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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 at 11:35 am  |  62 responses

LeBron James Calls Allen Iverson ‘Pound for Pound’ the Greatest Player Ever


With the Miami Heat looking on tomorrow night in Philly, Allen Iverson will officially announce his retirement from the NBA. According to LeBron James, who idolized The Answer as a youngster, Iverson is “pound-for-pound” the greatest player to ever step on the floor. Per ESPN: “Pound-for-pound, probably the greatest player who ever played,’ James said of Iverson, who will retire in a Sixers pregame ceremony ahead of Wednesday’s home opener against the defending champion Heat. [...] James was asked Monday for his thoughts on Iverson ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony. ‘[Iverson] reminds me of Floyd Mayweather,’ James said, comparing Iverson to the undefeated boxer who has 18 titles to his name and stands just 5-foot-8. ‘You could never question [Iverson's] heart, his will to want to win. A true warrior.’ Although Iverson was one of the top scorers of his era, his career was cut short at age 34 when injuries had taken a toll on his effectiveness. Iverson’s playing career ended unceremoniously in 2010 after a 25-game stint with the 76ers, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 1996. Iverson hasn’t found work in the NBA since. ‘I hate the fact that his career ended the way it did,’ James said Monday. ‘But he had an unbelievable career.’ [...] Miami’s Dwyane Wade also considers it a privilege that he’ll be at Iverson’s retirement ceremony on Wednesday. ‘One of my favorite players obviously of all time. Michael Jordan, Kobe [Bryant], T-Mac [Tracy McGrady] and A.I.,’ Wade said. ‘Those were the ones that I looked up to coming up. I take pride in wearing No. 3 because A.I. wore No. 3.’ As it turns out, Wade’s first preseason game and regular-season game as an NBA player came against Iverson. What did he remember about those games? ‘I was scared as God knows what,’ Wade said. ‘He’s just a great competitor. He’s one of the best to do it. It’s going to be a great moment, I’m sure, for everyone that was a fan of Iverson and the way he changed the game — all the little boys in their driveway doing the A.I. crossover,’ Wade said.”

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  • Dfrance

    The pound for pound thing really doesn’t work outside of boxing, but I appreciate LeBrons admiration of AI. The fearlessness he played with at his size is something to marvel at.

  • Jeremy de Sa

    I don’t know a player who commands more “what if”s than AI

  • Smits#45

    I just wanted to say the same thing You beat me by a few seconds lol.

  • Jake

    I’ll never forgive the NBA GM’s for blackballing AI. He showed no signs of slowing down with age and was posting the highest assist numbers of his career when he was told by all 30 teams that his services weren’t needed. He’s probably still better than half of the guards in the NBA.

  • The Rothchilds

    regardless of his behaviours, winning percentage, and disdain for practice, this man is a TOP 50 player of all time. There will never be another like him.

  • LLC#12

    Cue comments such as “AI should make a comeback” “The ???? should sign AI, make it happen, ???? !!” and the worst of all, the complaints that the NBA somehow had some kind of agenda against AI and prevented him from returning.

  • ai83

    I Totally agree with you, he is still better than many guards in the league. Blackballin is a reality, if Steve Nash can still play, AI can also do this.

    What is clear is that Lebron is not wrong, I always thought the same, AI is the best pound for pound.

    I laugh when people try to compare Rose, or Irving with AI, Iverson is incomparable, unique and great.

  • Jake

    They did have an agenda. If you look at his statistics, there is no reason that he should not have been a starting guard on an NBA team. When Jason Collins still has a job and one of the top 5 scorers of all time is collecting unemployment checks, there’s something fishy.

  • Jake

    Rose doesn’t have the jump shot and as great as Kyrie is handling the ball, he doesn’t hold a candle to Iverson.

  • LakeShow

    Why doesn’t it work here but does in boxing/mma?

  • LakeShow

    Sounds about right.

  • LakeShow

    Isiah Thomas is the only one who can argue I think.

    He was an inch or two bigger though.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    Right on point LBJ.

  • Dfrance

    In boxing or MMA, you’re competing against others in the same weight class only. The “Pound for Pound” thing is used to say a fighter is the greatest across all weight classes, even though in reality it can’t be proven because, for example, a Mayweather can’t fight a Klitschko.

    In basketball and other team sports, everyone is competing on the same level. There is a clear distinction of who is better than who. What makes AI better “pound for pound” than Jordan?

  • Ugh

    His final playing weight was over 200lbs, too. He really bulked up in his last two seasons. If AI ever breaks 200lbs his BMA will be about 35.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • LakeShow

    That’s such a stupid article lol.

  • Dfrance

    Lol. That’s amazing that someone came up with a formula for that.

    And I used to LIVE for Ecto Cooler growing up. Thanks for that! lol.

    See @disqus_j65FuvcSML:disqus

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    why? because you don’t like win shares? i think that article is better than just arguing over 2 totally unrelated opinions.

  • melvo

    But what about in Memphis when he was unwilling to come off the bench? Amazing player, but his stubbornness was partly responsible for his demise.

    And when you say half the guards in the league, I’m hoping you mean ALL the guards and not just the starters.

  • Enigmatic

    How dare you. Apologize to my homie Andrew Lynch, Lakey!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s old man Andrew Lynch. He loves doing stuff like that. He wrote that 27 foot away 3pt % article too.

  • LakeShow

    Pound for Pound means your the best at your weight, not greatest across all weights. Is that what you mean?

    AI was still the greatest player under 170lbs or whatever. I think that’s what that means.

    Sure Jordan could have been better than AI at 170lbs and under 6 foot, but we could also say if AI was 6’5″ and 200+lbs then he would be the GOAT…

    It’s a dumb argument either way lol.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    pound for pound means if everybody was the same weight, the “pound for pound” best would beat everyone. it’s not subjective. that’s what it means.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so you just don’t understand what pound for pound means….

  • LakeShow

    Naw, i’m sure it’s accurate and all that, but it’s just so pretentious.

    Like, common… Just let AI be the greatest player ever per his weight… Who cares if Shaq still would have produced more at 170lbs lol.

    Too pretentious for my liking…

  • LakeShow

    yeah sure

  • Dfrance

    No it means the opposite. To be the best at your weight you’re just the best middle weight, heavy weight, etc. To be the pound for pound best, you’re the best fighter regardless of weight class.

    It is silly I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s stupid. i don’t think it matters at all, there is no “make everyone weigh the same amount machine” so it really is irrelevant. But you can’t just criticize it because you don’t like what it infers lol

  • melvo

    I still don’t believe the ‘agenda’ conspiracy. I love the guy, but most teams already had solid point guards or were turned off by his unwillingness to come off the bench.

  • LakeShow

    So who is the best pound for pound boxer and MMArtist?

  • LakeShow

    There’s no way of determining that. lol.

    How can we say Jose Aldo would beat Cain Velasquez if they were the same weight?

    Am I not following what your saying?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    you really can’t. that’s what it means tho. lol

  • LakeShow

    Yes I can! haha

  • Dfrance

    I’m no boxing historian, but Floyd Mayweather is widely considered the best pound for pound boxer, at least of today.

    Don’t watch MMA at all so I can’t tell ya that one. lol

  • http://signup.divinerenergy.com/ Anthony Dixon

    Iverson the GOAT!

  • RedDragon10

    For me, it’s just AI and T-mac

  • spit hot fiyah

    if we are talking non-injury related what ifs, then yes

  • Dfrance

    Penny and Grant Hill

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    What about Shaq? Lots of pounds there.

  • LLC#12

    If AI was in the league, the league would have made money from jersey sales, and from the attention he would have brought to the game etc, people tuning in. Why would a money making organization have an agenda against someone who would make them money?
    AI didn’t get back in the league because no team wanted him. He was old, his talents had diminished, and no team could offer him the role he wanted. Its that simple.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Chris Smith made the Knicks. Enough said!
    AI should have a job in the league.

  • King David

    words of wisdom from the most overrated player ever !

  • Elliot

    Shut up you moron

  • guest

    No, it’s a baking reference…stupid :

    http://www.favordesserts.com/

  • bike

    Maybe inches for inches…best player ever at that height?

  • Jake

    AI wasn’t a point guard. Plus, if you were an all-star for 15(?) years in a row, and had one of your most productive seasons ever right before a team said they were going to bench you, wouldn’t you take issue with that as well?

  • melvo

    Yeah, I never knew what position he truly played, so I always just said PG b/c he handled the ball so much and was put in at the 1 spot many times.
    And I was actually referring to his time in Memphis. I forgot that the same thing happened in Detroit. No other team was willing to take him on, but Memphis did. They already had Mike Conley and OJ Mayo (who at the time looked to be all-star caliber player), but he still wasn’t willing to come off the bench. I’m just saying that if teams knew he was willing to take a reduced role, he probably still be playing today–not putting injuries into consideration.

  • melvo

    Do you honestly believe it’s a conspiracy though? Teams were afraid his attitude would ruin team chemistry. He started turning into a high-risk, medium reward investment

  • Jake

    26.4 points, 7.1 assists 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game. Tell me what other guards were putting up those numbers.

  • melvo

    Michael Sweetney over Shaq. He definitely had the most pounds.

  • Jake

    Mike Conley was not that productive back then, and Mayo was still perceived as a 6th man type player to those who closely followed Memphis. Iverson didn’t fit in there at all. They don’t play an up and down game, and never have. It was their mistake signing him in the first place, but they should have traded him to a contender.

  • Jake

    Haha! I totally forgot about him. #wherearetheynow

  • LLC#12

    So you think the only reason AI isn’t in the NBA is because of some conspiracy against him, and nothing to do with his talent/ego?

  • melvo

    But who would they trade him to? Not many teams really wanted him. They had to release him. The Sixers got him back, which was cool, but he left before the playoffs started.
    But what contenders, even borderline contenders, could have used him back then? I don’t think any title-competing teams had room for him.
    We could go back and forth on this all day. But really, it was just unfortunate that his career ended the way that it did.

  • Jake

    Ego, maybe. Talent? Absolutely not. When you can find a place on a roster for Royal Ivey or Jeff Foster, with their lack of talent by NBA standards, there has to be a place for AI.

  • jaycee

    not many boxing fans here lol…. pound for pound is always going to be subjective because one has to make assumptions eg the heavyweight would lose power when he steps down a class. But basically looks at skill, ability, talent and kind of takes out of account the natural physical gifts a person is born with.

    To say AI is the best pound for pound is no stretch by any means, imagine if he was 6’6 with the same skill set? he’d be in the GOAT argument and probably would have averaged a near triple double with 35pts a game and some rings.

  • robb

    Most say Jonny Bones, but I like Cain Velazquez and GSP as well

  • LakeShow

    I’m still partial to Anderson Silva, but that is essentially the same scenario as me defending Kobe as the best in the game…

    One could make an argument for Jose Aldo or Renan Barao too.

  • Melvin flynt

    Yes jake u got it!!..

  • urriah

    i think you got your definition of pound-for-pound a little limited. it includes all possible weight-class, for example Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and George StPierre are considered the top 3 pound-for-pound fighters in MMA, yet they don’t share the same weight-class

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