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Friday, August 28th, 2009 at 8:00 am  |  228 responses

Top 50: Allen Iverson, no. 50

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Lang Whitaker

A few years ago, a friend of mine had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with Allen Iverson. The Answer was doin’ work for Reebok, taking an overseas tour to move kicks. It was just a few weeks before training camp was starting, yet according to my guy, Iverson never set foot in a gym, didn’t touch a basketball the entire time. (He also said that on the long flight from the US to Asia, AI didn’t bring any magazines, books, music, etc. — just a Monopoly board game, which he and his crew played incessantly.)

Upon their return from Asia, my friend shared with me Iverson’s apparent lack of dedication to basketball. Of course, maybe AI had worked out all summer and was taking a break. Whatever, we agreed that with training camp right around the corner, it probably didn’t bode well for Iverson.

Then the season started, and Allen Iverson led the NBA in scoring at 30.7 ppg while averaging 42.3 minutes per game.

Allen Iverson has always been one of the most singular talents in all of sports. We will probably never see anyone who can exactly replicate all of his skills, ever again. Thanks to his size (or lack thereof), kids all over the world look up to him as a prototype of what they, in a perfect world, might become. They could be the guy out there with the ball in his hands the entire game, scoring buckets at will, copping an MVP, getting to the Finals, getting all the attention and adulation.

The truth is, they could never become Allen Iverson, any more than I could become Michael Jackson. Even though Iverson has always physically reflected the smallest the NBA has to offer, it’s the mixture of passion, emotion and will that differentiate and make him impossible to replicate. Any short dude can take a lot of shots. But not anyone can be Allen Iverson.

I’ve spent about a decade hanging around the NBA, and I still know very little about Allen Iverson. Really, from what I’ve gathered, nobody understands Iverson — who he is, what he’s like off the court. He’s always been one of the most private people in the NBA, and in some ways this has made him even more popular; not knowing what he’s really like off the court makes him a blanker slate upon which we can project our ideal superstar.

For years, in each edition of the Sixers media guide, Iverson listed SLAM as his favorite magazine. And yet when we came calling each year for a cover shoot and interview, nailing down time with AI was like nailing an ice cube to a wall. If we were his favorite magazine, I’d hate to see how he treated those he didn’t like. While most of our cover shoots and interviews run at least an hour or so, AI always demanded we make it happen in the shortest amount of time possible. He was always willing to give us time, but he guarded his free time like he guarded passing lanes on the perimeter. We did our best to simplify.

Incidentally, I believe AI still holds the record for the fastest SLAM cover shoot of all-time for the cover of SLAM 55. The only way AI would do a photo shoot was if we could make it happen at the last minute. So one evening at a Sixers game, we set up a backdrop under the First Union center in the hallway that connected the Sixers’ locker room to the court. As the Sixers all ran out to the court for the introductions and lay-up lines, AI stopped, posed for pics for about 4 minutes, then ran out and joined his teammates. That cover shot was about as real as it gets.

I’ve always wondered if AI liked SLAM because we got him. When Iverson crossed over Jordan, most of the media misinterpreted the moment. ait50To many, that crossover was emblematic of a new school of playground-bred hoops crossing over into the NBA. Long shorts, tats, braids, passes off the backboard…they were in the game to stay. One could even argue that the mainstreaming (and ESPN-ing) of the entire Streetball movement of the late ’90s/early ‘00s could be traced to that move AI broke off on MJ.

But to me, and I think to SLAM, that dribble was more about soul. Here was this shrimp of a rookie with the guts to go one-on-one against the greatest player to ever play basketball. And beating him. That, that David slaying Goliath moment, that was what should have mattered most from that play.

The past few years, just from our dealings with him, AI seems to have mellowed a little bit. When we shot him last season for the cover, he gave us hours instead of minutes. It was almost as though he recognized that his time in the spotlight was winding down, that there may not be many more cover shoots in his future. Perhaps it’s a stretch to posit that Iverson is evolving as a person based on a couple of photo shoot interactions, but really, that’s all I’ve got to go on.

It is much easier to evaluate Iverson as a basketball player. And as a basketball player, Allen Iverson has yet to evolve. He still drives to the basket (averaged as many FTA per game in ’07-08 as he did in ’98-99), but he also still needs the ball in his hands to be successful. While Iverson was tremendous as the hub the Sixers revolved around, teaming him with Carmelo in Denver never quite worked; at least, it didn’t work well enough to get Denver a title.

It’s obvious that he’s still at his best when he’s the center of attention on offense. I think it’s safe to say that most casual NBA fans would regard Iverson’s campaign in Detroit last year as a failure. But look a little closer at the digits: Iverson tried to fit in, tried to be a part of whatever the heck it was Michael Curry was selling. Yet as long as AI and Rip Hamilton attempted to coexist on the perimeter, the Pistons kept losing games. Then, Hamilton was out injured last season between Dec. 26 and Jan. 13. The Pistons played 8 games over that stretch. During that time, Allen Iverson averaged nearly 40 minutes a game and scored 17.6 ppg. More importantly, the Pistons went 6-2.

Rip returned on January 13, went back into the starting line-up, and the Pistons promptly lost 4 of their next 5. Around the All-Star break, the Pistons went into a brutal 3-14 tailspin. Instead of giving in, Iverson seemed to choose giving up, missing most of the second half of the season with a vague back injury. It was almost as if after all those years of warring with his coaches and the establishment, he was tired of fighting the fight.

I hope he doesn’t go out like that. As of today we still don’t know where Allen Iverson will end up next season. The two most likely contenders to sign him seem to be Memphis and the BETcats. I’m not sure I’m ready to see AI swallow the ignominy toiling in the basement again. I still think New York would be the perfect place for him to play this season. Get his swag back, score some points, win over the Gotham crowd. The Knicks refuse to look beyond 2010, and AI’s probably not looking much further at this point, either. But a D’Antoni/Iverson union in the greatest city in the world could be something to behold.

Now, to Allen Iverson clocking in here at number 50. Do I believe Allen Iverson is the 50th best basketball player in the NBA? No.

But is he the 50th best NBA basketball player? That is, are there 49 people who are better than AI at playing the type of basketball that NBA teams value right now? Well, maybe so.

But then, what do we know anyway?

After all, we never really understood Allen Iverson to begin with.

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’09-10 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Brett Ballantini, Russ Bengtson, Toney Blare, Shannon Booher, Myles Brown, Franklyn Calle, Gregory Dole, Emry DowningHall, Jonathan Evans, Adam Fleischer, Jeff Fox, Sherman Johnson, Aaron Kaplowitz, John Krolik, Holly MacKenzie, Ryne Nelson, Chris O’Leary, Ben Osborne, Alan Paul, Susan Price, Sam Rubenstein, Khalid Salaam, Kye Stephenson, Adam Sweeney, Vincent Thomas, Tzvi Twersky, Justin Walsh, Joey Whelan, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    AI. 50. They went there. Shock @ awe, biatches!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Kicked that one off with an instant bang and instant large # of posts. Controversy at the first up, yes. Major.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    see? Was so shaken, i mistook @ for &.

  • underdog

    I love Slam Top 50.

  • ENDS

    how the mighty have fallen

  • ENDS

    whats next TMac Or the Diesel

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Lang, you need to RT this story to AI’s Twitter account. Reaction should be interesting since “he” keeps writing about working out with E-Snow and (musclewatch TM) hoping to add 10 pounds of muscle. Yup, those Tweets sure sound like the man himself.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Shaq’s going to be up higher than he might otherwise be also, see the top 50 magazine version. We could very well see, 46 players with a “TRADE HIM FOR SHAQ!” post on their page.
    Sorry for stealing the joke. Anton can now tell me to stop stealing the jokes!

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    I’m torn about this inclusion. As a fan, I probably couldn’t bare NOT seeing him on this list. But on the other hand, he still doesn’t have a team. If this projects on next season, then there is a possibility that this top 50 is actually a top 49

  • sixersforlife_85

    Brilliant Lang, thankyou.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    *sigh*

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Nice read, Lang. Kudos.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Great piece here, Lang. Great kick line at the end.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    It’s all good, Blinguo.
    I predict 479 posts, 2-3 arguments, and lots of sad fans.

  • http://hoopmixtape.ning.com/ Simon S.Y Lawy

    what about T-mac ? out of 50 …? probably

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Man, everything I read about AI this summer feels like an obituary. There’s your first sad fan Anton

  • http://twitter.com/from_the_chi Bryan Crawford

    Hmmm…seeing that he is jobless like a lot of people are in this recession, I guess #50 aint bad. Still, this is Bubbachuck we’re talking about and somehow #50 just doesn’t seem right.

  • sixersforlife_85

    Still though Yao isn’t going to be in here as stated before because he’s injured this season. But there is no guarantee that Iverson will even play this season..

  • Young C

    49. Stephon Marbury

    48. Steve Francis…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    I predict a few jokers screaming about he shouldn’t even be #50. And lots of people asking this guy is higher than Iverson?! in all the other player post ups.
    -
    Without Lang to help mediate the Spanish reporter’s question to Iverson during that All Star jam session media day, Allen would not have answered at all, and his “What? Who?” would have been mean spirited. Transcript, Reporter: How do like Juan Jose Calderon’s game? How do you like playing against him? Iverson leans in, unable to hear the 1st time, Lang: Calderon, Toronto. Allen “Yeah, he’s pretty good. Good player.”

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Iverson is still one of the most talented players in the league, and the sheer awesomeness of his play keeps him on this list. He can still add services to teams if they let Iverson play HIS game. Charlotte, add him up. But, the dude is 34, and he’s nearing retirement. In a way, this IS an obituary. It’s the last time that he’ll show up on lists like this, barring all-time ones.

  • Young C

    47. Darius Miles

    46. Quentin Richardson’s contract…

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    What a start. Amazing that he came in 50. Great piece, Lang. If our “friend” can get us footage of tha Asia trip, everyone could be in for a real treat.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Well, seeing as my actual NBA viewing goes back to about 1997 (i’ve got many tapes of the 80′s and earlier 90′s, but i’m talking about really watching live), AI is tops on my all-time list. not saying he’s the best player ever, but def my all-time favorite.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Young C is counting down to Derrick Coleman.

  • http://www.blueprintgfx.co.nr Richard

    Great piece! Glad to hear he made the top 50. He’s been pretty underrated lately. He’s still got it. He can probably still average 23-25 points on a team where he’s the main man. He had a bad season in Detroit due to not meshing with his team and suddenly people think he’s not very good at basketball anymore. He’s still good ol’ AI to me.

  • Young C

    45. Jason Williams

    44. Jay Williams

    43. Jason Williams…

  • Young C

    42. Shaun Livingston’s kneecap…

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Good to see the commenters with their own top 50 are getting a headstart this summer.

  • Paddy

    haven’t seen darko yet c young?

  • German Reignman

    41. til 25. Shawn Kemps Offspring

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    First one, and I already disagree. Lots of waxing nostalgic, but no evidence whatsoever to state his value other than just legacy and reputation. Iverson is 34 years old, is coming off the worst season of his career, has proven over and over again that a team cannot succeed if Iverson dominates its offense, and refuses to play any role other than dominating the offense. At his peak with a team built specifically for him (2001), he couldn’t get it done consistently. What makes him think it’ll work now? Listen, I love Iverson for his passion of the game as much as anyone, but there’s a reason the only job he could land was from the same guy who threw away Pau Gasol and is desperate only to sell tickets.

  • Young C

    My point exactly Chendaddy

  • Young C

    Reignman, you read my mind

  • http://willpen24@yahoo.com will

    #50 r u kidding me never reading slam again who is doing your basketball rankings michael curry ?

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Top 10 of “my” NBA era:

    1 Iverson
    2 Garnett
    3 Vince
    4 Shaq
    5 Spree
    6 Melo
    7 T-Mac
    8 Wade
    9 Jason Williams (Kings version)
    10 Chris Paul

  • http://willpen24@yahoo.com will

    chenaddy ur an ididot at his peak in 2001 he couldnt get it done lol he led his team to the finals and played an la team 17-1 in the playoffs that yr let him have shaq and let kobe have deke we’d be talkin about kobe right now the same way your doing ai

  • Young C

    24. Adam Morrison’s championship ring

    23. Shaquille Oneal’s twitter feed…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    31 contributors x 50 pts = 1550. But probably not everyone put him at 50 of course, he just got the highest pt total. Would be fun to see how many pts separates the players. Unless you wrote it down and its not a simple Excel spreadsheet pull up to copy paste.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Now you’re not even naming player’s anymore. If that’s how it goes…
    -
    22. Oliver Miller’s vertical leap. 21. John Salley and Tom Tolberg’s playing time combined. 20. She look like AC Green… 19. Travis Knight’s 6 fouls in under 6 minutes

  • ctkennedy

    i wouldnt take iverson over jr smith right now cause smith will come off the bench and can stretch the hell out of a defense

  • LeoneL

    I don’t care about how he’s ranked. Nice write-up!

  • paddy

    18. rasheed wallace’s bald spot

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    I wasn’t expecting it, but I do agree. Nice write up Lang!

  • Young C

    17. Jerry Stackhouse

    16. Don Nelson’s substitution patterns

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Good write up, that is al.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    15. Stan Van Gundy’s arm pit stains

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    14. Barkley’s using a person to break glass windows instead of a riot trash can. 13. TNT having to change the Blackberry “Reggie’s Mailbag” to something else next season.

  • Young C

    12. Jamal Tinsley

    11. Dirk Nowitzki’s custody battle

    10. Desmond Mason

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Oh man…

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    9. Allan Houston’s comebacks

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    9. JKidd’s son’s head. 8. Eva Longoria, no body figure over makeup’d and overrated small screen star, replacing Jason’s wife for the announcers to creepily on cue swoon over every game.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    1 min too slow on #9 then 8…

    7. Damon Jones signature Chinese PEAK brand shoe

  • http://nbacheapseats.blogspot.com Chendaddy

    Will, if A.I. had Shaq, one of them would have been gone in a year, because A.I. wouldn’t have deferred to Shaq like Kobe did even in 2001. The guy is going to Memphis. Clearly, A.I. has other priorities on his mind above winning. Every player in the NBA admires Iverson as an individual player, but he has never made the chemistry better on any team he’s been on. Look at his resume after 2001. Four years of mediocrity in Philly. Then he got Chris Webber, who put up 20/10 in his first full season with Iverson, and his team got worse. He got traded to Denver, who was a first-round out before Iverson, and they stayed a first-round out until Iverson left. He got traded to Detroit, who had their worst season since the beginning of the decade. I’m not saying it’s Iverson’s fault alone that all of his teams underachieved; I’m saying he has never learned to make any team better other than by dominating the ball and taking over the game himself. At 34 and still doing that, in my opinion, he’s not a top 50 player in the NBA.

  • TONEY BLARE

    Don’t give up on that Michael Jackson thing, Lang.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Houston could really use him today. That would make him a top 30 player in the NBA. Chris Paul also needs somebody to create their own shots, not necessarily to over handle ball duties and playmaking, but Iverson haters say he never did any of that ever anyway. Playmaking part, having to have the ball a lot, yes. His market value isn’t even touching 10 Mil, so its not like bringing in the overpaid, disgruntled castoff superstar.

  • Young C

    6. The Carlos Boozer trade

    5. Michael Beasley’s 7up bottle

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    4. Tyron Lue

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    Argh, that kind of hurts to see him at 50… But is warranted due to current events I guess

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Someone better have something good for for number one. Maybe Rubio!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    3. Mike Miller’s (Brass) Funky Monkey

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    I was going to put “Mama there goes that man!” on 6, but let it go to someone else.

  • Young C

    3. Stromile Swift’s potential…

  • Ken

    15. Gerald Green’s missing finger

  • Ken

    OK, make Gerald’s finger #2

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Jason Kidd’s son’s head should’ve been top 3, Bling

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    1. Ustream

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    And Rubio has yet to ever be in the league and reported to less than 50% of his scheduled camps. Fred Weis or Tskitishvili (sic?) But Mark Madsen did write him a nice letter hoping he’d find a way to make it to Memphis, and then Mark was day traded on eBay to the Clippers.

  • Young C

    1. “Both teams played hard…”

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Haha, it was #1 in an NBA photo related Niketalk topic. Great photo editing in there. Used as a planet in a Mario Galaxy picture among others. I just thought to include 2 JKidd things in one post, I dunno, less re writing full names. Early though, agree.

  • Vince5

    3.Wally Szczerbiak

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Negative 50: Rappin’ Cowboys ASG halftime show.
    Replacements on a 50 list: Tamia for Glen Rice’s Wife.
    Receives a score of 50: Shaqawockees syncronized performance

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Also replace Memphis with Minnesota. Not. the. same.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Good list guys lol!!!

  • http://Www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Blinguo is hard to follow at times, like a genius or an insane person.

  • tavoris

    great write-up, lang…thanks 4 summing up the Detroit situation as succinctly as possible. Every AI hater needs to read this.

  • http://eric32woodyard.wordpress.com Eric Woodyard

    Great Stuff! AI will be back in the top 20 this season!! He’s got a lot to prove and he’s never been in this situation before in his career so he will respond with a bang

  • http://www.pablasso.com pablasso

    #2 Your mom

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Personally, I still think this is a bit high considering the fact that hes not even in the NBA.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Don’t follow people, (especially that Devil, Twitter) blaze your own path. And Rubio followed too much advice from too many people, maybe? Who knows who’s in control of that situation anymore.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Young Chris MP3

    Shouldn’t it say “Ranking are based solely on 2008-2009 performance (Seeing as the ’09-’10 season has yet to even go into Training Camp and all)?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    And while still on the topic, I don’t follow who you’re calling B*tches in the Opening post Dark. That better be Granddad “B!tches” Freeman in the crowd or else.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Told ya so. I’m not even arguing about this. Good day.

  • Greg

    50?!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Theres nothing to argue about. Currently, hes NOT EVEN IN THE NBA. Adonyl Foyle. Pops Mensah. J-Dub. Gortat. All players signed before AI. The list was about who is going to have an impact on the floor for their respective team this upcoming season. Its hard to have an impact when youre not on the floor. And if indeed he is on the floor, it will be with a team that probably wont even make the playoffs.

  • http://nastygraphixs.com Sean Cannon

    I think Robert “Big Shot” Horry should be in the top fifty before AI. He’s never won a championship and controversy seems to follow him around. Not a team player. Look how much the Nuggets flourished just by swapping him out with Billups. Hell Dereck Fisher should be in there before him.

  • davidR

    how you gonna replace tamia?

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Well, I’m 1 for 1 on my predictions from yesterday.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Nothing to argue about, so no reason to justify your vote, which could remain anonymous – but at this point its not an issue, and provoke an argument. Except if you want more comments or something, hey hey. Granted the offseason still isn’t over until the end of October schedule begins. And this is projected impact next season, all hyperbole and with Iverson no team currently so a wild card until any concrete news leaks. And nobody will flock to a nice write up about Gortat at 50. Adonal like Adonis more than Adonul, U next to the Y on the qwerty – imagine that wasn’t a typo in the regular sense, near A and all. But finally a use for all those NBA logo only Fusion tanks and shorts that sit on Eastbay/NBA Store forever. Take that Anton’s “Team colorway:Blank” joke! NBA logo, the least they could do. Referees sure don’t need more than several changes of those things. And Iverson wears the super sizes refs do not wear!
    -
    Iverson to Rubio, “We’re not soo different you and I…”

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Myles
    So, did you apply that same logic to Carlos Boozer?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Disregard that last comment.
    If the rule is you have to be signed with a team, then that’s the rule. No need for me to argue.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    david, replace Glen Rice’s wife with Tamia, per more current NBA, not old SLAM NBA. Jay-Z’s wife or Kobe’s if you’re trying to go to the top of the 50? I would go Tamia over Vanessa though.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I’m most pleased that I managed to write that entire thing without mentioning the “practice” rant.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    “Practice, Whatchu talking ’bout man?” – Iverson to other Reebok endorser in a commercial that used to run on the Champs/Footlocker TV’s.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    @Bling: or else…… what, tough guy?

  • http://www.slamonline.com myles brown

    There was no rule. Just seems like common sense to me. But it also seems that most of us wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt or weren’t ready to dismiss him entirely, which is why he ended up at 50.

  • Samuel

    this article is beautiful

  • onlyclipfanonslam

    I got a couple thoughts. AI only really introduced the NBA to tats and and rows. Long shorts were introduced by the Fab 5 coming in the league. The high crossover was made popular by Tim Hardaway. Other than that I love AI, and this article brings back good memories.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Else, or, I’ll wordfightstigate you with, as you put it, my genius insanity, from Draft ’99 til impunity.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Oh lord, i give, Blinguo, i give….

  • chingy

    Young C, don’t forget Drew Gooden’s facial hair…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tim Hardaway and Allen Iverson did not have the same crossover.
    Nobody had Allen Iverson’s crossover in the league before he got there.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    This is my last comment.
    I think that if the list is based on projections, than it’s really impossible to argue. Slam is claiming to be able to predict the future. Since I don’t have that ability, I can’t really argue with the writers.
    If the list is based on recent performance, than I can’t see Iverson at 50. One bad year, in a new system asked to play a new role, and he drops from top 20 to number 50? Just doesn’t make sense.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    AllenP, more like nobody had Tim’s cross. To date who has a beter cross. Not very many people have the same level of cross over he had.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    James

    Isiah Thomas had a better crossover than Tim Hardaway.
    I think Iverson’s crossover, despite being borderline illegal, was a better crossover than Tim’s.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    James
    I’ve made this argument before, nobody was doing a leaning crossover before Iverson introduced it to the world.
    Tim had a right to left cross between the legs, with a quick crossover from left to right immediately after. That was it. It was beautiful. But, it wasn’t new. Isiah had been doing that for years.
    Iverson introduced a leaning, long, left to right crossover that nobody was doing at the time. Yet, since about 98 or 99, every credible wing player in the league has incorporated that move into their games.
    That’s a game changer right there.
    But, that has nothing to do with this ranking, just a point of clarification.

  • onlyclipfanonslam

    AllenP, it isn’t the same crossover yes, but a high crossover it was. Tim had people on skates before rollerblades became popular in the early 90′s. Tim’s game was pretty “playground” before AI was even out of HS.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    No one is claiming to know the future. If that were the case crystal balls wouldve been used instead of ballots. Theyre opinions, not statements of fact.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Isiah had been doing it yes, but Tim pefected it. Tim to me is the cross over god. He took the crossover, plain and simple, and used it as a weapon. A deadly one at that. Iverson’s crossover was unique, but if I had to resemble a cross over for my own game it would be Tim’s. I got what your saying though … I am not talking about ranking either here. As far as crossovers go, in my opinion Tim has the best their is!! Or was.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Not only am I co signing onliclip fan for that comment, but also the one up above it at 12:22. A little late on the co-sign though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Weird how thing’s work though. We are talking about Iverson back in the day. Like Iverson isn’t relevant anymore. How much do we all wish that this was the year when Kobe was becoming great, along with Tmac. Iverson was going for 30 a night. Sabonis, and Vlade were the bigs in the West other then Shaq. Mark madison Ave was on the lake show and won championships. MJ was still young enough to ball, and he still could today but hey. Pippen was lacing up. David Robinson was jacked wearing a 10 year olds jersey. Sh!t … time flies!!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Rankings are based solely on projected ‘09-10 performance.

    Projection and prediction are synonymous. SLAM is collectively saying “Based on what we believe will happen next year, here are the 50 best players in the league.”
    Now, my first question would be how is SLAM predicting what is going to happen next year? How can you predict a player’s future performance without considering their past performance? And if you’re considering past performance, why go to such lengths to point out that past performances and awards don’t matter?
    It’s a weird situation in my opinion, and really, since I don’t truly understand how the decisions were made, it doesn’t make much sense for me to argue about Iverson.
    Everybody who comments here regulary knows how I feel about the man. His flaws, his strengths and his talent. If the SLAM collective believes that Iverson’s time as a top 25 player in the NBA is over, then that’s what SLAM believes. It is what it is.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    That probably also comes out of the picture used for this piece, AI rookie style. Count em, one upper body tattoo, even before the airbrushing?
    Granted the Topps/Trading card guys admitted they airbrushed out MJ’s tongue to prevent kids from losing theirs. Sorta makes sense? Everyone did it anyway on the court, don’t even try it anyway without some semblance of game. Tattoo removal was more, senseless pre-damage control, years before front row kids can wear conrow and afro headband hats during games(only?! who knows once they go home).

  • byron

    wuouldnt a jordan and iverson cover and article/ interview be amazing even?

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Allenp:The new role, new system arguement isn’t vaild. Ray Allen went from being the number one option on his team offensively for a decade to being the number three and the results hung a banner. The difference is that Ray openly accepted the role he was given and AI didn’t. I don’t think there has been a huge drop off Ivey’s ability between last season and this year, but I think the way Lang ended the write up sums it up perfectly.

  • byron

    SLAM PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN. OR HAS THE IDEA ALREADY BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU GUYS ALREADY?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    It seems a bit intellectually dishonest to pull a quote to serve your own purposes especially since youve already acknowledged that its difficult to put a player on the list of the NBAs top 50 players who is not even in the NBA. As far as projections, isnt there an issue dedicated to such every year? Team previews? Most likely tos? Theyre all based on pure specualtion, but that never seems to be a problem. I dont see how this is any different.

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  • tavoris

    I think Derrick Rose’s crossover AT FULL SPEED (Kinda like Kidd used to do in his younger years) is freaking beautiful.

  • izzo

    To be fair to the Top 50, around 95% of basketball opinion pieces and basketball commentary is people thinking they can predict the future. Around 97% of basketball discussion is comprised of people thinking they can predict the future better than those they are discussing with. The remaining 5 and 3% is re-interpreting the past.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Actually Myles. We all know Kobe and the Lakers are going to win. it’s just the other teams that we have to predict!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Point for Izzo.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Myles
    It’s not intellectually dishonest to point out what has been repeated multiple times. Ryne stated clearly this list does include past awards, and was created based on a reasonable expectation of what a given player would do next year.
    So, SLAM is making a prediction. Which means it’s predicting the future. Whether SLAM does that all the time or not is immaterial since that’s what’s happening now.
    If Ryne or anybody else had said “Based on what these players did the past five years, here’s what we think they will do next year” that would be something different. Instead, he made it clear that past awards, and I assume past performances, are not important.
    So I’m left with a problem.
    I think that if you consider the past five years of Iverson’s career, or the past three or even last year, there is no way he can legitimately be the 50th best player in the NBA. (The issue of his contract doesn’t bother me because I seriously doubt he will be without a team come October.) I don’t see how someone could assess his skill set, even with its flaws, and say “that’s the 50th best player in the League.”
    As I read the end of Lang’s piece he made a point to say Iverson’s skills do not make him the 50th best player in the league. Instead he said that the perception of the value of Iverson’s skill set puts him in that spot.
    So we’re arguing a mixture of prediction and perception. Not actual skill set, or past performance. Seems difficult to make a case for the man if the criteria is prediction and perception.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    should read that Ryne said the list DOES NOT include past awards…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I understand your problem with that, seeing that its difficult to envision what a player might do in the future without taking his past into consideration. I cant speak for Ryne or anyone else who cast a ballot, but Id like to think they have taken the past into account somewhat. Perhaps he was just trying to distinguish that this is about the upcoming season and this list is not a summation of a players entire career. I dont know, but thats how I voted. Taking the past into consideration, some dudes dropped and some Rose.

  • http://youtube.com/pyrobooby tealish

    50. Fair enough given the last couple lines of this piece. This is the current perception and that’s all there is to go by. It’s up to Ivy to prove how silly this summer was.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    OH MY F*CKING GOD IF GILBERT ARENAS IS ABOVE ALLEN IVERSON ON THIS LIST I’M GOING TO FLIP SH*T PEOPLE ARGJKLFjdlkfjldsfskjfsFJDSf

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I hope that’s a joke Jukai.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Allen: Yep.

  • Orlando Woolridge

    Some people mention his time in Denver (or Detroit for that matter) as a way to point out that AI isn’t all that good, as the team did better without him. To me, that’s more a testament to just how good and under-rated Billups really is.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    I should be careful with that joke. I was having a serious conversation with Russ one day, then broke that joke out, and he flipped out and left.
    It brings up a lot of scars.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/christopher_sells-authorHV106.html chiqo

    without taking the time to read all 130 of the comments, has anyone bothered mentioning that we don’t know that iverson will be in the league next year?

  • izzo

    What are the chances that Chiqo HAS actually read the comments? I say high.

  • http://nationofmillions.ca ciolkstar

    If Iverson agrees to come off the bench somewhere I think he could have a really good season. He could come in with the second unit and play his game for 20-25 minutes a night, maybe 30 if the chemistry is good and they’re able to defend well enough to keep him in during the fourth. He’d be more effective and efficient in a limited time role with a second team (which is basically what the Sixers were). Plus, I really can’t think of an NBA team that would want to have him step in and be their number one option, or one starting lineup that he could step right into without displacing a more conventional, and probably more productive two guard. He’s also slowing down. Like it or not. I mean, the AI that crossed Jordan is no more. He’s still got the ability to be a legit scorer, but he can’t be the centerpiece. If his ego can handle a secondary role he’ll be more successful and more appreciated. To me an AI who’s willing to fill a role as instant offense off the bench (especially for a contender) is A LOT more valuable than one who needs to play 40 minutes and dominate the ball.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Not sure where to send this, but this is a fascinating story:
    http://deadspin.com/5345287/the-confessions-of-an-nba-scorekeeper?skyline=true&s=x

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    Wow!. I had a feeling this would happened but I do understand why. To the world all we read are negative articles about Allen Iverson. All the blame for last season is on Allen Iverson. Not Rip, not Curry, Not Dumars. But because A.I. has a bad rep and started tattos,cornrows,rapping in the nba and preety much just changing the culture of the nba to something the older people don’t like he has always been the bad guy. For his whole career he has been making the NBA get used to him and then the NBA had to get used to him because he was statistacly the best player in the last decade. But than last year he got put into a system where he was not going to excel where had to take 14 SHOTS!. His usage rate was as low as ever. The Pistons used Rip more in their offence over the great Allen Iverson. Iverson was touching the ball once every 2 minutes. Whens the last time you saw one of the greatest scorers do those things? Iverson did try sacraficing but nobody sacraficed for him. My point is every great that has got used to dominating games does not want to stop after averaging 26.4 ppg, 7.1 apg on 46% shooting from the field just the season before. It sounds stupid to even ask that person to stop doing that. But not once did Curry or Rip or Stuckey probably ever say Hey you are a hall of famer and one of the greatest ever and its not like you are 38 here take the ball and do what you do best. You can’t fall off that fast from being the second best shooting guard in the league one year to being number 50 on this list. Something has to go wrong that does not involve baskteball skill. It is damn near impossible to fall off like that. But it did happen when A.I. was asked to take a role no legend will ever take. Ai sacraficed just watch game tapes and read stats don’t listen to people that already hate the man for different reasons. A.I. is still a top 10 talent in this league but he just got a horrible situation to showcase that talent. But he is still top 25 ever and Next season he will probably be a Grizzlie or Bobcat and if used properly people are going to laugh at this article.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Ciolkstar: You do know Iverson can be a secndary option and NOT come off the bench. A lot of players do that. Actually, four starters on every team do that.

  • HangTime Hec

    Why couldn’t you just base the 50 greatest players on last years performances? OR would that make to much sense?

  • tavoris

    ciolkstar There’s Charlotte, New York, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, OKC, and Washington.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Pardeep: You… you just gotta stop posting man.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Well. I disagree.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    Jukai: I have been over this many times I post maybe what 5 times a day? You on the other hand live on this site get a life man you’re the one posting BS every 5 minutes on every post. My points are all corret deal with it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Me personally, would take A.I. over probably 25 of the other guys the SLAM guys are going to list, regardless of his current lack of team, so I’m alright with this silly placement to start the list off to get decent comment traffic.

  • tavoris

    I think people need to put this list in perspective. Is AI much higher in the list of best players PERIOD? Of course. Should AI-in whatever role he has in next season-be ranked right where he is? Yes. And that’s saying alot coming from me.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Co sign eboy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Balla-holic

    Co sign Pardeep 10 times. Dude knows whats up with A.I.’s situation.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tavoris
    I would advise you to hold off on that statement until you see the rest of the list.

  • Tyquan

    Is this what it all boils down too Allen I having to go to Memphis to “salvage” or “make a comeback”. Listen, for what its worth I’m usually accurate with this sort of stuff and like I said the other day he should go to Miami because Pat Riley wants him as well as helping to take some pressure of D Wade. Since everyone agreed that Miami Heat of last season was indeed “Da DWade Show”. Beasley could have shown more and Chalmers did what he could as a second round pick who by default turned into their point guard of the future. All in all I would like to see AI in Miami because Memphis is in the West and they won’t even finish third in a five team division with or without Allen Iverson.

  • Tyquan

    Has it really come to this; Allen I having to go to Memphis to “salvage” or “make a comeback”. Listen, for what its worth I’m usually accurate with this sort of stuff and like I said the other day he should go to Miami because Pat Riley wants him as well as helping to take some pressure of D Wade. Since everyone agreed that Miami Heat of last season was indeed “Da DWade Show”. Beasley could have shown more and Chalmers did what he could as a second round pick who by default turned into their point guard of the future. All in all I would like to see AI in Miami because Memphis is in the West and they won’t even finish third in a five team division with or without Allen Iverson.

  • chingy

    Imagine AI playing Jet Terry’s role…except he’d be better at it

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Allen Iverson is my favorite player. Well, Iverson and Garnett. But I really don’t have a problem with this ranking. I’d love to see AI come back and flourish and contribute to a title contender, but I doubt that it will happen. And it pains me, but it is what it is. People say AI hasn’t evolved… I don’t know that he’s capable of evolving. Maybe he is. I hope he is. But that’s the point, I think: With so much uncertainty surrounding 34-yr-old AI, it’s tough to rank him any higher.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I guess I just don’t understand the criteria for the list. Then again no matter what criteria you’re using I can’t think of 49 players better at basketball in any capacity than allen iverson.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    He averaged 18 points in a sh*tty system for an even worse coach who refused to exploit his ability to score , the guy is damned no matter what he does. He plays the good soldier imo by taking only 14 shots a game to score those 18 points and he gets sh*t on becaue he wasn’t dropping 30 nightly, but if I’m not mistaken didn’t he drop like 42 or 48 when they just let the dude play and was anyone complaining in detroit then?

  • Darko

    Great article……

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Wow… Right, AI at 50. The next player on this list is NOT going to be better than Allen Iverson, and you can book it. No offense, but what a joke.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    #10: Gilbert Arenas’ blog.
    #9: Steve– Oh, I mean Shaq Vs.

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Teddy: What if 49 was Kobe? Eh? Eh?

  • tavoris

    Allenp…I thought about writing a long and rambling response…but the reality is that Dumars branded AI with a big red X…and it’s doubtful that he’ll ever be able to shake it off during the remainder of his career. The debacle in Detroit was actually FAR worse (those considerably less visible) than the Marbury situation in NY, if only because AI didn’t rebel against the machine…he was always gonna be the scapegoat-even though the Pistons had been quietly falling apart ever since Lebron almost single-handedly dismantled them 3 seasons ago.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    @Tavoris: LeBron did single handedly dismantle them LOL.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    49 is probably Steve Nash

  • http://fdjsklf.com Jukai

    Oh god, Pardeep will commit Harikari over his webcam if Steve Nash is 49.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    @Jukai: You grown ass man get a life! I have never seen a commentor that just comments all day as much as you do. You live on this site?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I’m not a fan of AI by any stretch… but dude can PLAY. I don’t know why everybody is viewing last year as a drop off in his abilities. It wasn’t a good fit, that’s it. At no time was I watching a Pistons game and said to myself: damn, AI can’t get to the hoop no more. When he signs for CHA or MEM (and he will) and avg 23-25 ppg (and he will)… whatchu gon say? Some guys are not made to play second banana, it’s not in their make up. Especially guards that are used to see the ball a lot. I think Kobe will retire before not being the 1st option anymore. I think MJ wouldn’t have been able to be a 2nd option. Ditto Bron. Iverson was detroit’s best scorer last year, so it didn’t make sense to him that he wouldn’t be the 1st option. He didn’t handle it well, but he wasn’t wrong per se. He scores the ball better than Stuck, Rip, Tay and Sheed COMBINED.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Gerald Wallace better have made this list. He averaged MORE rebounds and a equal amount of steals and blocks per game compared to Lebron James.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Gerald is also has a higher free throw % then Lebron and the same field goal %. My point is not that Gerald is on the same level as lebron, but that he is a top-tier player.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Jukai: If only for how incredibly entertaining the comments section would be, I’m somehow secretly hoping beyond hope that Kobe is 49.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    I would say Allen Iverson is still worthy of a little bit more then this. But i guess he is at the downslide point of his career, meaning he will have to prove it to you all this season..

  • http://www.anwilson.blogspot.com rainman10

    I am betting next year Iverson is higher on this list. And BETCATS…I’m lovin the G Wallace talk.

  • Lonnie Long

    AI is easily a top 15-20 player #50 is disrespectful

  • http://nationofmillions.ca ciolkstar

    Jukai: I really don’t even see Ivy as a great secondary option, at this point. I think he would disrupt pretty much every backcourt in the league. Is he a a PG or a SG? Basically he wants to be both, but he can’t really defend either position. I still think he’d be signed already if he and his agent weren’t saying (behind closed doors) that Allen has to be a starter wherever he signs…

  • http://youtube.com/pyrobooby tealish

    Z speaks the truth.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Myles Brown: Gortat was signed before AI, so what? Your point makes as much sense as, well, it doesn’t really; think about it.
    “Sam Bowie was picked before Jordan! =O Jordan must not be the best player ever! ‘Cuz its proven that teams really would rather have Sam Bowie than Michael Jordan!”

  • Furious

    I said it when they introduced the top 50, but it was obvious this was going to happen. Iverson was a great player, and nobody can really argue with that. He might still be able to score, but he’ll be scarily inefficient. There is no way that there won’t be 50 players who contribute more on the court (which was claimed to be the basis of this list) this season. And Nash will be one of those players.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Actually its nothing like that at all. There is a designated order to a draft. Every team bids simultaneously in free agency. Think about it.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Wow, Myles vs. Allenp (civilized, lengthy discourse) & Pardeep vs. Juks (about to get nasty) are already the leaders for this Top 50′s “who will pick apart his favorite antagonist’s remarks” award. Amusing.

  • http://slamonline.com Jacob J

    Everybody is making AI feel like he helped the pistons but he just made them worse and it dosent matter how many points he can score the win as a team is all that counts no wonder he dosent have a championship.

  • D-Jones

    Yeah yeah yeah, keep arguing. It won’t change anything. Losers.

  • http://sportzin.com Joey E.

    ive always disliked AI
    dont understand why y’all freakin LOVE him so much

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    do you have to LOVE allen to recognize that he’s way better than 50th? i say no. curious to see who’s 49th and if he is indeed better than a 25 ppg scorer. that’s the thing with AI, like him or not, give him the rock and he’ll get you 25+ in his sleep. buckets ain’t no thang.

  • http://dfsjklf.com Jukai

    Darksaber: I’m not really feeling getting into a fight with Pardeep. Dude rants about Allen Iverson like crazy. He probably has a bajillion AI posters in his parents bedroom and tries to fellate them every night. None of my business, but the man has a serious crush on AI and I’m not gonna hate him for that.

  • http://dfsjklf.com Jukai

    ciolkstar: You’re probably right, but I think it’s more Iverson’s role in the offense that’s keeping people from signing him.
    I still don’t think he should be a bench scorer wherever he goes.
    There are plenty of teams I think he could start for. Miami, Charlotte, Phili, Toronto, all these teams have weak shooting guards and I think AI would be better suited starting… what’s the point of bringing him off the bench?
    Now if he couldn’t settle for a more limited “score when you can” role as a starter, he can’t exist coming off the bench either… and he’ll probably be out of the league.
    I say Iverson CAN as a secondary starter option. I think Allen Iverson, despite what he says, will try and adopt to help a team.
    The question is, how good will he be in that role.
    And that’s why I really don’t have a problem with Iversons ranking here. Iverson at his top notch form right now is probably in the 30-40ths, maybe even the 20s. Iverson on how teams need him right now should be the 50th best player in the NBA: a player who doesn’t necessarily work off the ball, but score in bunches, sort of like Barbosa or Manu. That’s what he needs to be to succeed in the NBA right now.

  • http://dfsjklf.com Jukai

    As ‘bad’ of an experiment as Iverson was on the Detroit Pistons… dude scored 17 points and dished out five assists. Isn’t it ironic that that is sort of what teams WANT out of Iverson now?

  • Furious

    Jukai, I think Miami have an alright shooting guard at the moment…what’s his name…somebody Wade? he goes alright.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Hihi, Juks is a genius at slipping insults into explanations… Fellate. Awesome

  • http://dfsjklf.com Jukai

    Furious: Slipping Iverson down to the point would be needed in Miami, obviously. I don’t think Iverson in Miami would work in the long run, but I think they’d be a better team than they are now.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Iverson can definitely be a second option if put in a position where it MAKES SENSE for him to be a second option. On the Pistons, he should not have been a second option.

  • http://dfsjklf.com Jukai

    http://slamdumb.com/images/comics/7_4_09.jpg
    Myles must have written this one

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/christopher_sells-authorHV106.html chiqo

    if iverson would have just accepted a bench role with some team from the jump, would we be having this conversation? let’s say he went to a team with a crappy two guard and his only responsibility was to come off the bench and score. surely he could be sixth man of the year. jason terry did it and he’s not half the player iverson is.

  • dial up

    Who the eff cares what Slam magazine’s top 50 is. I mean, they put this guy on their cover prollie more times than anyone not named lebron or jordan. Not like the holl o fame would ever read this jibberish.

  • http://youtube.com/pyrobooby tealish

    @dial-up: Jibberish? If you don’t like the content, you aren’t obliged to stick around. For what it’s worth, I may not be a “regular commenter” here, but in my opinion, for the most part, SLAM has become the best in the game.
    This ranking may piss you off. And it irks me as well. But looking at the listed reasons, I can see why/how Allen Iverson, who still can be a top 15-20 player (Yes, I really believe this), can be given a seemingly disrespectful 50th slot. It’s not disrespectful; it’s understandable, even. Oh, and it helps to read the piece that comes attached with the ranking too.

  • Furious

    yeah Jukai I was just kidding around, thought it looked pretty funny to have miami as a team with a weak shooting guard. He probably wouldnt be able to deal with being Wade’s second banana anyway.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Dear Lang Whitaker,
    I am thoroughly and utterly baffled, confused, shook, startled and discombobulated by this ranking of the top 50 players. It is weak and never ever would have imagine that Slam Magazine would ever in any self complied list of 50 greatest anything rank AI in anything other then the top 10 overall player in history or current. Slam Magazine does not represent the X’s and Os’s of the game or give two hoots about the politics surrounding the profession of basketball. The Slam I have grown to know and respect is about the game. Let me repeat. About THE GAME. Its supposed to speak and report on the players that GOT GAME. Iverson not only is a BALLER who got game, but he brought, wrote, and revolutionized GAME as we have it today. That clip you showed Mr Whitaker should be called Swag. This concept of Swag now being thrown around is found and rooted in that video. Rookie number #1 broke The GOAT with healthy legs and at his peak with some thing never seen like ever, ever before on the biggest stage of basketball. He came with some shake that no playa ever worked with before. The swag can take any crew of 5 on its own, even today, it just needs hustlers to hold down the block and it will deliver the Answer. I cant say much more at this point or brow beat you any further. But all this being delivered form you Mr. Whitaker and backed with your words is a catastrophe. I wish you use better judgment in the future and wake up and realize and recognize what SLAM is again. By the way check Allen Iverson at rucker park for a refresher. Seen to many playground mixs by people with game on our of our greatest national landmarks but his performance at the capital of blacktop is like of none other.

    Moshiah Now!,

    Mendel

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    Furious: It’s entirely possible him and Wade would throw down fistacuffs. I’d like to imagine Iverson will try and make it work anywhere he goes but he has let me down thus far.
    Also, like usual, Mendel doesn’t get it. Slam has grown. Iverson has not. Those who still bring up Iverson breaking Jordan’s ankles will never ever get it.

  • Hussman25

    Sad to say… but true… there are 49 other guys now in the league that are better… *sigh*

  • tavoris

    @ dial up, that’s probably because AI has embodied the Slam Magazine brand more than any other modern player.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Jukai, I see you have turned to the dark side. I always had your support and now I dont get it? diz nuts

  • tealish

    Jukai with the profundity at 12:39am.

  • tavoris

    Jukai…I’m nt sure what to say about ur last comment, because it’s obviously deeply rooted in something OTHER than fact. AI did try to make it work in Denver AND Detroit. To a degree, it did work in Denver (their longer playoff stint was fool’s gold). Detroit was an aberration by everyone involved-and cannot fairly be blamed on AI. As I’ve stated many times, when a player is selfish and/or disruptive to team chemistry, he tends to not have many friends as players. AI clearly does not have that problem, as everyone (but Rip) has said they LOVED playing with dude.

  • http://thegayestwebsiteever.com Big Ben

    I don’t know better than anybody else on the subject (clearly), but I don’t see why so many people want to blame Dumars for “what he did to Iverson.” I’m guessing that Dumars was getting tired of Iverson’s diva routine, and gave him a variation of Branch Rickey’s “we finished last with you, we can finish last without you” quote, and told him to just stay home for the rest of the season. Dumars has three more rings than Iverson, and I think he was probably the first person to who didn’t put up with Iverson’s crap. I don’t see how that’s Dumars’ fault.

  • http://thegayestwebsiteever.com Big Ben

    @tavoris

    Anyone who says things like “I don’t know of any former MVP’s who have come off the bench” is definitely selfish AND disruptive to team chemistry. And as far as the friends remark, Dumars won two rings on a team where none of the players really liked each other; in fact, a lot of them couldn’t stand one another. The difference is, they put winning before anything else, so whether or not they were friends didn’t matter much. Vinnie Johnson could have started on any team in the league back then(including the Pistons), but he never complained about coming off the bench. Imagine you were at work and one of your co-workers refused to cover your shift because he thought it was below him, and management gave in to him – you don’t think that would piss you off just a bit? Stuff like that festers, regardless of the field you’re in.

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    Mendel: Sorry buddy, Iverson had to fall sometime.

  • chintao

    I read this post and immediately went down the block from work and copped a Reebok “Practice?” T-shirt. I definitely will miss this guy, regardless of when he exits the L for good.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    I think Reebok even put that on a basketball too chintao, however ironic/awesome that may be. Saw those Practice shirts on the RBK online store way back, they might still be there.

  • http://coota0316@yahoo.com mark phillips

    joking rite…. r u on drugs, like the last guy on the list he a top 1-15 guy in the league and u got him at number f ing 50 , who’s the guy that saved slam , the list goes on

  • boy sanchez

    Whatever you say, you can’t tell that Allen Iverson isn’t one of the most important, popular, discussed players to ever play the game. And you know why? I don’t usually see 200+ responses in just one article! This article (and its responses) is a proof that AI still counts.

  • tavoris

    Big Ben…I didn’t say that. Your whole post is based off a comment merged (by you) from two different posters. Of course Dumars didn’t have to put up with Iverson (and he obviously didn’t. However, holding the other Pistons accountable would have been the RIGHT thing to do. The fact is that Dumars TRADED for Iverson, and Iverson did not choose to go to Detroit. While there is an obviously responsibility on Iverson’s part to cooperate (which the numbers support), the greater responsibility for conformity was the TEAM (management and coaching specifically) that inherited Iverson. How realistic-or fair-is it to hire a player (who’s been the alpha dog for a decade and without the benefit of training camp) and just expect him to immediately fit into a role that minimizes his best qualities?

    Also, in regards to Detroit (Bad Boys era), while the teammates may not have liked each other, they definitely-and obviously-respected each other.

  • http://www.sportdime.com Faz

    50? Seriously. As you said in your article, with the ball in his hands he is a top 3! But I appreciate the rationale!

  • Mike Klander

    50! Awesome. I agree with the rationale 100% Especially the last three sentences. Iverson is definitely better than 50 but with what the NBA requires in today’s game 50 is what suits him best. Great article!

  • rikson

    Lets be nice and give AI the 50s spot for all the joy he brought us – shall we!? But – to be true – after last season, thats a fu(king gift…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Rikson
    Last season doesn’t count, remember?

  • http://www.sonicbids.com/shaemorin doyouwantmore

    Crazy. Top 50 talent and can’t find a team that wants him for a couple million? Something don’t smell right.

  • Clark

    Anyone who can’t get an offer from anyone but the Griz this late into free agency is obviously not top 50 material. Yes, if we were rating AI fans perception of him, he would be #1, but as far as I know we are talking about reality right?

  • tavoris

    clark…keep in mind that David Lee hasn’t made his appearance on this list yet (and he’s sure gonna be up here)

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Right Clark, because Allen Iverson totally didn’t average more points in his career in the playoffs than your favorite player (unless your favorite player is Jordan). Because Allen Iverson is really worse than Josh Howard… Wow, that was just funny.

  • Clark

    Does Iverson have a ring? Is he going to get one? I do think he could easily get a ring and be an amazing player if he would drop the ego and be a sixth man somewhere. Look at the pistons, now I know Curry is a horrendous coach, but if Iverson would have realized that he could play his kind of basketball just fine with the second unit, they probably would have at least finished over .500, but he still thinks he is #1 on this list. I’m sorry but basketball is a team sport about skill and accepting your role. If he can’t do that he’s not a top player in my opinion. Basketball is 5 on 5, I have no doubt Iverson would be top 5 if basketball were 1 on 1.

    Good point about David Lee. No real response to that one.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Actually, I don’t think David Lee is on the list. If I had to guess.

  • Melzaih Dia

    ayo *uck this too a.i should be higher than wat they putting em at

  • rikson

    No WAY, that Lee made the List…

  • rikson

    When it comes to AI, 2000-2001 is the only season that counts… (Maybe well also count his last 2 years in Denver – I just checked his stats…)

  • C-Mac

    i still don’t think there is 49 players in the NBA better than him. i would hate to see him not get signed and end his career this way.. he deserves much better

  • http://dffff adsfa

    i don’t get this shit

  • Pingback: Ball in Europe – European Basketball Blog » Blog Archive » Allen Iverson comes to Europe! Sort of…

  • dima

    why is allen iverson twice in the top 50. he’s also on the 18th rank

  • Yi

    Most of the players, who ranged prior to AI, have more scope for their ability. As a result, the opportunity and the fortune are more important than the talent sometimes.

  • Yi

    Most of the plays, who ranged prior to AI, have more scope in their team than Allen Iverson does. Whether the player is successful depend upon the opportunity and the fortune they have, not just the talent sometimes

  • Syrymflash

    What the f*ck is that?
    Allen Iverson # 50 , no way !!! Assholes !!!
    he must be in top 30 at least, when i saw something that looks more officially, Allen was at 22, but here u put him at 50 , delete this muthaf*cking shit !!! dumbasses

  • JC

    well seeing AI at 50 and not seeing Monta Ellis in it at all is a shock

  • kara

    check the dudes resume..theres a lot more that counts rather than how long he spent on a photo shoot..lets talk about his stats at denver before detroit’s coach effed him over..led in ppg spg apg..fifty?? nah not ai

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