Allen Iverson officially retired from the NBA on opening night, and he joined Tracy McGrady, Jason Kidd, and Grant Hill as retirees to start the season. Iverson was a polarizing figure during his time in the NBA, and his legacy is debated to this day. He talked to SLAM about his career, and LeBron:
Did you hear LeBron called you pound-for-pound the greatest player ever?
How’d that make you feel?
AI: I mean, it made me feel good, because I know how great he is. But that’s my little man. I know he feels like that. He’s my little man. For him to say that, he didn’t have to say that for me to know it and acknowledge or whatever, just like he knows that I know that he’s the best playing the game. It was great, I think, for him to say that and for people in the world to acknowledge it and respect it, because it came from him. I love him for that.
Is that a part of your legacy that you’re really proud of, as a smaller guy who fought a lot of tough battles?
AI: Yeah. You know how it go. See, the questions that you’re asking me, you know the answers to already, especially if you’re any type of basketball dude. All us dudes who know basketball, we all believe in the same thing. At the end of the day, all of us know what time it is. All of us know that it’s Michael Jordan, and then Kobe came along, and Kobe is like Mike and he plays like him. All of us know that we can debate whether it’s Mike or LeBron and nobody else is in that conversation—all of us know that, man. All of us know it. All you gotta know is it’s basketball. It’s easy, man.
Allen Iverson is certainly the best player under 6 feet to ever play in the NBA. He was a great scorer, but his ability to constantly play winning basketball was always in question. There’s a reason he never found a team after 2010. He is no doubt a hall of famer, and here’s hoping that he comes on as an analyst somewhere.