Deservedly so. Nobody pushed their abilities to the edge, nobody defied the conventional basketball wisdom — on and off the court — like Allen Iverson. That made him a hero to a generation.
“He was a guy I loved watching, just his entertainment value and knowing his story,” Curry recently told CSNPhilly.com. “It was inspiring just to know that you can defy a lot of odds and be yourself while you’re out there on the court playing and changing the game. Everybody used to imitate his crossover moves, obviously starting with the one on [Michael] Jordan and every other one that he did in his career.”
Curry saw what Iverson can do up close. Back in 2001 Stephen’s father Dell Curry was on the Raptors team taking on Iverson’s Sixers in the second round — a series where Iverson averaged 33.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 3.1 steals a game, and the Sixers took it in seven.
“My dad was on that Toronto team so we went to the games, watched,” Curry, who was a teenager at the time, said. “You’d see him out on the floor and you just kind of didn’t think what he was doing was possible. His motor never stopped. His competitiveness and desire out there, he played with so much spirit and passion. You loved watching A.I. play because of what he brought to the table.”
By the way, this is a mutual admiration society — Iverson is a big Curry fan.
Part of what makes both Curry and Iverson special is they are relatable in a physical sense. It’s hard to relate to the physical specimen that is LeBron James, or Anthony Davis, or Kevin Durant — it’s not that they are not fun to watch, but we don’t know what it’s like to be 6’9″ and fast as a gazelle. But Iverson was 6-foot (officially, that may be in shoes) and Curry is 6’3″ and skinny. They are the size of guys you play pickup against on the playground. You can relate.
And they can inspire.