The NBA is filled to the brim with exceptional talent, featuring some of the world’s best athletes. All these players come in with the same goal: to win an NBA title, to conquer arguably the best basketball competition in the world.
Unfortunately, not everyone reaches that goal in their career. Sometimes, injuries get in the way or there is just one piece missing from the perfect championship team, and sometimes the competition is just too good.
Many NBA players get overlooked by casual sports fans if they do not have a title on their resume, but real basketball fans know how to appreciate pure talent even if it comes without a ring. So, let’s look at some of the most dominant players who never won a championship.
NBA Player #5: Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing played from 1985 to 2002, spending his first 15 seasons with the New York Knicks. Over that time, he established himself as one of the best centers of his time.
Ewing was a highly touted prospect once his family moved from Jamaica to the U.S. in 1975 and he picked up basketball. Ten years later, in 1985, he was the number one pick in the NBA Draft, won Rookie of the Year, and never slowed down. Over his 17 seasons in the NBA, he was an All-Star eleven times, made the 1990 All-NBA First Team, six All-NBA Second Teams, and three All-Defensive Second Teams, with career averages of 21 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 1 steal per game.
In light of that, the Knicks retired his number 33, and he was part of both the 50th and the 75th anniversary teams. As one of the top centers of his generation, Ewing got to play for Team USA in international competitions, winning gold medals in 1984 and 1992. By now, Ewing is a two-time Hall of Famer, being inducted for his individual career as well as for his run with the Dream Team.
The one thing missing from his resume, however, is a championship. That is not due to a lack of effort. Ewing played in 139 playoff games over his career, averaging 20.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2.2 blocks. He also made it to the Finals twice in 1994 and 1998 with the Knicks. Both times his squad had to battle tough competition just to get there but the Knicks eventually fell to the Rockets and the Spurs.
Especially the first time around Ewing put up quite a fight against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets. With 30 blocks, Ewing set a record for most blocked shots in a finals series that wasn’t broken until 2003 by Tim Duncan. He also set the record for most blocks in a game in that series with 8, which Dwight Howard eventually broke in 2009.
Despite his best efforts, Ewing and the Knicks never won a championship. Now, he is remembered as one of the best players who never won a championship.
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