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NBA Finals: How LeBron James and Michael Jordan are equals (and how they're not)

NBA Finals: How LeBron James and Michael Jordan are equals (and how they're not)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, goes to the basket as Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes defends during the NBA Finals game one in Oakland, Calif., onJune 2, 2016. (Getty Images)

On Sunday, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James played in his 35th NBA Finals game, tying the number of Finals games played by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. It was a clunker of a game as the Caveliers were walloped by the Golden State Warriors and trail in the series 0-2. Cleveland has two more games guaranteed, which should bring James' total to 37, sweeping past Jordan and Pippen and tying the recently retired Lakers great Kobe Bryant. One key difference, however: Jordan and Pippen have six championships in those 35 games, Bryant has five in his 37, James has two. Here's the breakdown.

Comparing NBA Finals games played

Win/loss margin

LEGEND

Wins

Losses

20+

<10

20+

10-19

<10

10-19

LeBron

James

 

Michael Jordan

and Scottie Pippen

 

Kobe

Bryant

 

Bill

Russell

 

2007

0-4 loss vs.

San Antonio

Spurs

1991

4-1

win vs.

L.A. Lakers

2000

4-2

win vs.

Indiana

Pacers

1957

4-3

win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

-9

-11

-3

-1

+8

-2

+2

-3

-9

-10

-11

+4

+6

+6

+15

-4

+19

-36

+16

-10

+3

+7

-15

+2

-19

-21

-17

-8

+2

+5

-21

-13

-8

-15

-33

-2

+21

+8

+15

+7

+33

-11

+10

-5

+13

+4

+8

+3

-8

+6

-10

+1

+17

+4

+22

-21

-11

+12

+2

+12

-11

-5

+2

+4

-3

+5

+42

+4

-2

+1

+17

+7

+2

-33

+5

-6

+9

+5

+14

+12

+5

+23

+3

+6

-12

+8

-20

-8

-13

-10

-6

+6

-6

+5

-39

+25

+5

-4

+8

+13

+13

-9

+7

-7

-6

+22

+4

-2

+20

-2

+5

+15

-2

+2

-2

+24

-3

-1

+3

+20

+13

+5

+18

-10

+16

-10

+25

-3

+19

+34

+8

-4

+15

+9

+14

-7

-2

+12

-5

+14

+3

+3

+7

-20

+3

-7

+3

+12

+23

-24

+3

+6

+32

+6

-21

+13

+33

-4

+20

+14

+5

-4

-8

+2

+6

-10

+8

-13

+3

+15

-2

-6

+6

+1

-13

+9

+2

2011

2-4 loss vs.

Dallas

Mavericks

1992

4-2 win vs.

Portland

Trailblazers

2001

4-1 win vs.

Philadelphia

76ers

1958

2-4 loss vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

2012

4-1 win vs.

Oklahoma

City

Thunder

2002

4-0 win vs.

New Jersey

Nets

1959

4-0 win vs.

Minneapolis

Lakers

1993

4-2 win vs.

Phoenix

Suns

2004

1-4 loss vs.

Detroit

Pistons

2013

4-3 win vs.

San Antonio

Spurs

1960

4-3 win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

1996

4-2 win vs.

Seattle

Supersonics

2008

2-4 loss vs.

Boston

Celtics

1961

4-1 win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

2014

1-4 loss vs.

San Antonio

Spurs

1997

4-2 win vs.

Utah

Jazz

2009

4-1 win vs.

Orlando

Magic

2015

2-4 loss vs.

Golden State

Warriors

1962

4-3 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

 

1998

4-2 win vs.

Utah

Jazz

2010

4-3 win vs.

Boston

Celtics

2016

Trail 0-2 vs.

Golden State

Warriors

1963

4-2 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

35

35

NBA Finals

games

NBA Finals

games

37

Record: 13-34

2 titles

Record: 24-11

6 titles

NBA Finals

games

1964

4-1 win vs.

San Francisco

Warriors

Record: 23-14

5 titles

1965

4-2 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

1966

4-3 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

1968

4-2 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

1969

4-3 win vs.

Los Angeles

Lakers

70

NBA Finals

games

Record: 45-25

11 titles

NBA FINALS APPEARANCES

Bill Russell

Sam Jones

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Jerry West

Tom Heinsohn

Magic Johnson

Frank Ramsey

John Havlicek

Michael Cooper

K.C. Jones

Elgin Baylor

Derek Fisher

Tom Sanders

Bob Cousy

Don Nelson

Slater Martin

Robert Horry

Danny Ainge

Kobe Bryant

Dennis Johnson

Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen

Wilt Chamberlain

LeBron James

James Worthy

Kurt Rambis

Tim Duncan

Dennis Rodman

Kevin McHale

George Mikan

Robert Parish

Larry Bird

70

64

56

55

52

50

47

47

46

44

44

43

43

42

38

38

37

37

37

37

35

35

35

35

34

34

34

33

31

31

31

31

Win/loss margin

LEGEND

Wins

9<

10-19

20+

Losses

20+

9<

10-19

2007

0-4

loss vs.

San

Antonio

Spurs

1991

4-1

win vs.

L.A.

Lakers

1957

4-3

win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

-9

-11

-3

-1

+8

-2

+2

-3

-9

-10

-11

+4

+6

+6

+15

-4

+19

-36

+16

-10

+3

+7

-15

+2

-19

-21

-17

-8

+2

+5

-21

-13

-8

-15

-33

-2

+21

+8

+15

+7

+33

-11

+10

-5

+13

+4

+8

+3

-8

+6

-10

+1

+17

+4

+22

-21

-11

+12

+2

+12

-11

-5

+2

+4

-3

+5

+42

+4

-2

+1

-2

+20

-2

+5

+15

-2

+2

-2

+24

-3

-1

+3

+20

+13

+5

+18

-10

+16

-10

+25

-3

+19

+34

+8

-4

+15

+9

+14

-7

-2

+12

-5

+14

+3

+3

+7

-20

+3

-7

+3

+12

+23

-24

+3

+6

+32

+6

-21

+13

+33

-4

+20

+14

+5

-4

-8

+2

+6

-10

+8

-13

+3

+15

-2

-6

+6

+1

-13

+9

+2

2011

2-4

loss

vs.

Dallas

Mav-

ericks

1992

4-2

win vs.

Portland

Trail-

blazers

1958

2-4

loss vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

2012

4-1

win vs.

Okla.

City

Thun-

der

1959

4-0

win vs.

Minn.

Lakers

1993

4-2

win vs.

Phoenix

Suns

2013

4-3

win vs.

San

Antonio

Spurs

1960

4-3

win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

1996

4-2

win vs.

Seattle

Super-

sonics

1961

4-1

win vs.

St. Louis

Hawks

2014

1-4

loss vs.

San

Antonio

Spurs

1997

4-2

win vs.

Utah

Jazz

2015

2-4

loss vs.

Golden

State

Warr-

iors

1962

4-3

win vs.

Los

Angeles

Lakers

 

1998

4-2

win vs.

Utah

Jazz

2016

vs.

Golden

State

Warr-

iors

1963

4-2

win vs.

Los

Angeles

Lakers

35

NBA Finals

games

Record:

24-11

6 titles

1964

4-1

win vs.

S.F.

Warriors

1965

4-2

win vs.

Los

Angeles

1966

4-3

win vs.

Los

Angeles

Lakers

1968

4-2

win vs.

Los

Angeles

Lakers

1969

4-2

win vs.

Los

Angeles

Lakers

70

NBA Finals

games

Record:

45-25

11 titles

NBA FINALS APPEARANCES

Bill Russell

Sam Jones

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Jerry West

Tom Heinsohn

Magic Johnson

Frank Ramsey

John Havlicek

Michael Cooper

K.C. Jones

Elgin Baylor

Derek Fisher

Tom Sanders

Bob Cousy

Don Nelson

Slater Martin

Robert Horry

Danny Ainge

Kobe Bryant

Dennis Johnson

Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen

Wilt Chamberlain

LeBron James

James Worthy

Kurt Rambis

Tim Duncan

Dennis Rodman

Kevin McHale

George Mikan

Robert Parish

Larry Bird

70

64

56

55

52

50

47

47

46

44

44

43

43

42

38

38

37

37

37

37

35

35

35

35

34

34

34

33

31

31

31

31

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