IN 2016, my Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title. Not only was it the first championship in the franchise’s history, it was the first time one of MY teams won a title. Some hard done by fans have gone their whole lives waiting to see their team win it all and a handful of pro sports teams have come close to breaking through only to fall agonisingly close. These seven sporting franchises are yet to taste the ultimate glory but have flirted with success by winning a ton of games along the way.
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BELIEVE it or not, the Phoenix Suns actually own the 4th highest regular-season winning percentage (.541) in the NBA as a franchise. Since they entered the league in the 60’s, Phoneix has regularly enjoyed the playoffs, making a handful of NBA Finals appearances along the way. The likes of Charles Barkley and Steve Nash became favourite suns (see what I did there) bringing success and MVP trophies to the city, but they failed to win it all and Nash famously failed to make an NBA Finals appearance. With their current squad undergoing a rebuild it might be a while before Suns fans can celebrate.
San Jose Sharks
JUST a few short seasons ago the Sharks were within striking distance of the franchises first Stanley Cup trophy. After winning the West in the 2015-16 season they clashed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the series 4-2, in the franchises lone Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Since joining the NHL in 1991-92 they have claimed 103 playoff wins, and emerged into one of the most consistent franchises in hockey. Heading back to the playoffs for the third time straight this season, San Jose will be daring to dream.
Image from bleacherreport.com
THE current Vikings team is well poised to make a run at the Super Bowl, a place Minnesota hasn’t been since 1976. Having gone to the playoffs plenty of times since (21 to be exact), you would have thought that the Vikings would have had another chance to claim the Vince Lombardi trophy. They have been close, with a conference finals loss becoming a tradition at the turn of every decade, and they could again charge towards the finish line this season. It might end in heartbreak again, but give Minnesota every chance possible of making Super Bowl 52.
THREE times the Sabres have been one series win short of a title, with their last failure coming in the 1998-99 season. They do boast the league’s 9th best-winning clip (53.9%) in the regular season, but their postseason percentage (48.4%) isn’t as impressive. There have been some long droughts since then, with their last playoff appearance coming way back in ’11-’12. With just 25 wins in this year’s campaign and one game on the schedule remaining the Buffalo fans are in for more heartbreak.
IF you include the Pacers current season record the franchise is almost the perfect definition of ‘middle of the pack’. Indiana has lost just three more games than they have won in their 3,393 games as an NBA franchise. They made the move from the ABA in 1976 and struggled to find their feet for a while. Then things changed in the mid 90’s when a guy named Reggie Miller began to drag the team to success. They went on to make an NBA Finals appearance, where they were defeated by Shaq and Kobe, but at least the can say they have made it that far. They are still a solid squad and we might see them make another run at the Larry O’Brien trophy sooner rather than later.
Image from hoopshabit.com
DUE to how long baseball has been around most of the teams have won at least a World Series crown. The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the unlucky six clubs without a banner, but at least they can say they have been close. Their lone trip to the World Series came in 1982, when they lost a Game 7 to the St. Louis Cardinals. They will have their work cut out them this season if they are planning to break their drought, but stranger things have happened.
THE Wild sneak in despite only joining ice hockey’s most prestigious league at the start of the 21st century. They came close to winning it all early in their history as they made their way to the conference finals in just their third season. It was a quick visit as they were swept in four, and haven’t returned made it that far in the playoffs in the past 15 seasons. They are a consistent playoff presence and with another appearance guaranteed this year Minnesota aren’t that far from their maiden Stanley Cup victory.
Banner from wbur.org