LeBron James would put Allen Iverson on top of Michael Jordan on his idols’ list.
Since reaching legendary heights in the NBA, LeBron James has often been placed on the same footing as Michael Jordan. While it’s certainly a compliment to be on the other end of the everlasting NBA GOAT debate, James, unlike the others, didn’t really dream of becoming like Mike. That flattery belongs to none other than Allen Iverson.
Don’t get it twisted
For an aspiring NBA star like the young James, it wasn’t hard to be enamored by « The Answer. » As far as basketball goes, prime Iverson was what every young hooper wanted to be – an undersized yet dominant scorer with a killer instinct. However, LeBron’s adulation towards AI goes beyond basketball. And according to the man himself, it was the reason why as much as he adored « His Airness, » he’d always put Iverson at the crest of all his role models.
« He represented what black kids were all about and he resonated with every inner-city kid in the world who had a struggle, » James said of Iverson via Sports Illustrated. « Michael Jordan inspired me, and I looked up to him, but he was out of this world. A.I. was really the god. »
An idol’s advice
Indeed, despite the drastic difference in size and skill set, James somewhat followed the Iverson blueprint. Much like « The Answer, » LeBron took the world by storm and was arguably the best NBA prospect of his generation. They were the No. 1 overall pick in their draft class and undeniably would go down in history as two of the most influential players of all time.
Over time, despite being admittedly an avid Iverson fan, James carved his own path in the game. In fact, « The Kid from Akron » even surpassed AI in terms of accolades. Needless to say, Iverson knew LeBron wouldn’t need anything from him as far as playing was concerned. But if there’s a piece of advice he’d like to give to « King James, » that would be to stay unfazed and keep it real like he did, or avoid scrutiny and « be fake. »
« Learn from what I did wrong. Learn from all the stuff you’ve seen Allen Iverson do wrong that rubbed everybody the wrong way. If you don’t want to go through what I go through right now, as far as being the bad guy in the NBA and all that. Be fake then; that’s what I’m telling you. Be fake, » Iverson pointed out.
Having heard all this, we now know that no matter how unique LeBron seems, remember that a part of him is Iverson.