The NBA is arguably the most competitive and difficult league in sports since it’s creation, as it has a hard schedule, limited rosters and lots and lots of talented players and coaches, making it really hard to win the championship.
So, regardless of the great effort and outstanding performances some of the best players in the world have put together through an entire season with their teams, they’ve fallen short of the goal of becoming champions, as it takes way more than just one guy to win the ring.
Sadly, some people even tend to question a player’s legacy over the number of jewels on their fingers, but that mediocre analysis would put guys like James Jones over others like Karl Malone, and you know that would be just insane.
And now, with the MVP race really close and with the ballots closed, we could be in presence of yet another regular season MVP that doesn’t win a championship, with Russell Westbrook as one of the frontrunners to earn the honors but with his team on the verge of playoff elimination. So, let’s take a look at the top 5 MVP’s who never won an NBA Championship.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant gets a spot in this list due to his amazing talent, being an undisputed Hall of Famer, and one of the most skilled players the league has ever seen, owning one of the most developed offensive games we’ve seen while his defense has vastly improved since being drafted 2nd overall by the Seattle Supersonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
However, as KD is still an active player and has a big shot at the championship in the Golden State Warriors, we’re going to put him on hold for a while.
Barkley was one of the best players of his era since his surge with the Philadelphia 76ers, but it was with the Phoenix Suns where he reached his prime and took his game to a whole different level, with his hard-nosed style of play and even his ability to play against taller and bigger guys than him.
So, his offensive power and dominant presence made him the Most Valuable Player of the league in 1993, in his first season as a member of the Suns. Nonetheless, he could never win a championship despite his lifetime averages of 22.1 points, 11.7 boards, 3.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 3.5 blocks per game, making it to 11 All-Star Games.
25 points, 10 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2 MVPs, 13-time All-Star and the leading scorer in Utah Jazz history. Of course, we’re talking about Karl Malone, aka THE MAILMAN. Known as one of the best players to ever lace them up and one of the ultimate power forwards, playing alongside John Stockton, Malone was poised to achieve NBA stardom, but of course, he was one of Michael Jordan’s favorite victims.
So, after 18 frustrating seasons achieving personal glory but struggling and failing to get some jewelry, Malone decided to join Shaq, Kobe and Payton in LA to form the Fab Four, one of the most disappointing teams we’ve seen, retiring after 19 seasons without a championship.
There aren’t enough words to describe how much of a dominant scorer Allen Iverson was since the very first day he entered the league, and for those who didn’t see him, just imagine if Isaiah Thomas and Russell Westbrook had a son and then multiply it by 3.
Besides winning the MVP in 2001, Iverson led the league in steals 3 times and scoring in 4 different seasons, as well as making 11 All-Star appearances in 13 seasons in the NBA. On top of that, he carried his Sixers to an NBA finals, but couldn’t handle the power of the Los Angeles Lakers, having to retire without the trophy in his hands.
Some people tend to think that those couple of MVP awards the Canadian point guard won were undeserved. Well, those people are simply idiots, as Nash completely revolutionized the Point Guard position with his signature moves, his fast pace, and his great basketball IQ while also being one of the most reliable and consistent scorers in the NBA.
Sadly, he wasn’t lucky enough to seal his outstanding career with a ring after winning back to back MVPs with the Suns and being a 4-time member of the 50-40-90 club with his great percentages from the floor, despite joining Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard for a last shot at the championship.
Like Durant, Rose is still an active player, or at least he tries to be during those 2 weekly nights he’s actually able to play. Still, unlike Durant, he’s never going to be a third of the player he once was during his prime and his first season in the Association, and especially during his MVP campaign as one of the most dominant and athletic players in the league.
His great speed, his fearless attitude, and his clutchness earned him the highest personal distinction in the league, but now after dozens of injuries, his only shot at the ring is joining a competitive team like the Spurs to help off the bench and leave those days as the go-to-guy far behind him.