Of course, the NBA is not far; not every player who deserves to win an NBA Finals actually gets the chance to do so. The unfortunate truth is that greatness often goes unrewarded. These seven players in particular stand out as the best to never reach the top of the NBA mountain.
7. Reggie Miller
In 18 NBA seasons, Miller, a Hall of Famer, only made the NBA Finals once. Unfortunately, he fell victim to the dynastic Lakers in six games. Miller averaged 18.2 points per game during his career with the Pacers, shooting 47.1% from the field. A prolific shooter, Miller was never able to bring the title home.
6. Allen Iverson
Perhaps the most prolific scorer of his generation, Iverson was a four-time scoring champ who averaged 26.7 points per game in his career. Like Miller, though, he only got one crack at winning it all, falling to the Lakers in five games in 2001.
5. Patrick Ewing
Ewing and the Knicks were playoff regulars at his peak. His suffocating defense and scoring ability at the center position were crucial to their success. He came ever so close to winning the title in 1994 when the Knicks took a 3-2 series lead against the Rockets, but back-to-back losses shut the door on what would turn out to be his only taste of the Finals.
4. Steve Nash
Nash did all that he could during his career to squeeze the most out of his teammates. The two-time MVP averaged 8.5 assists per game across 18 NBA seasons, including averaging over 10 per game in seven of them. Despite playing on some ridiculously stacked teams, though, Nash never even appeared in an NBA Finals game.
3. Charles Barkley
Barkley was a model of consistency and a quality player during his 16-year career. He averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game throughout his career. Barkley managed to make the Finals once during his time in the league, but unfortunately he had to take on Jordan and the Bulls, and he and the Suns lost in six games. Probably should've imported more jump shooting, Charles.
2. John Stockton
Stockton was one of the most well-rounded players the NBA has ever seen. A two-time steals champion and nine-time assists champion, he was vital on both ends of the court for the Jazz for his entire career. If not for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Stockton and the Jazz perhaps could have won two NBA Finals titles.
1. Karl Malone
Malone, a 14-time NBA All-Star, suffered just as much as Stockton did. He and Malone were teammates for 13 years, and despite averaging 25.4 points per game during that span, including a mark of 26.3 in his 172 playoff games with the Jazz, the Mailman was never able to seal the deal. He also got a chance to win a title with the Lakers in the twilight of his career, but again, his team feel in an upset, to the upstart Pistons. It simply wasn't to be.