Winning a championship in the NBA is more important to an individual player's legacy than it is in any other sport. It's the reason so many guys with Hall of Fame credentials end up chasing a ring near the end of their careers, and it's a reason the lifetime achievements of certain players are downgraded in the eyes of fans comparing greatness across multiple eras.
Here's a look at the 12 best players never to win an NBA title -- although one of them might no longer qualify for this distinction once this year's Finals are finished.
NBAE via Getty ImagesAndy Hayt
Widely recognized as one of the best point guards of his generation, Paul has led the league in assists four times in 12 NBA seasons, and is a six-time league-leader in steals. But he's never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and if he values winning over everything else, the time to make a move is now.
Paul will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, though he'd have a difficult financial decision to make if he wanted to play somewhere else. The Clippers can offer him about $52 million more than any other team on a max contract, and that's a lot to leave on the table to potentially increase the odds of winning an NBA title.
Miller was an All-Star only five times over his 18-year NBA career, but his sharp-shooting from beyond the arc and some incredible playoff heroics earned him a Hall of Fame selection in 2012.
He got only one crack at the NBA Finals, and it happened to be in 2000 against Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in their first season under Phil Jackson. Miller averaged a team-high 24.3 points per game for the series, but the Lakers took it in six.
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
Known for his high-flying dunks and consistent ability to score, Wilkins was a 9-time All-Star and 7-time All-NBA selection who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He remains the Atlanta Hawks' all-time leading scorer, but was never part of a team that made it past the second round of the playoffs.
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
An 11-time All-Star who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, Baylor was a scoring and rebounding machine for the Lakers throughout the 1960s. He made eight NBA Finals appearances, but never won a title thanks to battling Bill Russel's Boston Celtics dynasty for the better part of his career.
Ironically enough, the Lakers did win a title in the final season of Baylor's career. But knee issues forced him to retire early that season before the championship was won.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNBA Photos
Gervin was a 12-time All-Star who led the league in scoring four times on his way to a Hall of Fame induction in 1996. He never got the chance to play in the NBA Finals ... but the one thing he could do, was finger roll.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNBA Photos
Durant is a four-time scoring champion and league MVP, and has been considered one of the game's top five players for the past several seasons. He didn't make a financial sacrifice by leaving Oklahoma City for The Bay, so he gets the best of both worlds -- an opportunity to win multiple titles with a historically great core group of players, while playing on a max-level contract for years to come.
Durant has been to the Finals just once before this season, losing to LeBron James and the rest of the Heatles in 2012. He'll get a chance at revenge -- and his first-ever NBA title -- when the Finals begin June 1.
Ewing played in a golden age for big men in the NBA, and he was undoubtedly one of the best of his time. He only had one real chance to win a title in 1994, but went up against Hakeem Olajuwon in a series his Knicks lost in seven games.
New York got back in 1999 only to fall to the Spurs in five after a lockout-shortened season, but Ewing was lost to an Achilles injury in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals that year, and was unable to participate in the championship round.
Nash is a two-time MVP who was one of the most accurate shooters in NBA history. He helped usher in a revolutionary brand of basketball playing for Mike D'Antoni and the "Seven Seconds or Less" Suns, and made four conference finals appearances (three with Phoenix, one with Dallas) but never got the chance to play for a title.
Fun fact: The last of Nash's trips to the conference finals came in 2010 -- and Phoenix hasn't made the playoffs since.
Iverson's cultural importance went far beyond the game of basketball, but the diminutive point guard made the Hall of Fame thanks to his incredible on-court performances.
An 11-time All-Star and the 2001 league MVP, Iverson only got one chance to play for a title. Unfortunately, it came against a Lakers team in '01 that was so stacked it lost only one game on its way to the title -- this one, where Iverson's famous step over Tyronn Lue put the exclamation point on a Game 1 win for the Sixers.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Barkley takes perhaps the most heat for not finishing his Hall of Fame career with a ring, likely for two reasons. First, his outspoken television personality makes him an easy target. And second, he was one of those aforementioned ring chasers when he joined Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in Houston to try to grab a title before his career was finished.
His Hall of Fame credentials are untouchable, but the lack of a ring likely still haunts Barkley to this day -- probably because Shaquille O'Neal keeps bringing it up on national television anytime he gets the chance.
NBAE/Getty ImagesDick Raphael
Stockton played 19 NBA seasons and led the league in assists for nine straight years from 1988-96. Not only is he the all-time leader in total assists in NBA history, but the player in second place (Jason Kidd) trails him by more than 3,700 on the list.
He made it to the Finals in both '97 and '98, but Michael Jordan was his opponent both times -- which made for a predictable and unfortunate result.
Malone was a 14-time All-Star who played 19 NBA seasons and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. He's second on the all-time career scoring list with 36,928 (behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he and Stockton made for one of the most consistent tandems in league history).
Malone made it to the Finals twice with the Utah Jazz, losing to Michael Jordan's Bulls in both '97 and '98. He tried to chase a ring in his final NBA season with the Lakers in 2004, but a star-studded L.A. squad that included Malone, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Gary Payton was upset by the Detroit Pistons in a series that lasted just five games.