Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James – Playoff Buzzer-Beaters
Last night, LeBron James proved just how clutch he can be in the game’s most crucial of moments. The Cavs, already down two games to one, were desperate for a win to even up the series and take back the home court advantage, and an almost effortless fade-away three by the two-time champion accomplished just that. After winning the game for Cleveland and sucking out all the momentum that Derrick Rose garnered with his own buzzer-beater, the Eastern Conference semi-final series is now a best-of-three affair – and it’s anyone’s game.
One of the many headlines to sprout from yesterday’s events is that LeBron and MJ are now tied for buzzer-beating game-winners in the Playoffs. We’re not debating whose shots were better or more important – we’re merely juxtaposing these fantastic feats to show you once and for all that LeBron is one of the clutchest players in the history of the game. Enjoy the retrospective below and get ready for an all-out war in Game 5.
We’ll start with each player’s first-ever game-winning buzzer-beater in the NBA Playoffs. Michael Jordan’s epic moment came in 1989 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a rather respectable defensive effort by Craig Ehlo. Still, MJ floated in the air, sank a jumper at the buzzer, and redefined the fist-pump. The shoes: Air Jordan IV “Bred”.
LeBron’s first buzzer-beating game-winner came in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, pre-Miami era. The Cavs were at risk of going down 0-2 to the Orlando Magic, who would go on to take the series and represent the East in the Finals, but LeBron evened up the series in dramatic fashion. Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier III.
What is it about Michael and the Cleveland Cavs? Jordan stuck it to Cleveland yet again by hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner and sending the franchise packing – again. The moment was so epic that Jordan Brand later commemorated MJ’s dominance over the franchise with a “Cavs” colorway of the Air Jordan IV Retro. The shoes: Air Jordan VIII “True Red”
The second buzzer-beating game-winner in LeBron’s professional history happened in Miami against the Indiana Pacers. The two teams were building quite an entertaining rivalry and this game-sealing lay-up proved to be huge because the Heat went on to win the NBA Finals that year. The shoes: Nike LeBron 10 Elite PE
The only buzzer-beater in this compilation belongs to Michael Jordan, who took Game 1 with this pretty 20-foot jumper over Byron Russell. After taking the W, MJ displayed a much more subdued fist-pump. The shoes: Air Jordan XII “Playoffs”
LeBron and the Cavs were facing a daunting 3-1 deficit against the Chicago Bulls, but the two-time NBA Champion showed why he is still the most feared player in the league. He casually sank a fadeaway three on the baseline to tie up the pivotal series. The shoes: Nike LeBron 12 PE