They say that pound for pound, Allen Iverson is the best basketball player to ever grace the basketball hardwood. The lack of height, Iverson made up with heart and often went through many obstacles in his personal and professional career that would break many people emotionally and physically. On the other hand, Iverson never backed down from any challenge, which is something he proved while playing in the NBA for so many successful years.
In an older interview done with Stephen A. Smith, Iverson was asked about NBA players being softer these days than before. There is a notion among numerous fans today that NBA players got softer and that the game is less physical than it was years ago. Iverson was also very direct about this topic by saying how he is not tolerating weak players either as teammates or opponents. In his mind, you also have to be a warrior to compete at the highest level.
"I'm a warrior dawg. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't have any heart, I don't need you stepping up on a basketball court. You can't play basketball if you are soft, and basketball players know what I'm talking about. I play hard every night, and I get beat up, but you don't see me play the game dirty. I don't get in a fight with dudes.
It's hard to measure toughness, but it's evident the role NBA players have today is much different than before. Nowadays, numerous NBA players are no longer just athletes but assets for their teams with the valuable platforms they have. In terms of dedication, star players are indeed taking rests more than ever before, and load management has become a problem NBA as an organization is trying to tackle. Some of them are the old-school type players that are genuinely tough and have that mindset, but it's hard to compare any of them to Allen Iverson. He represented that mindset wholeheartedly throughout his entire career.