Allen Iverson was more loved than Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry, says Matt Barnes

A.I. was one of the first set of players to heavily influence the game of basketball.


Allen Iverson was more loved than Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry, says Matt Barnes

Allen Iverson and Matt Barnes

Allen Iverson is one of the players who revolutionized the game of basketball. Similar to how Stephen Curry has changed the game with his shooting, A.I. had his generation of younger athletes fall in love with his ridiculous handles. From the Iverson crossover to various other signature moves, A.I. was looked upon as the next greatest player.

ADVERTISEMENT

While ‘The Answer’ has never won a championship, his impact on the game was much bigger than the ones with rings. In the recent episode of Podcast P, Matt Barnes explained how influential Iverson was compared to today’s athletes.

I've got to play with Kobe, Shaq, Steph, KD, I've never seen anybody love a person more than people loved Allen Iverson. Never seen in my life... I mean he did so much for the game, on and off the court, culture, fashion, his game...
Matt Barnes said

The four-time scoring champion led the league multiple times in all aspects. Players like Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant have impacted the game equally. However, for a brief amount of time, Iverson took the basketball world by storm. Not only was it due to his game, but also his aura off the court.

Allen Iverson once dominated over legendary duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant

In the 2001 NBA Finals, the 76ers faced the reigning champs, the Los Angeles Lakers. Led by Shaq and Kobe, the Lakers were the favorites to win the championship, as they were coming off three consecutive sweeps in the West. The Sixers on the other hand had made it out of the East after two seven-game series. Iverson, the captain of the ship played his best basketball during the same postseason.

ADVERTISEMENT

Going up against the dominant duo, Iverson did not waste any time resting. A.I. was on the bench for a total of one minute in that Finals series. Averaging 35.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in the series, Iverson was more than exhausted. ‘The Answer’ played even while having multiple injuries. At 25, this was peak dominance. However, even after such efforts, the series lasted for just five games.

This was one of the most iconic postseason performances in the history of the Association, following which Allen Iverson became the most popular athlete in the league. While A.I. heavily influenced the game in the 2000s, the modern audience may not be so familiar with the impact that he brought to the game. Nevertheless, the Hall of Famer will always be looked upon by the all-time greats.

In case you missed it: