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10 Great NBA Players Who Never Won A Championship Because Of Lebron James

LeBron James is still one of the best players in the NBA today, but he is inching towards the end of his career due to his age and the wear and tear of playing for two decades. The playoff success of James is among his greatest accomplishments with four NBA Championships and four NBA Finals MVPs for three different franchises.

RELATED: 10 Great Players Who Never Won An NBA Title Because Of Michael Jordan

Even the years where he didn’t win it all led to deep runs eliminating other contenders with noteworthy names. Many NBA legends from the 90s have made it known that Michael Jordan was their biggest roadblock in not winning a title. LeBron’s career success deserves the same treatment when looking back at each postseason run. The following ten NBA superstars were the best players to miss out on a ring partially thanks to James.

10 Nikola Jockic

Many fans overlook the Denver Nuggets as a real playoff threat these days due to injuries hurting them the past two postseasons. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. being healthy made Denver one of the four best teams when making the Western Conference Finals in 2020.

RELATED: 5 Things Michael Jordan Was Better Than LeBron James At (& 4 Things LeBron Is Best At)

However, it was still Nikola Jokic being the leader who essentially carried the team to that level. The Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Nuggets to get to the NBA Finals thanks to LeBron James leading the way. Jokic had a real chance to win a ring since no other team was that much better than Denver beyond the Lakers.

9 Chris Webber

An underrated legend to feel the wrath of LeBron James was Chris Webber later in his career. Injuries slowed Webber down after his peak days with the Sacramento Kings, but he had a chance to win a ring with the Detroit Pistons when traded in 2007.

Detroit was coming off two NBA Finals appearances over the past three seasons when Webber joined. LeBron James had his first major postseason run in 2007 with an epic series against the Pistons. The Cleveland Cavaliers made the NBA Finals thanks to James carrying them past Detroit just a few years after coming out of high school.


8 Tracy McGrady

Another interesting story of a forgotten legend feeling heartbreak vs. LeBron James featured Tracy McGrady on the San Antonio Spurs. Few fans even remember this since McGrady barely got any playing time at the end of his career.

McGrady was once the best scorer in the league for the Orlando Magic, but injuries ended his prime quickly. The Spurs came one win short of T-Mac winning a ring during the infamous Ray Allen Game 6 shot. LeBron had another outstanding series to lead Miami and blocked McGrady from winning one.

7 Al Horford

Al Horford has suffered due to LeBron James’ playoff success on four occasions where he felt like he had a chance to win. The Atlanta Hawks were eliminated twice by LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015 and 2016, including a season where they were swept as the #1 seed.

Horford moved to the Boston Celtics and witnessed the same faith in 2017 and 2018. Boston put up a good fight in back-to-back conference finals, but LeBron dominated just too much for Cleveland to continue making the NBA Finals. Horford remains an underrated asset for helping two flawed teams even get that far.

6 Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose is one of the few names to win an MVP Award in the Eastern Conference after finishing with a better record than LeBron James’ team. The first year of LeBron joining the Miami Heat featured Rose leading the Bulls to the top record and becoming a title contender.

Chicago fell short to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals due to James and the Heat just being better in a must-win situation. Rose’s career took a hit due to multiple brutal injuries ending his peak. LeBron eliminated Rose a few more times, including when they traded buzzer beater game-winners in 2015.

5 DeMar DeRozan

Many Toronto Raptors fans still view DeMar DeRozan as the best player in franchise history, even though they won a ring after he was traded. One reason for that was DeRozan running into LeBron James every year when Toronto felt they were ready to take the next steps.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why NBA Fans Love LeBron James (& 5 Reasons Why They Hate Him)

The Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated the Raptors three years in a row mostly thanks to LeBron’s dominance. Toronto’s best chance came in 2018 as the #1 seed facing a Cleveland squad after Kyrie Irving was traded. James dominated enough to sweep the better team and continue another run to the NBA Finals.

4 Paul George

Paul George’s greatest success has come with the Indiana Pacers as of this writing. Indiana had a couple of deep playoff runs in the early years of George becoming a star. The Pacers became the biggest East threat to LeBron James’ Miami Heat, but it wasn’t enough.

Three postseasons in a row saw Indiana posing a threat to Miami without getting over the hump. George’s best chances at a ring came fell short in the 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron outdueled George each year of their rivalry to reach the NBA Finals every season in Miami.

3 Russell Westbrook

The Oklahoma City Thunder were the team to fall to the Miami Heat when LeBron James won his first NBA Championship. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were considered the two superstars on the team at the time.

Unfortunately, the youth of Oklahoma City could not score the big late game wins over a team with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Durant did eventually win a couple of rings with the Golden State Warriors, but Westbrook remains an all-time great to never win a ring.

two Jimmy Butler

The recent years of Jimmy Butler’s career have taken him to new heights as a superstar. Butler was part of a couple of the Chicago Bulls team that LeBron James eliminated, but his best chance at winning an NBA Championship came with the Miami Heat.

Pat Riley made Butler the biggest acquisition since LeBron left the team to become the new face of the franchise. The infamous playoffs in the bubble featured Butler leading the Heat to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for him, James and the Los Angeles Lakers were too much to overcome.

1 james harden

James Harden felt the pain of facing LeBron James in the playoffs before he even became a superstar. The Oklahoma City Thunder used Harden as the top sixth man in the league, but he was nowhere near All-Star level yet. Harden and the rest of Oklahoma City fell short of a ring due to LeBron’s greatness.

Oklahoma City traded Harden not too long after to the Houston Rockets where he became a superstar and an MVP winner. Despite all his success, Harden has yet to get back to the NBA Finals with James being the reason he couldn’t get an early ring.

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