Ranked! Who are the best NBA players without NBA rings?

Ranked! Who are the best NBA players without NBA rings?

Lewis Injai
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Since the 1980s and the advent of the modern NBA era, more and more, a player’s legacy is pegged on the number of championship rings he has. At the same time, it is near possible to have a great NBA career without having a single ring. Being a ringless NBA superstar can have a detrimental effect on your career and legacy. So, who are the best NBA players without rings? Today we will discuss that, so stick around till the end.

Best NBA players without NBA rings
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

If championship rings were given to every exceptional player, almost everyone we are about to name would have it. It goes without saying that winning a championship is a collective team effort. Most of the players on our list deserve a ring due to their exceptional skills and talent but somehow fell short of this feat for some reason. Without further ado, let us rank some of the best NBA players without championship rings.

Who are the best NBA players without rings?

We have compiled a list of the top 10 best NBA players without rings based on credible publications. The list below is based on career achievements, statics, advanced metrics and overall popularity. It is not based on any category and contains both active and retired NBA players without rings.

10. James Harden

This is probably the first name that comes into mind when we talk about players without rings. Despite being named 2018 NBA’s Most Valuable player, being a ten-times NBA All-Star, earning a seven-times ALL NBA-Team honours seven times, including six first-team and having over 101 games with 40 points. Yet, James Harden has never had a taste of the NBA championship.

Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!

famous NBA players without rings
James Harden throws a free throw during Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Raptors on 23 April 2022. Photo: Cole Burston
Source: Getty Images

In his career, there was a time he had one chance at securing the ring, but it slipped away. In 2012, while he was the shooting guard for Oklahoma City Thunder, the team did reach the NBA Championship finals but lost to the Miami heat.

9. Steve Nash

Currently serving as the Brooklyn Nets coach, this Canadian had a 19-year NBA career that saw him become NBA’s Most Valuable Player twice. He became an eight-time NBA All-Star, and was named to the ALL-NBA team seven times while playing for the Phoenix Suns.

He moved to LA Lakers, where his play was dominated by injuries that affected his play form, and he eventually retired in 2015 thus killing any hopes of him ever getting a ring as a player.

Retired NBA players without rings
Steve Nash settled into a coaching role after his playing days were over. He is currently the coach of the Brooklyn nets. Photo: Todd Kirkland
Source: Getty Images

In 2017, years after retiring, he finally received his much-awaited ring but in an unexpected way. The ring was awarded to him for services as a development consultant for the Golden State Warriors when they won the NBA Championship.

8. Chris Paul -CP3

Like our previous player Steve Nash, Chris Paul’s 17 years of playoffs in the NBA were filled with letdowns, tough competition in the NBA’s Western Conference and injuries despite being a great player.

He is widely regarded as one of the best point guards of all time and has won numerous awards, including NBA Rookie of the year, NBA All-Star Game MVP, and two Olympic Gold medals.

Oldest NBA players without rings
Chris Paul has come to take somewhat of a veteran role in the NBA and is currently leading the Phoenix Suns to great points. Photo: Jonathan Bachman
Source: Getty Images

Chris Paul and his fans remain hopeful of finally getting a championship career with his current team Arizona Phoenix Suns.

7. Reggie Miller

Known for his three-point shooting, which earned him the nickname Knick Killer, Reggie Miller is a perfect example of a good player without a ring. He was always the player to watch in his 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers.

NBA players that don't have a ring
Reggie Miller during NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on 9 June 2000. Photo: Sporting News
Source: Getty Images

At his retirement in 2007, Reggie held the record for the most career goals made. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 and named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

6. Elgin Baylor

Elgin was one of the most underlooked NBA superstars. This stems from the fact that he played before widespread television exposure and the only records that exist of his prowess are of those who witnessed him. He is credited for setting a precedent for some of the things we know of today in modern basketball.

Oldest NBA players without rings- Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor poses with the ball in 1965. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Elgin Baylor is also known for flipping the fate of the LA Lakers from the worst team in the NBA to the finals in his rookie season. After that, he went on to have a dominant career filled with impressive accolades, with the team making 8 appearances at the final but never winning a ring.

5. John Stockton

Any basketball purist will tell you that John Stockton is the greatest point guard in NBA history. Stockton, a ten-time NBA Star who holds the record for the most career assist and steals in the league's history, played for the Utah Jazz for 19 seasons.

NBA players without championship rings
John Stockton with the ball during an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Photo: Matt A. Brown
Source: Getty Images

Together with his longtime teammate Karl Malone, they formed a formidable duo and were solely responsible for leading the Utah Jazz into two NBA finals in 1997 and 1998. On both occasions, they met the Chicago Bulls, a much stronger team consisting of the likes of Michael Jordan.

4. Patrick Ewing

Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal and many more stars have all cited Patrick Ewing as their source of inspiration. He is considered one of the greatest centres in NBA history and the greatest player of all time for the New York Knicks despite never winning a championship.

Retired NBA players without rings
Patrick Ewing was the dominant player for the New York Knicks in the 1990s. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Patrick played as a centre for the New York Knicks at a time when there was a lot of strong competition in the Eastern Conference, especially from dominating teams like the Chicago Bulls. They did reach the NBA Finals twice in 1994 and 1999, meeting the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls, but they did not win in any of the matches.

3. Charles Barkley

Nowadays, Charles Barkley is much known for his Analyst role at TNT, which has somehow come to overshadow his days as a player. In his prime, Charles was one of the dominant Power-forwards in the NBA and a perfect example of a phenomenal player who did win a championship.

His vitality and a host of basketball skills saw him named NBA’s MVP twice. In 1991, he was named NBA All-Star MVP, and in 1993, and was nicknamed the Round Mound of Rebound.

Retired NBA players without rings-Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley has found success again post-retirement as a commentator. Photo: Lisa O'Connor
Source: Getty Images

Off the pitch and post-retirement, he is known to stir some controversy with his statements and has won four Sports Emmy Awards.

2. Allen Iverson

There is no telling of an NBA story without Allen Iverson or AI. He is probably one of the most influential players from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. But sadly, he never won any Championship with the four teams he played for throughout his NBA career.

NBA players without rings
Allen Iverson in a match against the Puerto Rico Senior National Team on 17 August 2003. Photo: G Fiume
Source: Getty Images

However, this three-time NBA MVP and Hall Famer was honoured as one of the greatest players in the NBA’s history by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Honorable mentions

Before we unveil our top pick, here are honorable mentions of other best NBA players without any rings.

  • Vince Carter
  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Russel Westbrook
  • Tracy McGrady
  • Adrian Dantley
  • Drazen Petrovic

1. Karl Malone

Karl currently stands at number three on the points leaderboard in all of NBA history, behind Abdul Al Jabbar together with LeBron James and is anonymously considered the greatest point-forward of all time.

NBA players without rings in the hall of fame
Karl Malone during the NBA Pacific Division basketball game on 04 January 1987. Photo: Rick Stewart
Source: Getty Images

This two-time MVP and two-time Hall of Famer had an impressive 18-year season with Utah Jazz and later one season with the LA Lakers.

At Utah Jazz, he formed a pair of a guard-forward duo with his teammate John Stockton, another great player on our list, and the two were untouchables. They are considered the greatest players combination in NBA history and credited for taking the Utah Jazz to the NBA finals twice but sadly never won.

Who are the NBA players without rings in the Hall of fame?

  • Karl Malone
  • Charles Barkley
  • Elgin Baylor
  • Chris Paul
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Reggie Miller
  • John Stockton
  • Steve Nash
  • Allen Iverson

Who is the oldest NBA player without rings?

At 40 years of age in 2022, Joe Johnson, Boston Celtics’ shooting guard, is currently the oldest active player without a ring.

That concludes our pick of some of the best and most famous NBA players without rings. Here you have learned a thing or two about these icons, which will add to your knowledge base. Who do you think deserved to be on the list that we have otherwise missed? Let us know.

READ ALSO: Who is Luka Doncic’s girlfriend? Girlfriend, net worth, social profiles

Sportbrief.com recently did a profile article on the NBA star playing for the Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic. Fresh off playing his third NBA all-star game, Luka Doncic, one of the best imports from Europe to the NBA, is currently at an all-time best in his basketball career.

But who is Luka off-pitch? They say behind every successful man; there is a woman. So, does he have a girlfriend? Find more on that here!

Lewis Injai photo
Lewis Injai