8. Mario Elie
Elie was a seventh-round draft pick in 1985 by the Milwaukee Bucks and never expected to make it in the NBA. The 6’5 wing was waived one week after the draft and went all over the globe trying to keep his playing hopes alive.
Elie did not get another NBA shot until 1990 when the Lakers signed him for training camp. He again did not make the roster and was cut, so how did the 6’5 wing become a three-time NBA champion?
It was a ten-day contract in December of 1990 that kicked things off. The 27-year-old finally appeared in a game and showed enough to get another one with the Warriors in February. Elie quickly became a steady role player, but it was not until he arrived in Houston in 1993 that he played the best basketball of his career.
The Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 with Elie playing a key role on both ends of the floor. He was making shots and playing stout defense. The wing was in his 30s, but Elie became a Rockets fan favorite during the run.
Mario Elie won a third championship with the Spurs in 1999 and played 11 years in the NBA, despite not seeing action until he was already 27 years old. The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on a solid role player as the 6’5 wing struggled to find his footing in the league.