The general consensus is that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. You’ll find a few holdouts that will tell you it’s Bill Russell or someone else from a bygone era, but, for the most part, the answer will be Jordan. However, for a generation (my generation) that grew up watching the NBA in the 90s and early 2000s, Jordan — for all his greatness — wasn’t necessarily everyone’s favorite player.
Everyone wished to be like Mike, but he operated on such a different level that being Mike always felt unattainable. For many coming up in that time period, Allen Iverson was the one that represented an attainable goal. He was of a normal height and didn’t jump out of the gym, but still dominated with his skills as a ball-handler, shooter, and just all-around scorer of the basketball. You could dream of putting in the work to be like A.I., and that’s why, at 42 years old, he’s still a marquee attraction at the BIG3.
Iverson wasn’t just the guy that had normal size in a sea of giants, but he also came from the struggle and emerged as a star. For LeBron James, that’s what set Iverson apart from Jordan, and, as he told Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins, is what made Iverson a god to kids like him.