In the NBA Playoffs, Michael Jordan was 0–6 against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.

Both Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, two of the greatest players in NBA history and the first names most people would pick for the Mt. Rushmore of talent, changed the game by making professional basketball extremely popular around the world and by dominating the court with incredible skill. While Jordan was an incredible athlete with his trademark hops, Bird was a methodical and slow shooter who knew how to win games.

But even though Jordan was younger and more physically fit than Bird when they faced off, the legendary Bulls player never had a winning record. Jordan never did defeat Bird in the playoffs, in actuality. Bird enjoyed taking down the youthful sensation on numerous occasions, even though that was mostly due to Jordan’s youth and lack of support. Generally speaking, their regular-season matches are comparable. This is the outcome of the face-off between two of the best players ever.


Larry Bird versus Michael Jordan 0–6 in the NBA Playoffs

Michael Jordan had to suffer defeats at the hands of Boston Celtics player Larry Bird before he rose to become the league’s most dominant player. Jordan’s Bulls lost against Bird’s Celtics in the postseason each of the last two years. Jordan was just 23 years old in 1986 when the first of the two incidents occurred.

Jordan’s Bulls would be swept by Bird’s Celtics in the opening round of the 1986 playoffs. Jordan fought hard to get the Bulls into the playoffs as the eighth seed, but facing Bird and the top-seeded Celtics would be a difficult challenge. Bulls had no chance, as was to be expected.


With an average of 43.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 5.7 APG, Jordan was the finest player on the court, but his lone supporting cast member was Orlando Woolridge (21.0 PPG). Kevin McHale (28.3 PPG), Dennis Johnson (19.0 PPG), Danny Ainge (17.7 PPG), and Robert Parish (17.0 PPG) all provided Bird (28.3 PPG) with a lot of assistance. Michael put up a historic 63 points in Game 2, but clearly the Bulls had no chance and were destroyed.


Jordan, now 24 years old, was bound to cross paths with Bird and the Celtics once more a year later. Jordan was unfortunate to learn that the outcome was the same. Even though Jordan finished the series with 35.7 points per game, the Bulls lost for the second consecutive year. Once again, Bird (26.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG) had a lot of assistance from McHale, Ainge, and Johnson. With the exception of Charles Oakley (20.0 PPG and 15.3 RPG), Michael was unable to overcome the #1 seed for the second consecutive game. Jordan needed a team to defeat the formidable Celtics, but he would establish a precedent as the league’s top individual player.

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