Michael Jordan Was Eliminated 6 Consecutive Times From The NBA Playoffs, Including 3 Consecutive Times In The First-Round

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Michael Jordan Was Eliminated 6 Consecutive Times From The NBA Playoffs, Including 3 Consecutive Times In The First-Round

Much is being made about LeBron's first-round exit this year after the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Phoenix Suns in 6 games. James did not have his sidekick Anthony Davis by his side, so nobody really expected the Lakers to win the series. But people expected LeBron James to play like a man possessed, which unfortunately didn't happen.

This has led a ton of fans and critics to question LeBron's legitimacy as a GOAT candidate. After all, he was the most experienced and most dominant player in the series. But LeBron is 36 years of age and it is extremely harsh to consider this first-round exit against his claim as the greatest player ever. This was LeBron's first-ever first-round exit and could very well be his last.

Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest player ever but unlike LeBron, he failed in the first-round multiple times in his career. Without further ado, here are all of Jordan's first-round exits which effectively disqualify the notion that LeBron's first-round exit this year hurts The King's legacy.


1985 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In First-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks 1-3

Michael Jordan's rookie season was groundbreaking as he averaged 28.2 PPG en route to his Rookie of the Year Award. Jordan was already the best shooting guard in the NBA and he made the All-Star Team in his first season. His Airness was the driving force behind a very average Bulls team that finished 7th in the East.

In the first-round against the Milwaukee Bucks, Jordan was sensational averaging 29.3 PPG and 8.5 APG in a losing effort. There was not much more Jordan could have done here, but he was still unable to lead the Bulls to a victory in his first-round exit as a rookie.


1986 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In First-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics 0-3

Michael Jordan suffered a broken foot in his second year, which didn't help the Bulls record at all. Jordan only played 18 games that season, posting 22.7 PPG. Somehow, the Bulls still made the playoffs with Jordan absent for almost the entire season by finishing with a 30-52 record.

Jordan made a timely return to the Bulls during the postseason and has arguably the most impressive playoff performance by a young superstar ever. Against a dominant Boston Celtics superteam led by Larry Bird, Jordan posted 63 points in a losing effort in Game 3 which was the highlight of the season for Bulls fans. Of course, the Bulls were swept in 3 games which makes Jordan's second straight first-round exit.


1987 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In First-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics 0-3

Michael Jordan started the season healthy and never looked back. He posted an incredible scoring average of 37.1 PPG, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 40-42 record which was good for 5th in the Eastern Conference. With Doug Collins doing his best from the sidelines, Jordan has to carry a massive load on an average team.

Michael Jordan didn't have much help other than Charles Oakley, who averaged 14.5 PPG, but Jordan did everything for Chicago. Despite averaging 35.7 PPG in the first-round against his nemesis Boston Celtics, the Bulls were once again swept in 3 games.


1988 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In Second-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2

(Conference Semifinals) Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons 1-4

This was the season where Jordan finally solidified himself as the greatest player in the NBA and to many, the best ever. In only his 4th NBA season, he posted averages of 35.0 PPG and 5.9 APG en route to his first MVP Award and first Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jordan also bested superstar Dominique Wilkins in an iconic Dunk Contest.

Most importantly, Jordan made it out of the first-round by taking out the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 games. Unfortunately for Jordan and the Bulls, they ran into a new arch-nemesis in the Detroit Pistons who beat Jordan into the ground. Even though His Airness averaged 36.3 PPG during the postseason, he fell to the Pistons in the second-round.


1989 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In Third-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2

(Conference Semifinals) Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks 4-2

(Conference Finals) Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons 2-4

Suffering 4 straight early playoff exits was taking a toll on the best player in the game. Jordan had tremendous talent and the most impact on basketball, but his team wasn't good enough. Michael Jordan needed at least a bit of help, or else he would never progress in the playoffs. Unfortunately for Jordan, his hard work would end in disappointment again.

Head coach Doug Collins decided to play Jordan at the point guard spot for a strong part of the season, which boosted Jordan's stats tremendously. He averaged 32.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 8.0 APG while carrying the Bulls to the 5th seed in the East. Jordan sank the Cleveland Cavaliers with "The Shot", got through the Knicks in the second-round, but once again fell to the Bad Boy Pistons. Jordan averaged 34.8 PPG in the postseason but it wasn't enough yet again.


1990 Season: Michael Jordan Eliminated In Third-Round

(First-Round) Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks 3-1

(Conference Semifinals) Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia 76ers 4-1

(Conference Finals) Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons 3-4

Michael Jordan was getting closer by the year, and by 1999, he was closer than ever. He once again had a legendary season averaging 33.6 PPG en route to another scoring title, and the Bulls finished with a 55-27 record under head coach Phil Jackson. Of course, that was also the year Scottie Pippen improved and averaged 16.5 PPG during the season.

The Bulls blazed past the Bucks and 76ers in the first two rounds and played again in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately for Jordan and the Bulls, they fell to the Bad Boy Pistons yet again in 7 games. Despite averaging 36.7 PPG in the postseason, Jordan could not get over the hump and play in the Finals yet again.


Conclusion

LeBron James should not be criticized for losing in the first-round this year. He was playing against the 2nd seeded Phoenix Suns without Anthony Davis and got a man at 36 years of age, he gets a pass. Even if Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, and Andre Drummond are recognizable names on the Lakers roster; they did not contribute enough to help LeBron. For his first-ever first-round exit at 36 years of age, a loss doesn't affect LeBron's legacy.

Michael Jordan suffered through 6 straight playoff failures before getting over the hump, 3 of which were first-round exits. Even though Jordan was in his first 3 seasons, this is still a fact that has to be considered. A first-round exit in LeBron's 18th season is negligible when compared to Michael Jordan's playoff path to start his career.