Who Faced a Harder and Stronger Playoffs Competition, Larry Bird or Michael Jordan?

Who Faced a Harder and Stronger Playoffs Competition, Larry Bird or Michael Jordan?

Michael Jordan and LeBron James are two of the best players of all time. Love them or hate them, you have to acknowledge that these two players are the greatest players of all time because they dominated the NBA in their primes.

Despite having distinguished careers, both of these players made a lot of opponents due to their dominance. They also made mistakes and were repeatedly knocked down. There are plenty of debates about which of the two is superior, and there are also plenty of stigmas associated with them.

The fact that Jordan’s competition was not as strong as many people believe it to be is his biggest “knock,” if you can even use that term. LeBron’s would be his dominance over the East, which is unquestionably the weaker of the two conferences.

Contrary to popular belief, both of these “knocks” on their careers have been difficult tasks and challenges that they have had to overcome. Having said that, I will examine the playoff opposition that LeBron James and Michael Jordan faced and discuss who, in my opinion, faced more difficult opponents in this piece.

This Celtics team from the late 1980s was among the hardest Jordan had to play against, if not the hardest. The Celtics, led by the great Larry Bird, made it to the finals both of the playoff seasons in which Jordan faced them and took home a championship in 1986.

The supporting group included five Hall of Famers: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson, and Bill Walton, who was nearing the end of his career. This Celtics team was extremely well-assembled.

Jordan and the Celtics had some incredible matchups. During the 1986 playoffs, Jordan averaged 43.7 points per game against them and recorded the highest point total in a postseason game with 63 points.

The Detroit Pistons were another team that Jordan was unable to overcome; they had a distinct playstyle and employed various strategies to “neutralize” Jordan. The Pistons used an effective defensive tactic known as the “Jordan Rules” to defeat the Bulls on several occasions.

 

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