Rings are one way to measure greatness, but not the only way. Many NBA superstars and Hall of Famers completed their careers without a championship. Does that mean they weren't good enough? For many, it means they had the misfortune of playing during Michael Jordan's reign of terror with the Bulls. Here's our list of the top ringless stars. (Active players aren't eligible.) Honorable mention: George Gervin, Allen Iverson, Pete Maravich, Nate Thurmond, Dominique Wilkins.
He never won a title in 18 seasons with the Pacers, but Miller won't be remembered as a loser. Just ask Knicks fans. He broke their hearts in the playoffs several times, including his eight-points-in-8.9-seconds performance at the end of Game 1 of the East semis in 1995. Take that, Spike Lee! The NBA's career leader in 3-pointers (2,560), Miller reached the Finals once in 2000 (after Michael Jordan retired) only to run into Shaq and Kobe, who led the Lakers to their first of three straight titles.
An 11-time All-Star with the Knicks, Ewing was one of the most prolific scorers, rebounders and shot-blockers in NBA history. He won an NCAA title at Georgetown and Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1992. So why didn't he lead the Knicks to a championship? MJ and the Bulls knocked them out three times. When Jordan left to play baseball, the Knicks reached the Finals in 1994 but squandered a 3-2 lead against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets.
Like Ewing, Baylor was a No. 1 draft pick, the Rookie of the Year and an 11-time All-Star. Unlike Ewing, he never had to play Michael Jordan. But he may have had it even tougher since his career with the Lakers coincided with most of the Celtics' dynasty in the 1960s. Though he stood only 6-5, Baylor was a superior athlete who averaged more than 27 points and 13 rebounds in his career. Yet he couldn't win a title with Jerry West (and once with Wilt Chamberlain), losing in the Finals eight times. After retirement, he spent 22 years as the Clippers' general manager. Needless to say, that stint also ended without a ring.
You've gotta love Sir Charles, one of the game's most colorful characters and extraordinary players. Though he stood barely 6-5, he was a dominant power forward and one of only five NBA players to collect 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. Drafted the same year as Michael Jordan, his path to a title was often blocked by MJ, but he had three good chances to win one. In his rookie year, playing with Moses Malone and Dr. J on the defending champion Sixers, he lost to the Celtics in the East finals. Eight years later, after a trade to Phoenix, he won the 1993 MVP award and reached the Finals only to fall to Jordan and the Bulls in six games. In 1997, he joined Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in Houston for one last title shot, but the Rockets lost to the Jazz in the West finals.
John Stockton and Karl Malone
These two all-time greats go together because you can't separate their careers and their shared quest for a championship. As arguably the sport's most accomplished tandem, Stockton and Malone were teammates for 18 years in Utah, with the point guard finishing his career as the NBA's leader in assists and steals, and Malone second in points. They reached the Finals in 1997 and '98, both times falling in six hard-fought games to -- who else? -- Michael Jordan and the Bulls. After Stockton retired, Malone joined Shaq, Kobe and Gary Payton with the Lakers for what looked certain to be L.A.'s fourth straight title. But team dissension and Malone's sprained knee helped the Pistons pull off the upset in the 2004 Finals. So Malone will join Stockton in the Hall of Fame without a ring, but with an overall body of work to be admired.