LeBron James has been well-known to dominate first-round playoff matchups. The Los Angeles Lakers star famously has not lost in the opening round of the playoffs at any point in his first 17 years in the NBA.
His sterling record currently stands at 14-0. While most would expect that to be the best mark in the history of the league, he’s actually a couple of series wins short. Two celebrated Lakers in Robert Horry and Derek Fisher actually hold the edge over King James.
LeBron James is 14-0 in the first round in his career.
Under the current playoff format (since 1984), only Robert Horry and Derek Fisher have a better series record in that round (16-0).
He has only faced a team with a win percentage better than .550 once. pic.twitter.com/TyQzVsDYsJ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 23, 2021
But while the records held by those two Laker greats are impressive, it’s come alongside some all-time great teammates. LeBron James meanwhile has acted as the focal point on every team he’s ever been on. As the true barometer for his own team’s success, I’d say that’s more impressive. But that’s not to discount the historic achievements of both Horry and Fisher.
Robert Horry has been a winner throughout his career. The 7-time NBA champion played six and a half seasons for the Lakers, winning three championships and winning every single first round series alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. What’s crazy about Horry’s streak is that he only played 16 seasons in the league, which means he made the playoffs and advanced beyond it in every season of his career. He was featured in three different title-winning teams: Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets, Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs, and the Kobe-Shaq Lakers.
Derek Fisher has had a more interesting route to get to his 16-0. While Horry played for three all-timer great teams, Fisher played on five different squads with only his Lakers stints resulting in championship runs. He missed the playoffs in his lone two years on the Golden State Warriors (Only true Dubs fans would remember), and managed to make it while on the Utah Jazz, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Fisher played on the Dallas Mavericks, but left them mid-season in a controversial move back in the 2012-13 season.
LeBron James has now made it to his 15th NBA Playoffs. He’s undoubtedly facing his toughest first-round matchup yet. But the defending champion Lakers are no underdogs in this series, as the King looks to continue his march towards owning the best first round record in NBA history.