The 2000s NBA has a long list of all-around scorers. There are so many great scorers in that era that we can even categorize them by tiers. If we are to do so, the names Vince Carter and Allen Iverson would surely be on the top of that list.
A playoff duel with AI
Carter and Iverson faced off numerous times in their careers, but their most epic duel has got to be the seven-game series between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2001.
Both All-Stars gave it all they got from Game 1 to Game 7, but it was Carter who couldn’t even remember what specific game it was, but according to “Vinsanity,” it was the most memorable game of his career.
“There’s the one in the playoffs versus the Sixers when A.I. and I were going back and forth,” Carter told Los Angeles Times in 2020. “I scored 50 that game. That was probably it, my most memorable, because of the back-and-forth with one another.”
Like a true leader, Carter admitted that he didn’t intend to drop 50 on the Sixers that night, but he felt the need to hit back because A.I. and his team were being relentless the entire game.
“It was like, ‘A.I. was the best player on the floor, and his team did what they needed to do on their floor. What are you going to do about that?’ I felt like I had to respond,” he confessed. “It didn’t have to be a 50-point game. You just had to find a way for your team to win. Well, it turned out to be a 50-point game.”
A dog fight even in the regular season
That one playoff game was probably the one that popped up on top of Carter’s head when he did the interview. But apparently, he already had a memorable clash with “The Answer” during the regular season, on January 21, 2001, to be exact.
As expected, Carter and Iverson engaged in a dog fight from tipoff to the final buzzer. A.I. finished the game with a whopping 51 points, while “Air Canada” almost logged a triple-double, having racked up 39 points, ten boards, and eight assists.
The game went overtime, but the Raptors walked away with the W, 110-106, and Carter loved every bit of it.
"I told [Iverson] in overtime `This is what they want to see, a great game.' It's just fun," Carter said. "These are the kind of games you love to be in. It's also good when you win of course."
Carter and Iverson were both scoring machines but two different animals. One was a unique highflyer, and the other was a fearless attacker for his size. However, the pair’s epic rivalry proves they are both natural-born competitors that would do anything in their power to win.