If you’re an NBA fan or even if you’ve only heard of basketball once, you know that there’s absolutely nobody better at this sport than his royal Airness, Michael Jordan, the ultimate athlete and greatest competitor in the history of the Association.
There’s absolutely no denying Jordan’s greatness, as the shooting guard out of North Carolina took the world for assault and took this beautiful sport to every single corner and frontier of the globe, making it the most popular league in competitive basketball.
And one of the things that made Jordan the god he was, is the fact that he had to win his 6 rings against the best players this sport has ever seen, although that obviously meant that some great ballers were left off in the shadows to let Jordan shine.
So, today we’re going to talk about the top 10 players that were never able to win an NBA ring because of Michael Jordan and his historic Chicago Bulls.
10. Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway was an extremely talented point guard and a fierce scorer, way more athletic and talented that his son, who currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks. His prime came as a member of the Miami Heat, where he was one of the MVP frontrunners playing alongside Alonzo Mourning.
Still, he wasn’t able to win the championship despite his averages of 17.7 points and 8.2 assists, as well as his 5 All-Star appearances.
9. Penny Hardaway
On the other hand, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway (who’s not related to Tim) was yet another victim of the Bulls, as the shooting guard was never able to shake off Jordan’s dominance as a member of the Orlando Magic when Phil Jackson and his boys won their second threepeat.
Nonetheless, the Olympic medalist still averaged 15.2 points, 4.5 boards and 5 helpers per contest, as well as making it to 4 All-Star games.
8. Dikembe Mutombo
Mutombo is, alongside Ben Wallace, the only player in NBA history to win 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards, being remembered for his emphatic blocks and his ‘NOT IN MY HOUSE’ finger wag. Averaging just under 10 points, 10.3 boards and 2.8 swats per night, Mutombo led the league in blocks in 3 different seasons, as well as making 8 All-Star appearances and recording 3289 career blocks, trailing only Hakeem Olajuwon on the all-time list.
However, Dikembe was never able to win a championship, and MJ gave him a night to remember with an impressive poster dunk over him.
7. Chris Mullin
Mullin was one of Hardaway’s teammates during the Run TMC era, as well as being yet another member of the original USA Dream Team. With averages of 18.2 points, 4.1 boards and 3.5 helpers per night, Chris was one of the most dominant shooting guards in the NBA during his prime, and perhaps he would be the best if it wasn’t for – guess who?- Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
6. Shawn Kemp
Before struggling with drugs and money, Kemp was a complete beast through his entire career, averaging 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists on over 48% from the field, being one of the most explosive dunkers and physical players the league has ever seen.
In fact, he was pretty close to being traded for Scottie Pippen, and he’d definitely have won a title if the move had gone down, but as it didn’t, he was yet another great member of the Seattle Supersonics that retired without any jewelry.
5. Reggie Miller
Through most of his career, Reggie Miller didn’t have much of a supporting cast alongside him on the Indiana Pacers, although that didn’t slow him down, being one of the fiercest competitors and harshest trash talkers in the NBA, as well as becoming arguably the first really steady and reliable three-point shooter in NBA history.
Sadly, the Hall of Famer and “Knicks Killer” wasn’t able to lead his Pacers to the promised land, although he did win an Olympic medal replacing… MICHAEL JORDAN in the 1996 Olympic games.
4. Patrick Ewing
Ewing was yet another player that had to settle for an Olympic medal because Jordan played in the very same time he did, as the Georgetown legend and best player in Knicks history had absolutely no chance in the East while the Bulls were in business.
Although, the Jamaican forward/center left some pretty nice averages of 21 points and 9.8 boards, as well as winning the Rookie of the Year award and making it to 11 All-Star games.
3. John Stockton
Stockton was one of MJ’s favorite victims, losing back-to-back Finals against the Bulls despite being probably the best point guard in the history of the game. Stockton led the league in assists in 9 different seasons and averaged over 10 helpers per night to go along with 2.2 steals and 13.2 points, and he’s the all-time leader in assists thanks to his 15,806 helpers over 18 years, but there’s one thing he’s not, and that’s an NBA champion.
2. Charles Barkley
Chuck is yet another victim of the Bulls, and although he was pretty competitive through his entire career with the Sixers, Suns and Rockets, the polarizing power forward couldn’t live up to his trash talking while winning a Championship. Still, we don’t have to remind you how much of a dominant player Barkley was on both ends of the floor, even if most of his defenders were significantly taller than him.
1. Karl Malone
And of course, our list ends with probably the best power forward in the history of the game, THE MAILMAN. Just like Stockton, Malone lost in back-to-back NBA Finals against Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman and… Michael Jordan, and even if he wound up leaving to the Lakers in a final run at an NBA championship, that disastrous “fab four” team didn’t even reach the Finals.
Karl Malone won 2 Olympic medals, became the leading scorer in Jazz history, won a couple of MVPs and made it to 13 All-Star Games thanks to his averages of 25 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game through 18 seasons.