Right as Ryan: Lords of the Ringless

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

Rings have always defined the greats of sports history: Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Babe Ruth–the list goes on. At the same time, it seems like people have diminished the talent and accolades of those who were not part of a championship team.  Heck, even LeBron, who won three MVPs before his first rings, was considered a failure by many for not winning a ring before age 28.

Superstars are bashed for losing a team sport while their individual numbers are carry less weight without a title. Here are the biggest stars that should stand among their GOATS, even without a ring.

The Forgotten Superstar

Before “The Logo” Jerry West and right after the late, great center George Mikan, the Lakers had Elgin Baylor, the most underrated and underappreciated superstar of all time. Drafted in 1958, Baylor had the tools of a  modern day star: passing ability, athleticism, rebounding and a shooting touch. Over his 14 years in the NBA, Baylor was an 11-time All Star, ten-time All-NBA First Team member and Rookie of the Year. In one season, Baylor averaged a ridiculous 38.6 points and 18.6 rebounds a game.

Though the Lakers reached the finals eight times with Baylor, they were never able to seal the deal. To make it even sadder, the year Baylor retired with a knee injury, the Lakers won a championship. Even without a ring, Baylor should be recognized as the ringless GOAT for he was the prototype small forward who players like LeBron James molded their games around.

Controversy’s Greatest

Barry Bonds is the only name carrying  as much negative connotation in baseball as Pete Rose, but ignoring the perjury, obstruction of justice and steroids, Bonds’ numbers still show up as some of the greatest individual statistics of all time–all time home run leader, 14-time All Star games, seven MVP awards, the list goes on.

In his 22 seasons, Bonds secured only one trip to World Series, which culminated in a 4-3 series defeat for the Giants against the Anaheim Angels. Even if he’ll be remembered as the face of the steroids era, Bonds should also be remembered as one of the greats to never win a ring.

Dan The Man

From the coveted 1983 Quarterback Class, Dan Marino was the epitome of the gunslinger in the NFL. Marino was an eight-time All Pro member, five-time passing yard leader, three-time touchdown leader, former record holder for TDs and yards in a season as well as the former all-time passing yards leader. He was also  named Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and MVP during his career.

With Marino, the Miami Dolphins were a constant postseason contender, even making the Super Bowl in his sophomore season. However, for the bulk of his career, Marino never had a solid run game, forcing him to put the Dolphins on his back for his 16 years. For his individual awards alone, Marino should always be in the same conversation as Brady, Manning, Favre, Montana and Elway.