The NBA has seen a lot of incredible talents go through their ranks in history, but more often than not, the surge of a brand new dominant star prevents them from reaching the highest distinctions in the association.
Some of those guys get constantly snubbed in history due to their lack of playoff success or rings, while others get the spot they deserve in the rankings but still lack silverware that defines them as part of basketball elite.
So today, we’ll honor these guys listing the top 10 players that despite being dominant, talented and hall of famers, never manage to win the Most Valuable Player award through their entire career.
Honorable Mention: Paul Pierce, Dominique Wilkins, Jason Kidd, Dominique Wilkins
10. Clyde Drexler
Drexler is arguably one of the most underrated players in the history of the association, being known as the best player in Portland Trail Blazer history but struggling to take them to the next level as he had to fight against Michael Jordan for the ring.
Still, Drexler managed to seal his career with an NBA Championship playing alongside Hakeem Olajuwon, but he was never able to win the highest distinction in the league due to the other incredible talents featured in the league at the time.
9. Rick Barry
Barry was one of the most dominant and prolific scorers during his prime, making it to 12 All-Star games, winning a championship with his respective Finals MVP and even winning the rookie of the year distinction during the 66 campaign.
Still, the Hall of Famer was never able to win the MVP award despite averaging 24.8 points, 6.7 boards and 4.9 dimes per game through a very successful 14-year career between the NBA and the ABA, being arguably the best player in Warriors history.
8. George Gervin
Gervin has been a huge inspiration for some of the young talents we’ve seen nowadays, as the Iceman was one of the most versatile offensive weapons the ABA and the early NBA had ever seen with his ability to consistently score from everywhere on the floor.
Still, the 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer was never able to get some playoff success with the Spurs nor the Bulls, retiring without a ring but leaving career averages of 25.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
7. Chris Paul
The Wake Forest product has always been on basketball elite since reaching the Association, being the ultimate leader of that lousy New Orleans squad that constantly struggled come playoff time and now trying to lead the Clippers to their first ever NBA Finals.
Still, despite being constantly on the top 5 in the league in both steals and assists per game while being one of the most dominant guards in the league, the point God hasn’t been taking into notice into the MVP conversation due to the LeBron’s, Duncan’s and Kawhi’s.
6. Elvin Hayes
Known as one of the most dominant rebounders and defenders of his prime, the 1978 NBA Champion struggled to replicate that success with the Bullets later but still had amazing runs on a personal level that never helped them win the MVP award.
Averaging 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds to go along with 1 steal and 2 blocks per game, Hayes was a complete beast in both ends of the court and manage to make 2 All-Defensive team appearances, but that was never enough to get him into the MVP conversation.
5. John Stockton
Stockton is probably the best point guard in the history of the game due to his pass-first mentality, great basketball IQ and his craftiness in opposing passing lanes, being one of the most dominant players in the league during his prime.
Still, playing behind Karl Malone, the Mailman got most of the headlines and let Stockton on an island come MVP discussion time, so Stockton had to settle with watching his long-time teammate win the award.
4. John Havlicek
Havlicek Is definitely one of the greatest two-way players in the history of the game with his ability to get in the face of the most gifted ball handlers while also pouring over 15 buckets per game on any given night.
In fact, the Celtics wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as they were if it wasn’t for Havlicek’s help, as the 8-time champion also made 8 All-Defensive appearances with 1 Finals MVP and over 20 points, 6 boards and 4 helpers per game.
3. Isiah Thomas
Just like Chris Paul, Thomas was a very undersized, yet strong competitor that could lock down opposing point guards while also serving over 10 dimes per contest, leading the Detroit Pistons to a couple of championships during the bad boy era.
Still, and being remembered as one of the league’s best historic point guards and a very dominant player on both ends of the court, he had to settle with 12 All-Star appearances and 1 Finals MVP, never winning the regular season most valuable player distinction.
2. Elgin Baylor
Baylor was never a lucky player but damn was he good. Never being able to win a Championship due to the Celtics’ dominance, he was forced to retire at age 37 with nothing more than one All-Star MVP under his belt.
Still, Baylor will go down as one of the greatest players in Lakers history, leaving career averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists at the small forward spot, winning the Rookie of the Year and entering the Hall of Fame, but never winning the MVP award.
1. Jerry West
And last but not least, we got the logo himself, a guy that was as talented and dominant as he’s been influential in the world of basketball from the very first day he decided to retire, leaving career averages of 27 points, 5.8 boards and 6.7 assists per game at both guard spots.
Still, West made it to 14 All-Stars, won 1 Finals MVP despite being on the losing team (the only player in history to do so) and win a championship with his beloved Lakers, but he was never able to shake off other guys’ dominance in the regular season’s Most Valuable Player race.