Along the lines of the Abraham Lincoln - John F. Kennedy eerie similarities, I present the parallels between the Chicago Bulls (and Michael Jordan) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (and Mario Lemieux). Not to be confused with ESPN's presentation (I came up with all these by my own research). Well, without further ado...
The Similarities:
1. Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan started their NHL and NBA careers in the same year, 1984. Both of them won their respective "top rookie" honors.
2. Both Lemieux and Jordan are well known for their ability to score (goals scored and FG made).
3. Both, upon entry to the "big leagues", had a peer who dominated primarily with the ability to pass and record assists (Wayne Gretzky, and Earvin "Magic" Johnson).
4. They both became the leading scorers of their respective leagues for the first two times in coinciding seasons (1987-88,1988-89)
5. Both, early in their careers, were one man teams, i.e. the only good player on a bad team.
6. They also had to watch their respective "passing peer" win 3 titles in the 1984-85, '86-87, and '87-88 seasons (those seasons, both the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Lakers won league titles).
7. Their teams never really became respectable in the postseason until the arrival of an key, underrated defensive player (goalie Tom Barrasso, and Bill Cartwright), both arriving in 1988.
8. They both won their first league titles in the 1990-91 season.
9. Both teams wrapped up their series away from home.
10. Lemieux and Jordan were named their respective playoff MVPs that season, as well as the following one.
11. Both teams successfully defended their titles the next season.
12. Both teams clinched 2nd title in Chicago Stadium.
13. Along the way to that second title, both teams had to absorb some "foul play" inflicted by New York teams in the 2nd round of the playoffs (Mario had his hand fractured by a slash from Adam Graves of the Rangers, and assorted Bulls players, including Jordan, were cut and physically punished by Knicks players).
14. The common formula for both teams' success in winning and repeating: Offense that shined and sparkled and grabbed headlines, but an underrated defense was what paved the way to success.
15. During the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, both Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan missed more than 75% of those two seasons (Lemieux played in less than half of 93-94 and sat out all of 94-95, Jordan "retired" for 93-94 and came back after the All-Star break in 94-95).
16. Similarly, each team failed to win titles in those two seasons.
17. Both players, upon coming back, had a star player to rely on, in a Lone Ranger relies on Tonto sort of way (Jaromir Jagr and Scottie Pippen). Pippen and Jagr really became better players as a result of Jordan's and Lemieux's absence.
18. Both Pippen and Jagr have traits similar to Jordan and Lemieux, in that both are very good scorers and underrated as passers.
19. In the 1995-6 season, each team played a total of 18 playoff games, but with different results (the Bulls won in 3 over Miami, 5 over New York, 4 over Orlando, and 6 over Seattle. The Penguins won in 6 over Washington, 5 over New York, and lost in 7 games to Florida).
20. In the two seasons since their respective comebacks, both Lemieux and Jordan led their leagues in scoring, and both won regular season MVP in the first season back, but were runner up in the second (to Dominik Hasek and Karl Malone).
Well, what do you think??? Scary, huh? Enough of that!
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