Derek J. Hernandez

NBA Playoff Participants & Their ‘Mad Men’ Counterparts


The NBA Playoffs are in full swing and, as usual, there has been no shortage of drama.

The Spurs and Clippers treated us to perhaps the greatest first round series of all-time, we just had THREE game-winning buzzer beaters in consecutive games earlier this week, and it was found out that LeBron James basically pulled a Leeroy Jenkins to put himself in position for his game-winner against the Bulls.


NBA fans have been on an emotional roller coaster for sure, but fans of one of the most beloved dramas of all-time would more than welcome that type of drama.

*Spoilers Ahead*

If finding out Betty had less than a year to live and seeing Sally read her last wishes weren’t enough, we all came to the very real realization during the end credits of S7 Ep13 WE WERE A WEEK AWAY FROM THE VERY LAST EPISODE OF MAD MEN. It’s done. Game over, man.

To pay homage to two of my current obsessions, and to briefly take my mind off the inevitable end of one of my favorite shows ever, I present to you my attempt at coming up with comparisons between current NBA playoff participants and Mad Men characters. I hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed hating Glen Bishop.

LeBron James = Don Draper

Everything in the NBA revolves around LeBron James just like everything starts and ends with Don Draper in the Mad Men Universe. Other than these two men being the unquestioned stars in both of their vehicles, these two had to be matched up for a variety of reasons.

Both are masters of their profession, both are key players in advertising, and both will just up and leave their loved ones behind in the worst way possible.

LeBron’s “Carousel” moment? To me it was when James realized the scope of his powers as he went Super Saiyan against the Celtics in game six of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.

Dwight Howard = Pete Campbell

Throughout his career he beefed with elder statesmen he would never be as skilled as, came off as egotistical and spoiled, and knocked up a young woman he had no intention of settling down with.

I could have been describing Mad Men‘s lovable d-bag Pete Campbell just as easily as I could have been nailing Dwight Howard’s career so far.*

This one was almost too easy.

*For those that don’t know, Howard has Peggy’d more than a few ladies in his life

Sources: &

Sources: &

Blake Griffin = Joan Harris

If only the Red Mamba‘s Spurs were still playing…

Blake Griffin isn’t a bombshell by any means, but just like Joan he had to shake off his reputation as being more style than substance. Not only does Griffin’s refined game scream desperation for a ring, but his monster dunks over seven foot behemoths are as beautiful as the sultry redhead…almost.



Steph Curry – Peggy Olson

Some may argue that the real star of Mad Men isn’t Don, but rather his former secretary Peggy Olson. I’d say it’s debatable, but it really depends on what season we’re looking at. (Burger) Chef Curry is in the same boat. It’s still Lebron’s league, but Curry just took advantage of The King’s Draper-esque sabbatical earlier this season to temporarily take the crown as the league’s best player.

Both had skills that were overlooked due to physical attributes, but both stayed motivated to get win one of their profession’s top prizes.*

*Peggy would have totally won that Clio for her St. Joseph’s spot if it wasn’t for Lou Avery’s ridiculousness. You know it. 


Paul Pierce = Roger Sterling

Roger is my favorite character from the show so I was planning to think long and hard about this one…except I didn’t have to.

Paul Pierce is without a doubt the NBA Playoffs’ Roger Sterling.

Both are wily veterans way past their prime that spew epic one-liners while pulling off one more power move (Pierce’s late-game heroics, Roger’s McCann Erickson deal).

You’re supposed to hate these guys, but you have to much respect for them to do so. Oh, and both were mugged* in their lifetimes.

*”Being stabbed” = “Being mugged” in this exercise.

Source: GQ Magazine

Source: GQ Magazine

Now that we’ve covered most of the major players, let’s run off some rapid-fire comparisons…

Other NBA/Mad Men Comparisons

James Harden is Stan Rizzo: Because BEARDS…

Austin Rivers is Glen Bishop: I feel bad about this one considering Austin’s recent playoff success, but Weiner-Rivers syndrome is very real.

JR Smith is Michael Ginsberg: Talented, but erratic. Boom or bust. Plus, it’s only a matter of time until Smith rips his nipple off while doing one of his ridiculous three-point celebrations.

Jimmy Butler is Sally Draper: Butler’s exceeded expectations from where he was at early in his career, is dealing with the ugly Thibs/Bulls organization divorce, and has had a front row seat regarding all the Derrick Rose drama. Yeah, he’s totally Sally.

Zach Randolph is Megan Calvet: Not really. I just wanted an excuse to type, wait for it, Z-Bo Z-Bo ZOUUUUUUU


David Blatt is Bert Cooper: Figureheads gonna figurehead…

Mike Conley is Ken Cosgrove: Because this…


Randy Wittman is Grandpa Gene: Wittman’s latest rant reminded me of Gene’s dustups with Don. Also, they both always look/looked confused.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Here’s to AMC acting as our carousel after this Sunday’s finale. May they let us travel around and around and back home again

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