Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are possibly the 2 most iconic NBA players from the 2000s. Both of them had a healthy respect for the other.
There are few sports underdog stories that can quite captivate your imagination like Allen Iverson can. This was a man who stood at 5’11” and 165 pounds soaking wet, but holds the 7th highest scoring average ever.
Allen Iverson was a natural athlete in the mould of Michael Jordan. Most fans of the Sixers legend stand in agreement that Iverson could also have carved out a successful NFL career.
His quickness, fleetness of foot and ability to fake his opponents out with his jerky movements is truly all-time. Iverson was not a man with a plan, but he sent men with plans scurrying back to their stat sheets.
Kobe Bryant says Allen Iverson at 6’5″ would’ve been the best player ever
AI’s most memorable moments as a basketball player came during the Sixers’ 2001 NBA playoff run. Iverson led a team with no 3-point shooting and a clogged lane to a Finals against the Kobe-Shaq Lakers.
The Lakers were heavily tipped to win the NBA championship after barging through their Western Conference with a whopping 11-0 record. However, Iverson’s sensational Finals Game 1 performance led Philly to a shock road win in Los Angeles.
Allen Iverson had several other battles with Kobe Bryant through the course of his 15-year NBA career. He put Kobe to the ultimate test during his first few years in the league.
Kobe reportedly even looked up how great white sharks operated in order to get a feel for Iverson’s game. This obsession paid off as Kobe became one of the league’s best defenders at the time. He still held Iverson in the highest regard, once remarking:
“We’re all fortunate that Allen Iverson is 6 foot 5, otherwise it would have been over for the league. Pack up and goodbye.”