Skip to main content

"Allen Iverson is Tupac with a jump shot"

Tupac Shakur & Allen Iverson

Cultural critic compares Iverson and Tupac in their impact

Allen Iverson and his impact on basketball and culture during his prime were compared to another great artist, the late great Tupac Shakur. They did completely different things in their careers, but the impact was the same, much more significant than many people might initially expect.

The similarity between two legends

In the mid-'90s, Allen Iverson came to fame even before his first professional NBA game. As a high-school prodigy in both basketball and football, Iverson received much attention from the media. Unfortunately, that attention would turn negative after the shooting at a bowling alley connected with him and his friends, which almost cost Iverson his future as a professional athlete.

Luckily, Iverson was enrolled in Georgetown University and was later the first pick in one of the most iconic draft classes of all time in 1996. Iverson soon took the league by storm, showcasing he is one of the best pure scorers in the NBA, culminating with the MVP award in 2001. By then, Iverson was a fashion and cultural icon because he brought 'the streets' and hip hop into the NBA in a big way, showing the incredible connection between the two.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

In that sense, cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson compared Iverson to another legendary artist Tupac Amaru Shakur. For him, the connection between the two lies in the fact they never wanted to hide who they are and where they're from in terms of their African-American background. Even after becoming globally recognized and successful, they never wanted to change their demeanor or present themselves in a different light they weren't accustomed to before their immense success.

"In a sense, Allen Iverson is Tupac with a jumpshot," says cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson. "Like Tupac, he carries his history with him. Usually, America says to somebody, If you want to be successful, you gotta be blanched, you gotta be whitewashed. This is the United States of Amnesia—we want to distance ourselves from everything. Get over your blackness. Now here comes this basketball player who understands that the ghetto is a portable metaphor for how he has faced odds and won. Like Tupac, he says to America, 'It's not that I've transformed—you have changed your understanding of what is capable of coming out of a black body from the ghetto with writing all over it and cornrows, the very things that once signified the worst elements of blackness to you.'"

They changed the game

Tupac came to fame before Iverson, and his life ended a month before Iverson played his first game in the NBA. However, you can say Iverson continued Tupac's journey in promoting a different perspective of a young black male from the ghetto that wasn't so prevalent in the mainstream at that time.

Corporate America at that time and even the NBA weren't able to handle or figure out someone who was seen as a role model to so many kids worldwide but looked 'inappropriate' by their old-fashioned standards. Instead, Iverson changed the game and gave the players more freedom to express themselves more freely on top of being impactful on how the game was played. Like Tupac, Iverson was seen as somewhat an outcast despite the incredible fame and fans worldwide, but their fans were always there for them and will carry their legacy long into the future.

Kendrick-Perkins-Anthony-Davis-LeBron-James

"Lakers team is set up on championship or bust" - Kendrick Perkins buries all claims of LeBron James making way into 2023 MVP race

Former NBA Champions Tristan Thompson and Kendrick Perkins stand on parallel ends citing LeBron James’ inclusion in the 2023 MVP race.

Grant Hill recalls competing against the original Dream Team

“My head was terrible” – Grant Hill shares a funny story about his bad haircut before historic college 1991 Final Four

Grant Hill talks about how his infamous haircut prevents him from watching his old Duke highlights

January 26, 2023; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic twists his ankle during the game against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Footprint Center

Troubles in Dallas? – Luka Doncic leaves the game early with left ankle sprain

There's still no timetable for Doncic's return after he suffered a twisted ankle in a 99-95 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Michael Jordan

"I'll bring back some laughter to this team" — Michael Jordan was the Bulls' funny guy before he became its tyrant

Before the All-Star Break in the 1985-86 season, the Chicago Bulls had a poor 17-34 record. The young Michael Jordan wanted to help his team in any way he could.

Why Shaq sold his Auntie Anne’s business: Black people don’t like Pretzels

"I didn't want to be greatest" — Shaquille O'Neal on the sneaky reason why he didn't aim to be the GOAT during his playing days

Shaquille O'Neal planned on delivering the most arrogant speech ever if he passed Wilt Chamberlain in points.

Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Delonte West (13) tries to dribble around Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20)

"I didn't think it was going to be that steep" — Delonte West's honest thoughts on giving Gordon Hayward a wet willie

A closer look at the incident reveals Delonte West actually gave Gordon Hayward a dry willie.

TNT anchor Kenny Smith introduces Team Shaq general manager Shaquille O'Neal and Team Chuck general manager Charles Barkley

“I never feel in competition with those guys” - Kenny Smith reveals why he, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley are a perfect fit on TV

Kenny Smith recently dived into why the brother hood between himself, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley manifests itself on the big screen