In our Friday And-1 links, we led off with an interesting post by Ethan Sherwood Strauss at Hoopspeak saying we need to separate the culture legacy of Allen Iverson in the NBA — the first player to really embrace the look and swagger of hip hop and become controversial because of it — and his game on the court.
He suggests that Iverson was a bad style of play for a legion to imitate on the court — lots of isolation and shoot first play that isn’t how teams win. I think that issue is far, far bigger than Allen Iverson and starts more at the High School and AAU levels (if not earlier) where coaches who have a good player clear out for him because at that level the player can dominate.
But that’s a bigger discussion for another day. The fact is Iverson was one of the most entertaining players of a generation because he could do what he could. Listed as 6’0″ (it seems generous if you see him in person) he was able to knife in among the trees of the NBA and make the impossible happen. He was compelling. Because of his size we could relate to him in a way we will never relate to a Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal or any big man back to George Mikan. They were built for basketball, Iverson was built more like us. It’s why we find Derrick Rose such a great story.
So enjoy your weekend by starting off with some Allen Iverson highlights. Because he was just flat out fun to watch.