NBA / May 18, 2011 / 5:00 pm

The 10 Greatest NBA Players With No Championship Jewelry

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson, Dime #6

Dirk Nowitzki‘s scalding destruction of the Thunder last night was one of the best shooting performances in NBA history. It was so good, Dirk had people suddenly vaulting him into the discussion with the best players ever. While Nowitzki will ultimately be considered one of the 20 best players in the game’s history, he needs a capper. He needs that ring. That way when he walks into a room, Barkley and Malone and Reggie all have to shut up. Amazing right?

Does he get it this year? It might be the last time he ever gets this close as the general of a team. For now, not including Dirk, here are the 10 best players ever who have no jewelry to show for their overall awesomeness.

Besides Dirk, I left some players out who ran all over the ABA (Artis Gilmore) for much of their career, guys who are still active and young (LeBron James) and even one player who is slightly overrated (Reggie Miller).

If he never wins a ring, where would Dirk fall on this list?

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10. Adrian Dantley
No one had worse luck than Dantley. He basically got screwed out of two championships (leaving both teams just before they won it all), one with the Pistons and one early in his career with the Lakers. He also missed out on another title with Detroit by one game in 1988. True, some of it was his fault. He wasn’t the easiest guy to play with. But he twice led the league in scoring at over 30 a game, was a six-time All-Star, won the Rookie of the Year and put up some wild postseason lines (like the 32, eight and four he averaged in 1984). If you want to talk career numbers, check these out: 24.3 ppg, 54 percent from the field, 82 percent from the line. Machine.

9. Alex English
English had a run in 1985 with Denver to the Western Conference Finals. They couldn’t beat the Lakers that year, but it wasn’t English’s fault. The dude went for over 30 points and nearly seven rebounds and five assists a game during that 15-game sprint. In a career that spanned eight All-Star games and three years on the All-NBA Second Team, English never got any closer to winning it all.

8. George Gervin
One of the game’s all-time great players to never play in a NBA Finals. Gervin averaged 27 a night for his playoff career, and had a few playoff seasons where he dropped well over 30 points a game. The Ice Man lost two straight years in the conference finals to the Lakers during the early 1980’s, and was one game away from the Finals in 1979, before losing on the road in Washington by just two.

7. Dominique Wilkins
In the 1980’s, ‘Nique and Atlanta weren’t friends with the playoffs. They were solid, and Wilkins was perhaps the third-best offensive player in that decade. But the teams they had were stuck in neutral, first-round fodder nearly every season. Historically, Wilkins had one of the worst postseason careers ever if judging by wins. He won just three playoff series for his entire career. But, ‘Nique gets extra points for his second round Game 7 duel with Larry Bird in 1988 (the closest he ever came to a title).

6. Patrick Ewing
Ewing probably still watches old MJ tapes, weeping when they show the baseline dunk, shaking his head when he sees the blown 2-0 series lead and balling when he realizes the terrible timing he had. Ewing had a run in the 1990’s with nine consecutive seasons averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds. Every year was going to be the year New York finally won it all. It never happened. A big man who could shoot, finish inside and set records for most amount of perspiration created? It still doesn’t make any sense how they never won.

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  • Jonathan

    Fascinating that all of these guys are known for their offense and generally their lack of defense… Stockton is really the only one on this list who isn’t predominately a powerhouse scoring machine.

  • deezy

    no j kidd or reggie miller???

  • Wonil

    how could you say reggie is overrated when he was the best player on one of the top teams from the 90s? reggie’s 98 pacers team i believe is the only (if not one of a select few) teams that took jordan’s bulls to the limit in the playoffs. he also beat patrick ewing many times in the playoffs, who you have on that list (in fact, you could even argue that the knicks played better without ewing). stats and all-star selections aren’t everything.


    The GOAT annual whooping boys — jordanstopper, Mark Price, Brad Daughterty, Hot Rod Williams and Craig Ehlo.

  • beiber newz

    j kidd is still playing, we dont have the answer to that number 2…

  • M Intellect

    Dirk Nowitski is not Top 20 all-time. Here’s 20 clear reasons…

    1. MJ
    2. Kobe
    3. Tim Duncan
    4. Karl Malone
    5. Hakeem Olajuwon
    6. David Robinson
    7. Charles Barkley
    8. Scottie Pippen
    9. Shaq
    10. Wilt
    11. Larry Bird
    12. Magic Johnson
    13. Isiah Thomas
    14. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
    15. Bill Russell
    16. Moses Malone
    17. Dr.J
    18. Jerry West
    19. Oscar Robertson

    Whoa – Tried to list 20 that are clearly better, struggled tried to research and then realised Dirk been All-NBA for 10 years?! Dude is consistent!

  • Me

    well, what could reggie do other than shoot? i loved the guy but realistically, maybe he was overrated. Never stopped to consider it until it was brought up here.

    and looking at that top 20 list…..maybe Dirk IS in the top 20. There’s a few names on there i’d put below him.

    Dr. J.
    Pip (Maybe)

    I’d even have to take a closer look at Robinson and Malone’s numbers.

    And even though his career was tope 20, I cringe every time I have to see Shaq’s fat, lazy ass on a top anything list. For all he did, he’d still be on my top 10 underacheiver list. He could have been so much more if he actually tried to learn about basketball.

  • Big Hook

    That top 20 list is not in any particular order right? I have a hard time believing Hakeem, Shaq, Kareem , Wilt and Russell is below Duncan…

  • Chaos

    still gotta include Baylor in that list bruh.

  • matt

    My top ten players of all time(in no specific order): TD, Shaq, MJ, Kobe, Magic, Bird, Wilt, Russell, Kareem, Hakeem.

  • https://www.sportsbetting.com.au/basketball_betting dcyrilcasa

    No Penny Hardaway?

  • earlpee


  • http://dimemag.com Celts Fan

    @matt. Should be everyones top 10

    @M Intellect gotta put KG, Elgin, and George Mikan on that list before we even entertain Dirk. And id still take McHale over him too (GODLY post scorer, great defender, 3x champ)

    @me – Pips def better than Dirk, Zekes no question either, you could argue about the Dr (kinda overrated as a player, but a VITAL piece to the evolution of the game. Def top 20, not top 10.theres no MJ without the Dr – and elgin and david tompson – before him.)

  • Nyeme

    Clyde’s not on that list either, so that’s another notch down. I’d rank GP above Dirk as well, Elgin Baylor, Kidd…maybe Havlicek.

    @1 – Stockton, Malone & Ewing were all known for defense as well. They were 2-Way players, Barkley 1.5-Way

  • http://dimemag.com Celts Fan

    @matt – we forgot Oscar. Think we gotta bump Hakeem to 11

  • Brown

    Dirk’s nuts must be real heavy right now. Everyone and their dog are jumping on them.

    Dirk has had one of the most consistent careers in recent memory, but for all the numbers he’s put up, there’s NO WAY he cracks the top 20 of all time. WTF are you smokin?

    No matter who’s on that top 20 list, Dirk will forever be on the outside looking in, whether he wins a ring or not.

  • Edgar Allan Poe

    Wtf!!!! M Intellect thinks No Tippin Pippen is better than the Dirk Nowitzki!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Celts Fan

    @Edgar Allan Poe – cuz he is better than Dirk. No question at all. NONE

  • doc

    Them old ass players like Mikan was trash.Look at the classic footage.Bob Cousy dribble like a 10 year old.

  • Ian

    big hook
    lol you had a problem with td there but ok with kobe at 2??
    and of course those arent in order.

    for those that like to hang on to really old players like russell yeah he is top ten duh but if he plays today hes ben wallace in his prime.

    iverson over gervin and even the overrated ewing (thats the reason they never won he wasnt that great. robinson , hakeem and shaq won everything in the nba what did ewing win??)?? dont think so. nash is top 10 imo. btw wasnt karl malone the sidekick?

    really you have to look at the admirals numbers to see if he was better than dirk?? when did you start watching the nba in 03?? go take a look at malones and the admirals (monster at both ends) other than 3point percentage there no comparisons.

    that one is debatable i give the edge to pip.

    i like it but id give kobes spot to oscar theres no way i can pick kobe over the dream.

    thank you. id take the admiral/dream/shaq over russell/wilt/jabbar anyday to play today.

    MY top ten no order

    russell (because he won 11 times dont really like him)

    to round it out to 15
    the admiral kobe west pettite moses

  • http://www.twitter.com/tootalented21 Talented

    where would melo rank? dwight?