Way…..In theory aren’t the 350 plus employed players ring chasers.. That’s what the hell their supposed to do. I’d rather chase rings than chase the lottery.


    Sometimes its just a sign that a player has a pretty firm grip on reality and realise that they dont have much left to give but know that if a team only needs them for 10 minutes a game then what they offer could be invaluable.
    sometimes they might just think “fuckit, ive worked hard my whole career, got nothing left to prove, i just want to enjoy the game”
    sometimes its not about actualy winning the ring but just playing on a good team.

    Big Z is an example of one this year, but what do you think he cares about more, wining a meaningless title or playing with his friend?

    @ Jay, can i join your blog, sounds fun, maybe you could get yahoo and the complex media network to give you a whole bunch of products and events to shamelessly plug in poorly masked “articles”

  • LakeShow84

    “Chase rings? In these cases I would mind being called a ring chaser…. better than being a Vince Carter who doesn’t care enough as long as he gets paid.”


    Good shit JAY.. even though you have single handedly ruined Rey Jefferson’s article lol

    LMAO @ Detroit Daves chain of command.. sounds about right lol

  • LakeShow84

    @ LMNOP

    Big Z is just d#$k riding Lebron..

    Tryna soak in as much hip hop culture as he can..

    For really lol

  • AZ

    if GP and Mailman are on top….where the hell is Robert Horry..Dude should be number one. 7 rings and the guy stats never really compared to gp and Mailman stats on the lakers. Forget the all star status

  • LABaller

    you know it sucks that one of the most consistent people in terms of lack of injuries goes basically didn’t get that chip cause of an injury..

    malone’s shoulder being f’ed up meant that arguable the best person on that pistons squad, sheed, was being guarded by the great slava medvedenko hahah..

    but in reality..never liked malone anyway..wasn’t he one of the major reasons magic retired?

    eh..im torn on the ring chaser thing..if its blatant that you’re getting on a squad to be a 15th man and not really even play but get yourself a ring..thats more of a ring chaser..

    someone like malone/GP..they started for the lakers and played heavy minutes..they were a huge part of the succes and ultimately the reason (malone’s injury) for their failure..so can u really say they were “chasing rings”…i think mentioning people like richmond and willis, to me at least, makes more sense in terms of chasing rings but bringing nothing really to the table..make sense?

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    @Lakeshow: “Tryna soak in as much hip hop culture as he can.. ”
    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! I’d kill to see Z up-rock. LOL!! His name is kinda hip hop… Ill ‘Gauskus.

    “Good shit JAY.. even though you have single handedly ruined Rey Jefferson’s article lol”
    My bad. LOL! It doesn’t matter what our opinions are. Even though we all unanimously agree the term “ring chaser” isn’t negative, Dime will continue to use it. Like the new name they were trying to christen Big Baby with. Gooch is fukkin ridiculous.
    Piggybacker, IMO, fits better.

    @LMNOP: “can i join your blog, sounds fun, maybe you could get yahoo and the complex media network to give you a whole bunch of products and events to shamelessly plug in poorly masked “articles””
    LMAOOoOoooOoOO!!!! Nice not-so-hidden cheap shot. HAHA!


  • Jon

    Ring chaser in this since has a clearly negative connotation. It essence it is saying instead of using your clear talents as either a superstar or a role-player, you take less money and ship your sorry butt to the team with the best chance to win that will take you.

  • K Dizzle

    @ Rey

    I thought Marbury DIDN’T wanna play with Miami. Thought I heard he was talkin down on em.

    Second, I’m not feelin GP and the Mailman as ringchasers. Past their prime, sure, but when you start on a squad that gets to the Finals and Malone’s injury destroyed that squad, it’s not chasing. Need to differentiate between dudes still effective and trying to win a ring and then the Morrisons and Scalabrinis who get a ring, but never actually play. GP and Malone woulda started for any other team in the l, and if they weren’t the 3rd and 4th options in LA, woulda still been all-stars just on name recognition alone

  • Big T

    Isn’t the object of the NBA to win a championship at the end of the day? If I’m an NBA player, I’m signing up with the best squad to win a chip… end of story.

  • SWAT

    @JAY lmao-man give the rooks a chance before you kill their article!
    at the dude who mentioned rob horry above-i dont think he fits in this. dude was a killer in the crunch-big shot rob. plus he stayed with teams for years and didnt really jump around-he only played for like 4 teams (htown, pho, LA, and san an) his whole career. Q rich did more than tht alone this summer.

  • Ian

    willis shouldnt be on the list.

    of the ringless superstars reggie is my fav because of that.

  • SWAT

    and K dizzle makes a point-what about the “Morrisons” winning chips but not doing a damn thing?!? Can we call that “roachin'” ? as in : (announcer voice)”Here are your 2009-2010 NBA champs-and…Adam Morrison-wit yo’ roachin ass-Get up here!” (crowd cheers)lol. something like tht.

  • http://www.nba.com Justin

    So with this article, you’re implying that ring chasing is a bad thing? Players are supposed to stick to their oversized egos and try to lead teams to championships even in their twilight years and hope that, despite the fact that the right team was never put around them, it would magically all fit together within the next few years?

    I don’t see why a ring-chaser has such a bad connotation… I look at it as former stars sucking up their pride and deciding to take lesser roles for the sake of WINNING, which is what competitive sports should really be about.

    If you all really think about it, and you’re in the league and your HoF career is coming close to an end, ringless, you would choose to a 40-win team over a 60-win team if it meant you get the ball more?

  • BiG_RoB_n_Cali

    I guess a ring chaser is someone who been labeled washed up cause in that case Ron Ron should be listed too

  • qwerty

    question. whats worse: being an old washed up superstar, realizing it, and joing a good team to be a role player and do damage as a team…or being an old washed up superstar and not realizing it and pissing your career away with a mid level franchise? its bout the w’s baby! Even though a guy like ai is in my top 5 all time fav’s i still respect what gp and malone did as their careers were ending as opposed to what ai did.

  • sh!tfaced

    John Salley was a big-time ring chaser back in the day. Piggy backed with the MJ’s Bulls and Shaq’s Lakers…

  • bobby stew

    Steve Smith with the Spurs

  • K Dizzle

    LMAO @ “roachin”

    that’s gold

  • Stunnaboy09

    @JAY that list better include me bro ;)

    Aint nothing wrong with going for a ring. If you can’t win one in your prime why not go for one when your bout to retire. Or you’d rather they pull an AI and bitch about playing time and go to shit squads.

  • ab_40

    steve f’in francis haha give me a break. Lil penny too coming out of retirement.. penny maybe. francis isn’t a good fit anywhere

  • the truth

    I love how you say ring chaser like it’s a bad thing. What’s Kobe? What was Jordan? f*cking ring chasers

  • flegman

    to call a guy with 4 rings a ring chaser is stupid.

    btw Payton was essential for the champ Heat, not like a 12th benchwarmer.

    this article is stupid

  • kennypayne

    what about PJ brown and sam cassell the year boston won the title

  • YO SWillaz

    Sam Cassell had two titles with Houston before he hooped with Boston…maybe P.J…but Karl Malone is not a ring chaser..he wouldve had one if he hadn’t been hurt agaisnt Detroit…nothing is guaranteed anyway just cause your a former all star and jump on a team where u are now the 9th or tenth best man on a team.. thats smart..hell we have all hooped and jumped on the stacked squad and still lost….

  • Ria

    Lol! I wish there were more. This was a good one though.

    By the way, for a while I was trying to remember who Kevin Willis was when it all came back to me and I have to say that i didn’t realize he could be what anyone will call a ring chaser.

    I guess, they’re all wishing they were Robert Horry, the guy the ring chases. Haha.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Isn’t it sad that Adam Morrison has more rings than most of the future Hall of Famers that play in the league today?

  • Skeez

    Where is Jason Williams, Ron Artest, Spree, hell even KG??? (dude didnt want anything to do w/ Boston until they got Jesus) they’re all ring chasers by this definition. I dont see what the big deal is, Barkley, Ewing, Malone, all HOF’s and all chased rings.

  • Sweet English

    Doth mine eyes decieve me?

    ‘July 31st, 2010 at 11:52 am

    the truth says:

    I love how you say ring chaser like it’s a bad thing. What’s Kobe? What was Jordan? f*cking ring chasers’

    11.52 on july the 31st. The day i lost all faith in mankind.

    Michael Jordan. Ring Chaser.

    I died a little inside….

  • str8ganksta

    pippen to houston.

    barkley to houston.

    rodman to lakers.

    ‘Sheed to C’s.