15 NBA legends who never won Rookie of the Year

The 2024 NBA Draft will hopefully feature a new generation of stars but only one can win Rookie of the Year and here are 15 NBA legends who never won the award.
Ray Allen v Kobe Bryant
Ray Allen v Kobe Bryant / -/GettyImages
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4) Carmelo Anthony

Fresh off an NCAA National Championship with Syracuse, 2003 number three overall pick Carmelo Anthony burst onto the NBA scene averaging 21 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, picking up things where left off in college. In his rookie season, Anthony significantly altered the trajectory of the Denver Nuggets, propelling the franchise from a dismal 17-65 record the year before to a 43-39 season, marking their first winning season and playoff appearance since the 1994-95 season.

While he struggled to find his outside shot early in his career, he held his own as a scorer and made his presence felt as a rookie. Using his quick first step, explosiveness, and sheer strength, Melo scored 30-plus points on 10 occasions including a 41-point performance against the Seattle Supersonics-now the OKC Thunder.

Although Melo led his team to the postseason and his numbers were slightly better in terms of scoring, rebounding, efficiency, and win shares, the Brooklyn native couldn’t sway enough of the voters in his favor as LeBron James received 78 first-place votes and took home the hardware. 

LeBron’s overall impact on the league, his versatility, and the attention he drew during his rookie season likely contributed to him winning the award. It's often a subjective debate whether one player "should" have won over another, as Anthony and James both had outstanding rookie campaigns.