Allen Iverson‘s legacy in the NBA is one of the most significant and most unique, as AI’s influence on fans and the league is comparable to the greatest players ever to play. Aside from being one of the flashiest players ever, combining speed and skill to embarrass defenders and perform spectacular moves, “The Answer” was also an icon outside the court. The swagger and aura around AI’s style and presence made many fans fall in love with the game and see a different side of the NBA.
Surely Iverson is one of the best guards in the history of the NBA, as his peers and fans would agree wholeheartedly on that point. 11x All-Star appearances, 4x Scoring Championships, one MVP award, and numerous other accolades are the simple proof of Allen’s dominance. The only thing missing in Iverson’s illustrious career is a championship, but he was always regarded as a winner despite that. The fire AI played with is unmatched, as that allowed him to play bigger than his height.
Even though he never played on super-teams with numerous All-Stars, Iverson’s teams were always a problem to stop simply because of him. The 2000 run with the Sixers is the best example of a man single handily almost carrying a team to the promised land. That leadership and ability left a massive mark on everybody who played against Iverson, and especially those who played alongside him.
Chris Webber is set to enter the Hall-of-Fame soon, as a big piece about his career came out on The Athletic. Webber talked about the greatest players he ever played with and named Iverson the #1 guy without any doubt. Even though the duo didn’t spend even two full seasons together, that was enough for Webber to be convinced this is the best teammate he’s ever had:
“A.I. is the best athlete that I’ve ever seen in my life. Period. He’s the best player I’ve ever played with. Period. And I wish I could have got there before — I wish I could have got there with a good knee. Out of all the players that played with him, I averaged the most points. It made me feel good and it pissed me off because I think I could’ve given him seven or eight more points. It was an honor to play with him. I think about the fans of Philly, and they get a terrible rap, but they showed me love when I shouldn’t have. They showed me at a time where they didn’t have to.”Chris Webber, The Athletic
Webber got traded to the Sixers during the 2004-2005 season, forming a star duo with Iverson. But as Webber was already in his 30’s at the time and battling constant knee injuries, it wasn’t the greatest timing, as C-Webb never got a real chance to be the right-hand guy to AI. After a season and a half, Webber would get traded again, this time to the Pistons, ending their short time together.
But despite the fact Webber wasn’t able to help Iverson as much as he wanted, he still saw what type of player and talent AI was. Webber has played with some great players throughout his career, so this is a genuine compliment and testament to the respect Allen Iverson has in the NBA family to this day. A true icon of the game.