Reggie Miller isn’t your usual analyst. Sticking to this notion, the Pacers legend called Allen Iverson’s cross on Michael Jordan as a carry.
As a rookie in 1996-97, Iverson faced perhaps his toughest opponent ever when the 76ers went up against Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
Iverson looked like a rising superstar in the league right from his rookie campaign. The now legendary shooting guard was averaging 23.5 points per game, 7.5 assists per game, and 4.1 rebounds per game 41.6% shooting from the field.
AI was no slouch, and he wasn’t about to back down from anyone, not even the great Michael Jordan. Seizing his opportunity, the 76ers guard pulled off one of the more impressive crossovers you’ll see on perhaps the NBA GOAT.
The cross wasn’t just impressive because of how skillful it looked, but also because it came against Michael Jordan, a Defensive Player of the Year winner and a mainstay on the All-Defensive first team. You can watch the cross here.
Reggie Miller Calls Allen Iverson’s Cross On Michael Jordan A ‘Blatant Carry’
Miller doesn’t think the cross was all that if you’d ask him though. In fact, the former Pacer thinks Iverson committed a violation, carrying the ball in his hands, and thus not performing a legal NBA move.
If you look at the clip again, you can kind of tell where Miller’s criticism is coming from. Before moving the ball back to Jordan’s left and completing the crossover, he does appear to hold the ball for maybe a split-second too long in his left before bringing it back to his right.
However, is that really a carry though? While the ball does pause in Iverson’s hand, it isn’t a true carry because he never places his palm underneath the ball to change the direction of the dribble.
Instead, that brief pause is just a smart and extremely skillful hesitation move. Hesis are an incredibly common NBA move as players pull it off all the time during games. That brief pause is the defining characteristic of a hesitation move, and so long as the palm never goes under the hand, the move is completely legal.
It is easy to see why someone could think that Iverson’s move was a carry, including Reggie Miller, but when you look back on the tape, you can make out that the move was as clean as it comes.
Iverson took the best player in the NBA and his way with him on the play, toying him around like a puppet on a string. Jordan may be one of the best defenders of all time, but on that play, ‘The Answer’ had him beat.
Iverson’s handles are what he’s known, and it doesn’t matter if Jordan or anyone else is guarding him, he’s always a threat to take anyone’s ankles with his skillset.