The stage is set. The players are ready. The NBA Finals are finally upon us, offering two teams the chance to achieve greatness once again. But whilst there’ll no doubt be a dose of sympathy for the team which misses out, they should still consider themselves fortunate.
Why? Because some players never make it that far.
Some of the NBA’s biggest names are yet to have their chance to win a ring, and some have missed out entirely.
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Here are five of those unlucky players…
Arguably one of the greatest scorers of his time, Bernard King once dropped 60 points in a single game but never made it to the NBA Finals.
After suffering a devastating injury to his right leg, King was robbed of his explosiveness, and after being released by New York never managed to score as effectively.
Following that, he had spells with Washington and New Jersey, but never got a chance to head to the Finals, eventually ending up 16th on the all-time scoring list with 19,655 points scored over his career.
Another Knicks player without a chance to win a ring and yet another top quality scorer. Carmelo Anthony still has an opportunity to change that but has seen his best chances fail so far.
Arguably the biggest chance for Melo came during his time with the Nuggets, when he led Denver to the Conference Finals, only to lose 4-2 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since then, he’s moved to New York and tried hard to find a route through the playoffs but to no avail.
As his twilight years approach, he could try and team up with other superstars to finally head to the promised land, if not, he might be joining the unfortunate Finals club for good.
Yet another scorer who was unable to fire his team into an NBA finals appearance, ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich never made a trip to the final series despite making the playoffs four times.
Maravich scored over 50 points six times in his career, and over 40 points 35 times, averaging 24.2ppg over his stint in the league.
However, having spent time with an underperforming New Orleans team for the better part of his career, he never quite had a shot at a ring.
The only other current player we’ve considered in our countdown, Chris Paul is arguably one of the best point guards ever to play the game of basketball. But despite making the playoffs eight times in 11 seasons, Paul has never made it to the Finals.
You could argue that this season was the year which promised the most for CP3, but injuries to Blake Griffin and himself were cruel punishment which saw the Clippers crash out in the first round.
The previous campaign also offered plenty of promise for Paul, but after ousting the Spurs in seven games, they famously collapsed to the Houston Rockets after being 3-1 up.
Like Carmelo, Paul still has a chance to change his fate, but with the Clippers ageing, time seems to be limited.
It’s hard to believe that one of the most well-known NBA players of all-time never made it to the Finals. The Human Highlight Reel is famous for his flashy dunks and explosiveness, but in spite of 10 trips to the postseason, Wilkins never had the chance to win it all.
Over his career, ‘Nique averaged just under 25ppg and was a tremendous offensive force, but the former NBA scoring champ couldn’t get the Atlanta Hawks to the Finals.
He also failed to do so with his other franchises too – leaving him without a ring or even a chance of one.