Credit: Getty Images

We’ve seen a lot of legends in NBA history. Some have been more successful than others, but there are several factors involved in that. One of those is the kind of competition they faced on their way to winning a title.

While ones faced strong competition, others had to go through hell to earn the right to play for the NBA championship and win it. HoopsHype listed 25 legends and the combined winning percentages of the opponents they defeated in the playoffs. There are big names there, such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James, but none of them had faced the strongest competition in the postseason.

For instance, LeBron ranks 14th on the research-based list after spending the majority of his career in a weak Eastern Conference. As for Kobe and MJ, their respective conferences were stacked during his days, making it hard for them to succeed. As we know now, that didn’t stop them, who won a combined 11 NBA rings.

This is the full list of players and the combined winning percentages of their defeated rivals:

 

25. Jerry West

Combined record of defeated opponents: 54.3% winning percentage

(via Sports Illustrated)

 

24. Oscar Robertson

Combined record of defeated opponents: 56.0% winning percentage

 

23. Larry Bird

Combined record of defeated opponents: 56.2% winning percentage

Credit: Getty Images

 

22. Charles Barkley

Combined record of defeated opponents: 57.1% winning percentage

(via NBC Sports)

 

21. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Combined record of defeated opponents: 57.4% winning percentage

 

 

20. Magic Johnson

Combined record of defeated opponents: 57.9% winning percentage

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

 

19. John Havlicek

Combined record of defeated opponents: 58.7% winning percentage

 

18. Wilt Chamberlain

Combined record of defeated opponents: 58.8% winning percentage

(via Steam Community)

 

17. Bill Russell

Combined record of defeated opponents: 58.9% winning percentage

 

16. Moses Malone

Combined record of defeated opponents: 59.4% winning percentage

 

15. Julius Erving

Combined record of defeated opponents: 59.5% winning percentage

 

14. LeBron James

Combined record of defeated opponents: 60.0% winning percentage

(via SLAM)

 

13. Kevin Garnett

Combined record of defeated opponents: 60.7% winning percentage

 

12. Elvin Hayes

Combined record of defeated opponents: 61.0% winning percentage

(via NBA.com)

 

11. Isiah Thomas

Combined record of defeated opponents: 61.9% winning percentage

 

10. Karl Malone

Combined record of defeated opponents: 61.9% winning percentage

 

9. Tim Duncan

Combined record of defeated opponents: 62.3% winning percentage

 

8. Stephen Curry

Combined record of defeated opponents: 62.8% winning percentage

(via CBS Sports)

 

7. Kevin Durant

Combined record of defeated opponents: 62.8% winning percentage

Credit: Getty Images

 

6. Shaquille O’Neal

Combined record of defeated opponents: 63.0% winning percentage

(via CBS Sports)

 

5. Scottie Pippen

Combined record of defeated opponents: 63.5% winning percentage

(via Marca)

 

4. Michael Jordan

Combined record of defeated opponents: 63.6% winning percentage

Credit: Getty Images

 

3. Hakeem Olajuwon

Combined record of defeated opponents: 63.8% winning percentage

Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

 

2. Kobe Bryant

Combined record of defeated opponents: 65.6% winning percentage

(via Sports Illustrated)

 

1. Dirk Nowitzki

Combined record of defeated opponents: 65.8% winning percentage

Dirk Nowitzki had one of the most memorable playoffs runs in 2011 when he surprised everybody and led his Dallas Mavericks to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. He always had to face though rivals and their winning percentage says a lot about it.

Other legends like Kobe, Jordan, Olajuwon and Duncan had a similar journey. Players like Curry or Durant went against each other or other big stars in the West to be successful and their rivals’ records confirm that.

There have been multiple eras in the NBA, some more competitive than others depending on what conference you played so that also influences those records. Proof of that is LeBron James. He has a 3-5 record in the Finals but his route to the biggest series of all hasn’t been as hard as Jordan’s or Kobe’s or Dirk’s.