Allen Iverson has a special place in Kevin Garnett’s heart, and he considers him the greatest guard to ever play in the NBA. His reason for that is not only connected from the basis of a pure basketball skillset but a deeper connection between the two legends.
Iverson and Garnett share the same origin story
The friendship between Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett started in the mid-’90s when both were the top high-school prospects and the next big thing in the NBA. Garnett made it to the NBA straight out of high school while Iverson decided to take his talents to Georgetown University. After two years in college, Iverson decided it was time to join the elite company in the NBA, and right off the bat, he didn’t disappoint.
In his autobiography KG: A to Z, Kevin Garnett details an interesting bond between him and Iverson that is actually bigger than basketball. Their origin story is incredibly similar, with both of them coming from challenging backgrounds in which most kids never fulfill their dreams and are viewed as outcasts. Iverson represented a new generation of NBA players that were unapologetic and represented the hip-hop generation that was vocal, assertive, and wanted to make a name for themselves.
“In years to come, both AI and I represented things that hadn’t been represented before. We represented kids who worked their asses off. Kids coming from fewer opportunities. Misunderstood kids. Kids who needed a second chance. Kids plugged into originality. Kids ready to beat out a new path. As time went on, AI and I stayed close. As he developed in the NBA, his skill set sharpened to where he became my favorite player to watch.”
Iverson is the best guard in NBA history
Garnett himself was a true student of the game, and he studied his opponents to the slightest details. He also admired various guards, how they impacted the game and his breakdown on how different guards approach the game. He analyzed the difference in approach between Terrell Brandon, who often gets overlooked, and Iverson in how they played the game.
For Garnett, there is no question Iverson was his favorite, and the respect he had for AI was real not just because of his skill set but also because of the same mindset and background they both came from to basketball stardom.
“There are two kinds of guards. Garnett says. First, there’s a Terrell Brandon. A go-getter. Very structured. He knew where everybody was supposed to be. Doe fits in that category. Then you got Sam Cassell and AI. Just give them the ball. They get buckets. They know how to get money. If I had been a guard, I’d wanted to be like AI. He and I were family. No cross words. No falling out. His mom was my mom. His crew was my crew. AI is a real one. AI from Day 1.”
Throughout the second part of the ’90s and pretty much the entire 00’s era Iverson and Garnett established themselves as one of the best players in the NBA. They played different positions, but their mindset, approach to the game and dominance were almost the same. They were beloved by their fans because they were honest and weren’t afraid to express their emotions. Fans worldwide recognized those raw emotions and talent, which is one of the main reasons they are considered true NBA legends and players that uniquely impacted the game.