Right now Lebron James is the best player in the NBA. He scores, he defends, he wins scoring titles and he wins
championships regular season games. Is Lebron great yet? I think so but to be truly great in everyone’s eyes the best players have to win a championship. Here is my list of the best in each of the 4 major sports not to lift the championship trophy at the end of the season.
National Basketball Association
Lebron is the only man on this list that can get off this list. At only 27 years old the 8 year pro already has shown he is among the best ever. His 27.7 ppg average has him 3rd behind Jordan and Chamberlain for his career. His one and only knock has been his big game performance and the elusive ring that will get him off this list.
The Mailman delivered for 36,928 pts (2nd all time), 14,968 rebounds (6th) and 2,085 steals (10th) in his Hall of Fame career. He was a 2 time league MVP awards and 11 time All-NBA 1st team. Spent most of his career in Utah and was the 2nd best player of that era behind Michael Jordan. His teams made the playoffs 19 times but only reached the finals twice and lost to theJordan led Chicago Bulls. His last season was played in L.A., looking for that elusive title but it was not to be.
Karl Malone is on this list because of John Stockton and Stockton is on this list because of Malone. Number 1 all time in assist and steals, John Stockton is the greatest point guard in NBA history. He was classic floor leader who made all of his teammates better. Spending his entire career in Utah he made the playoffs every year in the league and the finals twice and just like Malone was cursed to play in the Jordan era.
One of the top centers of the 80’s and 90’s, Patrick Ewing appeared in the playoffs 14 times in his 19 year career. He was named to 9 All-Star teams and ranks in the top 20 in career points and rebounds. He is also ranked 6th all time in blocks. The 1984 number 1 draft pick by the New York Knick was a part of the great Knicks/Bulls rivalry of the 90’s.
Sir Charles’ career totals of 23,757 pts, 12,546 rebounds and 4,215 assist puts him in elite company with Abdul-Jabber, Chamberlain and Malone as the only 4 players in the 20,000/10,000/4,000 club. The 9 time All-Star and 1993 MVP led his teams to 13 playoff appearances in 15 years. He only made the finals 1 time and fell to the Jordan led Bulls but no one questions the greatness of Barkley’s career.
Major League Baseball
Barry Bonds in the second most dominate hitter to ever play the game behind Babe Ruth but Bonds is the best all-around player to ever play pro baseball. He ranks in the top 5 all-time in HR, RBI, Runs, OBP and Walks. He is the only player to have over 500 steals and homeruns in his career. Once you add in his 8 Gold Gloves, 14 All Star selections and his unbelievable 7 MVP awards it should be easy to see he is the best player never to win the World Series. Now let me address the big juiced up elephant in the room. He played in steroid era and built those numbers using steroids. They don’t call it the steroid era just because Bonds was using. It’s the steroid era because use was rampant throughout the league. Pitchers and hitters both used and it wasn’t against the rules. Who cares?
Teddy Ballgame was so much a man that I am surprised Clint Eastwood never played him in a movie. I can’t imagine what theUnited States was like in the 40’s during WWII. Men were leaving their jobs and volunteering for military service and Williams was no different. He lost 3 years of his prime to WWII and 2 years to the Korean War. If you were to use the average numbers from his career in those 5 years he would be sitting at over 600 homeruns and 2300 RBIs. He is the all-time leader in on-base percentage at .482 and he also holds a nearly 3-to-1 Walk/Strikeout ratio. He was a 19 time all-star and won 2 MVP awards. He just had the unfortunate circumstance of playing for the Boston Red Sox his whole career.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey was on track to be the greatest of them all until injuries derailed his career. He still sits at 5th on the all time home run list with 630 and is 15th in RBIs. He earned 12 all-star nods, 10 Gold Gloves and a MVP award.
One of the greatest hitters to ever play, Ty Cobb never won a title. Spending most of his career in Detroit, he is 2nd on the all-time list in hits, runs and triples. He is also in the top 10 in doubles, RBIs and stolen bases. His career batting average of .367 is the greatest ever and he batted over .400 3 times in his storied career. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Just like Ted Williams, Yastrzemski was cursed to play in Boston his whole career. Finishing his career with over 3,400 hits, 1,800 runs and 1,800 RBIs he is one of the all-time great hitters. He was an 18 time all-star, 7 gold glove winner and the 1967 MVP. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
National Football League
The first QB to pass for over 5,000 yards in a season finished his career at the top of every major statistical passing category. With over 60,000 yards passing and 420 touchdowns there is no question he is among the elites at his position. But his only 1 Super Bowl appearance and lack of great playoff wins puts him behind others like Elway, Montana and Favre.
10 seasons in the league, 10 1,000 yard seasons, 10 All-Pro seasons and 10 Pro Bowls. The most electric running back to ever play the game retired in 1999 2nd on the all time rushing list behind Walter Payton with 15,269 yards. He never played in the Super Bowl and only played in one NFC title game but he will go down as one of the greatest running backs in the history of the game.
Out of all the guys on this list Jim Kelly had the best chance to get a title. He led the Buffalo Bills to 4 straights Super Bowls in the 90’s failing to win in each. His career numbers rank up with the best and considering he put those numbers un playing the conditions of Buffalo his entire career they are very impressive.
The 2nd greatest wide receiver in NFL history behind Jerry Rice, Randy Moss was an athletic freak on the field. From his 17 touchdown rookie year to his record breaking 23 touchdown season on 2007, Moss was a threat to score on every play.
My All-Time No Title Offensive Line
Anthony Munoz, John Hannah, Dwight Stephenson, Will Shields, Willie Roaf
The 5 greatest offensive lineman of all-time do not have a Super Bowl Championship. Each man on this list was the anchor of one of the best offensive lines of their era. Munoz played in 2 Super Bowls for the Bengals and Hannah and Stephenson each appeared in one for the Patriots and Dolphins respectively.
National Hockey League
Stastny was one of the best scorers of the NHL during the 1980’s. He had 7 seasons of 100 plus points during the decade. He played in 6 NHL All-Star games and led his teams to the playoffs 12 out of his 17 seasons. He ranks 36th on the NHL’s scoring list but his PPG average of 1.27 ranks up with Yzerman and Jagr on the all-time list.
The number 3 all-timeU.S.born scorer behind Brett Hull and Mike Modano, Housley played 20 seasons in the NHL. Housley is also the NHL’s #4 career leader in points for defenseman. Most of his career was spent in Buffalo and Calgary so his Championship chances were hurt by being in those notorious Non-Title towns.
The top scorers in NHL history are Gretzky, Messier, Howe, Francis and Marcel Dionne. Dionne is currently the highest ranked player (38) on the NHL’s top 100 list not to have a title. His career was spent in Detroit during the lean years, the LA Kings before the Great One got there and the Rangers before Messier showed up and he never had a chance to get to kiss the cup.
Lindros was the first of the big men with small man moves. John LeClair said of Lindros that “He had it all: size, strength and finesse, It is unfortunate injuries cut his time in the NHL short, but he had a great career and left his mark on the game.” Winner of the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in the 94-95 season, Lindros’ career was cut short by injuries before he could win the Stanley Cup.
LaFontaine like Lindros had a stellar career cut short by concussions. His ppg average of 1.17 (1,013 pts/865 gms) is first amongU.S.born players all-time. LaFontaine arrived inNew Yorkas the Islanders dynasty was ending and never won a Stanley Cup in his injury shortened career.