Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls enjoyed immense success during the 1990s. They reached the Finals six times during the decade and came away with six NBA titles -- including two separate three-peats -- becoming arguably the greatest dynasty in NBA history in the process. Though the Bulls' success was great for the city of Chicago, it came at the expense of other teams and players from across the league's landscape.
There were several Hall of Famers who never got an opportunity to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy because they were blocked by the Bulls, though other stars from Jordan's era did eventually win a title. This includes Hakeem Olajuwon, who won with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and 1995 (when M.J. left the team to play baseball, and returned with lots of rust), David Robinson, who won with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 (after Jordan retired) and Gary Payton, who earned his ring with the Miami Heat in 2006 (well after Jordan's final retirement).
That said, we take a closer look at six superstars who failed to win a championship because of Jordan and the Bulls.
1. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley was one of the best -- and most popular -- players of his era. Over the course of his career, Barkley made 11 All-Star teams, 11 All-NBA teams and was named NBA MVP in 1993. He was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. However, Barkley doesn't have any championship rings, and Jordan and the Bulls are a big reason why.
Barkley only made it to the Finals once, and when he did -- with the Phoenix Suns in 1993 -- he ran into a lethal Bulls team. The Suns put up a good fight in the series, taking two games from Chicago, but the Bulls were at the peak of their powers at that point and they proved to be too tough to topple for the Suns. Jordan was absolutely dominant throughout the series, as he averaged 41 points per game over the six-game span and was named Finals MVP for his efforts. Before those '93 Finals, Barkley had faced off against the Bulls in the postseason two other times -- in 1990 and 1991 as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Both times, the Bulls bested the Sixers 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
2. Karl Malone
Karl Malone was one of the most productive players in NBA history. The Utah Jazz star big man scored the second-most points in league history (36,928), won two MVP awards (1997 and 1999), two Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996), was named to 14 All-Star teams and 11 All-NBA First Teams and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. While his resume is loaded with accolades, the only thing missing is a championship. Similar to Barkley, Jordan's Bulls had a lot to do with that.
After selecting Malone in the 1985 NBA Draft, the Jazz made the playoffs for a decade straight without advancing once to the Finals. That changed in 1997, when the Jazz outdueled the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals and moved on to face Jordan's Bulls in the Finals. As we know, though, the Bulls took care of the Jazz in six games in that series to win their fifth title of the decade. Malone and the Jazz got another crack at the Bulls the following year, but the same outcome occurred as they again lost the 1998 Finals in six games. After Jordan retired following his sixth title, Malone stuck around for a while longer, and made one more Finals appearance as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. By that point, however, Malone was on his last legs and unable to help the Lakers seal the deal. The Pistons ultimately won that Finals in five games.
3. John Stockton
You can't talk about Malone without mentioning his Jazz running mate for nearly two decades. John Stockton was a 10-time All-Star and one of the best point guards in NBA history who stands as the league's all-time leader in both assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). Like Malone, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. And just like his longtime teammate, Stockton's best opportunities to win an NBA title -- with the Jazz in 1997 and 1998 -- were spoiled by Jordan and Co. Stockton, who played with the Jazz for the entirety of his career, never made it back to the Finals and retired from the league in 2003.
4. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers got as close as any team did to dethroning the Bulls during their string of success after taking Chicago to seven games in the 1998 Eastern Conference finals. Taking the Bulls to a Game 7 is something that no team that faced off against Chicago in the Finals during the '90s was able to do.
The Bulls ultimately prevailed in that series against the Pacers, and in turn, prevented Miller from making his first Finals appearance. The Bulls went on the win the title that season, marking their third straight and sixth overall. It would also prove to be their last. Miller and the Pacers got another opportunity to win a title when they advanced to the NBA Finals in 2000, after Jordan had retired (for the second time) and the Bulls' dynasty had been dismantled. Unfortunately for Indiana, though, it ran into another budding dynasty -- the Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers -- and lost 4-2. Miller ultimately retired, ringless, in 2005, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2012.
5. Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks had two opportunities to win an NBA title while Michael Jordan was retired -- in 1994 when Jordan was identifying as a baseball player, and in 1999, the year after Jordan had played his last game for the Bulls. The Knicks couldn't take care of business either time, though, as they lost to the Rockets in seven games in the '94 Finals, and later dropped the '99 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs in five games. The fact that they weren't able to capitalize on either opportunity is unfortunate for Ewing and the Knicks because when Jordan was suiting up for Chicago, the Knicks couldn't even get out of the East.
The Knicks lost to the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs in 1991, and then again in the second round the following year. The Knicks also lost to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1996. All three times the Bulls went on to win the championship, while the Knicks were sent packing into their offseason. Ewing was an 11-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, but he was forced to retire without a championship, thanks in part to you know who.
6. Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp didn't enjoy the same extended peak as the other players on this list, but for a chunk of time during the '90s, Kemp was one of the most explosive -- and dominant -- players in the league. He was a six-time All-Star and one of the best dunkers that the league has ever seen. Along with Gary Payton, Kemp helped lead the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA Finals in 1996, where they lost to Jordan and the Bulls in six games. That series would end up being Kemp's only Finals appearances, and also the last for the Sonics before the team moved to Oklahoma City.