MANILA, Philippines - There are great NBA players who never won, never tasted the championship.
And here’s Ron Harper, who’s in the country to help promote the NBA Global Games, with five rings on his huge fingers.
Harper won the championship three times with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls (1996, 1997 and 1998) and twice with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (2000 and 2001).
Harper, who played a key role in these championships, looked back at those days in a brief one-on-one with The STAR yesterday at Hotel Sofitel.
He said to win the NBA title one would need a little luck.
“The only way you get to win a championship is to be in a good basketball team,” said Harper without having to name the great NBA players who never won the title.
Included in this list are such greats like Karl Malone, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley.
Harper played against these guys, and years after their careers ended he can always look back and kiss the rings on his fingers.
“Those guys played on some good basketball teams but they played on a wrong time zone. They had to play against MJ (Michael Jordan),” he said.
“It’s not about what you do. It’s about what your team does. But to be fortunate enough to have a ring is hard work,” said the 49-year-old NBA star.
“Even though MJ won his three rings before when I got my first win I thought it was a great accomplishment. You work hard and your dreams come true,” Harper said.
The native of Dayton in Ohio flew in Friday evening. First thing he did yesterday was grace a clinic put up by the US Embassy Manila and Alaska Milk for less-privileged kids.
The kids were all over him.
“It was great. The kids came out and played and had fun time. We had fun running around,” said Harper, who had to remind the kids that “as long as you love the game, you will be good at it.”
Harper will be around when the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers hold the first NBA pre-season game in the country on Oct. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“The NBA is a global game now. And it’s a great idea,” he said.