Commentary

The 30 best never to win The Big One

Updated: November 16, 2007, 9:36 AM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
The trading deadline is coming up, which means not only is trade rumor season upon us, but also trade demand season. This is usually the time when frustrated stars let it be known that they'd like to be playing for a championship instead of golfing every April.

Take Kevin Garnett, for instance. For a dozen years he's toiled in Minnesota, and yet hasn't come close to winning a championship. He's been one of the league's five best players for about a decade now, but his only taste of a playoff run came in 2003-04 when the Timberwolves made the conference finals.

Kevin Garnett
Bill Baptist/Getty ImagesWill the Big Ticket ever get a chance to play for the Big One?

In a league with 30 teams, it's hard for every good player to win a ring. Inevitably a few, such as Garnett perhaps, will see their entire careers pass without a victory parade.

In fact, KG's in quite esteemed company. In looking at this, I was surprised to realize just how many great players have failed to win the game's ultimate prize.

With all-time greats like Garnett and Steve Nash on a quest for the elusive ring, let's look at the 30 best players never to win a championship, and how they managed to fall short.

A few notes before we begin. First, I didn't consider anybody younger than 30 for this list -- players such as Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Gilbert Arenas still have plenty of time left to win a ring. Second, for those players who are still active, I considered their place on the list as though they retired today -- we can't assume future accomplishments.

Finally, because statistical data from the NBA's early days is less complete, I leaned heavily on more generic measures -- All-Star berths, All-NBA selections and MVP awards.

Keep in mind that the point of this list isn't to determine whether George Gervin was better than Dominique Wilkins; it's to point out that both fell short of the ultimate prize, much like Garnett has to date.

That said, here's one man's ranking of the 30 best never to win The Big One:


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