Legend is a term that shouldn’t be thrown around loosely, something we lose track of on every level of basketball these days. Raymond Lewis and Earl The Pearl? Playground legends. Go Get It and The Pharmacist? No. It’s not a knock on the latter two, but they’re just not at that level.
If you watched last night’s 76ers/Mavs game, you heard a lot of talk about one legend (Allen Iverson) while seeing another legend (Jason Kidd) put in work on the court. Kidd picked apart a weak Philly backcourt — one that needs Iverson — for 22 points, 11 dimes, six boards, four steals and three blocks.
At this stage in their careers, Kidd and Iverson are in two wildly different places. Kidd is QB’ing one of the better teams in the League and taking advantage of what might be his last chance at a championship, while A.I. is somewhere between semi-retirement and hoping to catch on with a squad headed for the Lottery, where he might be a starter.
Both are surefire Hall of Famers. Both are living legends in the game. Kidd and Iverson are obviously very different players as far as style, but pound-for-pound, who has had the overall better career?
In his 16th season, Kidd has career averages of 13.7 points, 9.2 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals. In 115 playoff games, he’s been good for 15.2 ppg, 8.9 apg, 7.4 rpg, and 1.9 spg. Kidd has played in two NBA Finals without a championship. He has nine All-Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year, nine All-Defensive Team nods, and six All-NBA nods. He ranks second in League history in assists, sixth in steals, ninth in three-pointers made, and 65th in rebounding as a point guard. He’s led the League in assists five times.
Iverson has 14 seasons in, averaging 27.0 points, 6.2 dimes, 3.7 boards and 2.2 steals. In 71 playoff games, he’s put up 29.7 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.8 rpg and 2.0 spg. Iverson has been to one NBA Finals without a title. He has a league MVP, Rookie of the Year, 10 All-Star nods (with two All-Star MVPs) and seven All-NBA nods. He ranks 17th all-time in scoring, 12th in steals, 10th in free throws and 23rd in field goals, having led the League in scoring four times and in steals three times.
Those are the numbers. Throwing in whatever else you feel is relevant, who has had a better career?