In the mid-’90s, Michael Jordan was back at being the best player in the league, breaking records while at the same time winning multiple championships. The 1996 NBA draft came, which brought a new wave of future all-stars, MVPs, and NBA champions who immediately wanted to compete against the guy that they looked up to while growing up.
By far, the most popular player in that draft was none other than Allen Iverson. People wondered how a guard that size would succeed in the NBA, but Iverson did it. He showed moments of brilliance in his rookie season, so his first matchup against Jordan was a highly expected one.
In an interview with Speedy Morman from Complex, Iverson looked back at some of the most memorable moments from his long and illustrious career. One of them was the first encounter with Jordan in a game that featured the top 50 NBA players of all-time.
“The first time I ever talked to him was that year, playing in the rookie game. I’ll never forget it, because he said, ‘What’s up, you little b****?’ I’ll never forget it. I looked at him like … ‘Alright, man.’”Allen Iverson, via Complex
The first time they went up against each other in a game was only 32 days after their first encounter, and Iverson was able to get a bit of revenge that night.
“I got a lot of flak from my teammates. They were teasing me, ‘you’re not going to play your game tonight, because you play against your guy, you not going to come with it’,” “I was being this tough guy with them, but then I walked out there and saw him and …“I was a fan — that’s what I’ve always been. I’m thinking he glowing or whatever and I’m looking down, and I’m like, ‘Damn, he’s got on the Jordans’.
“That was my guy, he was my hero, but once they threw that ball in the air, you going to remember 23 tonight like you always have, but when you leave here, you going to remember No. 3 too.”Allen Iverson, via Complex
That night against Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Iverson showed just a glimpse of all the hype that will surround him for the rest of his career. He showcased on multiple occasions he is up for the challenge against anybody, which was especially evident in the 2001 NBA finals against the Lakers.
We sat down with @alleniverson and he shared his untold stories of Michael Jordan and Biggie with us.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 8, 2018