Former NBA player and sharpshooter Kyle Korver opened up about his relationship with Allen Iverson during their time with the Philadelphia 76ers. He shared that Iverson was one of his favorite teammates since he encouraged and motivated him to be the best version of himself.
Iverson was an incredible teammate
Kyle Korver made a guest appearance on the JJ Redick podcast recently, where he talked about numerous things from his NBA career and personal life. He reflects on his first few years in the NBA when he was drafted by the Sixers, which allowed him to play alongside one of the biggest NBA icons, Allen Iverson. At that time, Iverson was already a superstar in the league and one of the most prolific scorers, and even though a lot of times players of that caliber don't really care much about rookies, Iverson did the opposite.
He wanted to help out Korver in finding his place under the sun with the Sixers, making sure he feels comfortable and encouraged to do what he does best, and that was shooting the ball exceptionally well from pretty much anywhere on the floor.
AI was amazing to me. I was a second-round pick, and I am not guaranteed the first year or the second year, and what you need more than anything was some confidence. So we didn't have anybody on the team that could shoot at all. So if you can't shoot, why would I pass it to you? I will just shoot it. He had his arm around me every day, saying shot the ball and breeding confidence in me. He is a legend, and he is in another stratosphere. His legendary, iconic career and personality and to have that person with me encouraging was amazing for me.
Kyle Korver, via JJ Redick
The man of many talents
Iverson was a naturally gifted athlete, and before he played for Georgetown University on a basketball scholarship, he was equally as talented in football. Colleges were lining up to sign him to a football scholarship in the same way as they did in basketball, but eventually, he chose basketball and never looked back. His versatility and god-given talent enabled him to excel in almost everything he did, and according to Korver, he had other skills that Korver was able to witness firsthand.
He was the most talented individual; he could do anything. Whether it was sports, basketball obviously, watch him throw a football like a laser. He could sing, draw. He would draw these characters of people on the bus or in the locker room, and it was the funniest thing ever. Whatever he put his mind to, with a little bit of work, he was going to figure it out.
Kyle Korver, via JJ Redick
Unfortunately, Iverson never won NBA championships, and even though he was one of the most prolific scorers in the league, he never had significant success in the playoffs. For the majority of his career with the Sixers, they couldn't surround him with enough talent to make that extra step, and when he joined the Nuggets, that team was so dysfunctional it just didn't work out.
This interview by Korver gives a different perspective on Iverson, a true leader who wanted to see his teammates succeed. As we all know, Korver developed into one of the most premier shooters in the NBA and had a long and successful career playing alongside a few great NBA players. However, Iverson's impact on him early in his career gave him confidence that he could play in the NBA and be successful. Incentivizing your teammates is a true sign of leadership, and Iverson was the epitome of that.