Iverson Or Bryant? Allan Iverson was more than the magnificent ball-handler who carried the Sixers to the Finals in 2001. Iverson’s best quality is his evident admiration for the modern NBA and its athletes, coupled with his humbleness and genuineness.
It is common for older athletes and fans to believe that their favorite era was the greatest and that current athletes would not compete in those golden times because of nostalgia. In almost every case, this is incorrect.
That does not apply to Iverson. Although Iverson is undeniably among the greatest ever at a skill like ball-handling, he will readily admit Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving are much better than him. Yet, on NBA highlights, you’ll see him leave glowing comments on Instagram. He has an ego, and that’s understandable, but he does not let it influence his decision-making.
Despite his vital per-game statistics, Iverson played a lot of minutes. In half of the seasons he played, he led the NBA in minutes played per game. Of course, Kobe becomes more efficient at 36 minutes per 100 possessions, but there’s not much of a difference.
Statistically, Kobe is the clear favorite, and, of course, Iverson’s longevity (compared to Bryant’s 20 seasons) is no comparison.
It’s not quite Kobe’s level, but Iverson is a fantastic player. There is no reason to feel low about being inferior to an NBA legend like Kobe. Iverson himself is likely to agree with that, based on his post-retirement track record.
Physicality Differences Make You Wonder What Could Have Been
Basketball players around the world have praised Iverson for being the best player pound for pound ever. In other words, if Iverson were as tall and as big as those three players, he would be better than Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron. However, no one talks about Iverson being the GOAT because he’s small and wasn’t as dominant as Jordan, Kobe, or LeBron. Although he wasn’t the tallest player in the NBA (more likely, he was 6’0″), he was one of the best.
For a few seasons in the NBA, Iverson was better than Kobe. However, Iverson would have the edge over Kobe if they were the same size.
The answer to that question is either yes or no. Did Iverson have a better career than Kobe, or was he a better player? Allen Iverson’s career pales in comparison to Kobe’s. He won more rings, received more accolades, and had a longer career.
Although Iverson was more impressive in his prime, there is no doubt Iverson was a better teammate, a better shooter, and was more explosive.
Despite this, Iverson did not look the part. Iverson wasn’t a championship winner, had cornrows, was short (by NBA standards), and, of course, made those infamous comments trashing practice, so he was disliked by the NBA establishment.
But if you were watching basketball then, without the hype and just watching the game, Iverson trumped Kobe.
However, Iverson was a poor defender, no matter how many steals he made. He may have been better on the offensive end than Kobe, but he was a poor defender. Although Iverson admitted that Steph and Kyrie have better handles than him, this is also due to the evolution of basketball; therefore, previous generations of players have become ineffective.
As far as pure offense is concerned, Iverson was better than Kobe, but his defense was awful, making Kobe the better player. Iverson, though, was more proficient in the clutch.
Expanding on the physical aspect, Kobe is 6’6″, unlike Iverson, standing at six feet. Kobe also has expertise in boxing. Although Iverson has more acceleration and balance, none of that matters if his opponent is significantly taller and more muscular.
Kobe prioritized focusing on the betterment of himself, whereas Iverson relied strictly on his natural talents, never really taking the time to work out.
In the statistical category Win Shares, which means how many games a superstar won for their respective team, it looks like Kobe comes out the clear winner. Kobe leads 172.7 to 99 in career Win Shares. I’ll normalize it to 82 games because Kobe played more games. There, Kobe leads AI’s Win Shares per 48 minutes played with 10.5 WS/82 to Iverson’s 8.9.
Based on win share numbers, Iverson had only one season that was better than Kobe’s career average. This means that Kobe played more effective basketball than Iverson in his most successful season.
His Win Share peak was 11.8 when he had at least ten wins in three of the seasons. Kobe’s peak season had 15.3. Thus, there have been six seasons when Kobe had more Win Shares than AI’s best.
In addition, similarity scores help identify a player’s peers based on career value and the distribution of his achievements. Kobe is most similar to John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Chris Paul, Jerry West, and Gary Payton, according to that metric.
Vince Carter, Terry Porter, Kyle Lowry, Eddie Jones, and Jeff Hornacek are Iverson’s. Iverson’s peers are great players with long and successful careers; Kobe’s peers are legends.
In 1996, they were drafted into the league in the best draft class in history. Kobe was selected 13th overall by the Hornets, then traded to the Lakers. Iverson was selected 1st overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 1997, Iverson would become the NBA Rookie Of The Year after outperforming Bryant in his rookie season, averaging 24 points per game and eight rebounds per game. In 15 minutes per game, Bryant averaged 7.6 points for the Lakers straight out of high school. Bryant was better in his second year, but Iverson still outperformed him.
Iverson averaged 22 points per game and six assists, while Bryant averaged 15.4 points per game and 2.5 assists. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant’s careers were about to take off after Michael Jordan’s retirement in 1998. With time, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson climbed to the top of the league. Iverson is a two-time NBA MVP who won the Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and went on to win four scoring titles and three steal titles.
He was selected to 11 All-Star games and won the MVP award in 2001. In his career, Iverson averaged 27 points per game, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals. In just 914 career games, he was able to score 24,368 points and 5624 assists.
Throughout his career, Kobe Bryant won four NBA titles, three NBA MVP awards, the 2009 and 2008 Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, and was a 13-time All-Star game MVP. Bryant scored 25,790 points in 1021 career games.
Kobe is the winner based on his five championship rings, although Bryant has a similar resume to Iverson’s. With the help of Bryant in his prime, Iverson would have almost certainly won championships, and an Iverson-Shaq combo in the early 2000s would have produced the most incredible dynamic duo in the history of the sport.
Unfortunately, Kobe would never be able to do what Iverson did for the Sixers and lead them to the Finals in 2001 in the same way Iverson did for them. Kobe Bryant had a more successful career than Allen Iverson, but if you subtract Bryant’s success on the team, Iverson was likely the better player.
Iverson’s career stats of 27 points, 6.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 3.7 rebounds per game are better than Bryant’s 25 points, 4.7 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game.
As a playoff player, Iverson averaged 30 points per game (second all-time) and 6.0 assists, outperforming Bryant’s 25 points per game and 4.7 assists, but winning championships is what makes a player great in the playoffs.
Bryant had considerably more playoff success. You will be better able to understand who was a better player by comparing their statistics and individual accomplishments over the years:
- Iverson: 23.5 PPG, 7.5 APG, 2.1 SPG and 4.1 RPG. 96-97 Rookie of the year.
- Bryant: 7.6 PPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 1.9 RPG.
- Iverson: 22.0 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.2 SPG.
- Bryant: 15.4 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.1 RPG, 0.9 SPG.
- Iverson: 26.8 PPG, 2.3 SPG, 4.6 APG, 5.0 RPG. 1999 scoring title.
- Bryant: 19.9 PPG, 1.4 SPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 SPG.
- Iverson: 28.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.8 APG, 2.1 SPG.
- Bryant: 22.5 PPG, 1.6 SPG, 4.9 APG, 6.3 RPG.
Iverson: 31.1 PPG, 2.5 SPG, 4.6 APG, 3.8 RPG. 2001 NBA MVP, Scoring title, Steals title, All-Star Game MVP, Lead scrubs to the 2001 Finals. Perhaps the most remarkable individual season in the history of the NBA.
- Iverson: 31.4 PPG, 5.6 APG, 2.8 SPG, 4.5 RPG. Wins 3rd scoring title, 2nd steals title.
- Bryant: 25.2 PPG, 5.5 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG. Bryant 2002 All-Star Game MVP
- Iverson: 27.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 SPG. Iverson wins 3rd steals title.
- Bryant: 30.0 ppg, 6.9 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.2 SPG.
- Iverson: 26.4 PPG, 6.8 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.4 APG.
- Bryant: 24.0 PPG, 1.7 SPG, 5.1 APG, 5.4 RPG.
- Iverson: 30.7 PPG, 8.0 APG, 2.4 SPG, 4.0 RPG. Iverson wins 4th scoring title, becomes only the 5th player in history to average 30 ppg and 8 APG in one season. Wins All-Star game MVP
- Bryant: 27.6 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG.
- Iverson: 33.0 PPG, 7.4 APG, 1.9 SPG, 3.2 RPG.
- Bryant: 35.4 ppg. End of story. Bryant takes home his first scoring championship.
- Iverson: 26.3 PPG, 7.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 3.2 RPG.
- Bryant: 31.7 ppg, 5.4 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.4 SPG.
- Iverson: 26.4 PPG, 7.2 APG, 2.0 SPG, 3.0 RPG.
- Bryant: 28.3 PPG, 5.4 APG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG. Bryant wins his first NBA MVP award.
- Iverson: 17.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 3.0 RPG.
- Bryant: 26.8 ppg, 4.9 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.5 SPG. Bryant wins 2009 NBA Finals MVP
- Iverson: 13.8 PPG, 4.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 3.0 RPG.
- Bryant: 27.0 ppg, 5.0 APG, 5.4 RPG, 1.5 SPG.
Iverson topped Bryant in an individual matchup eight times in their 14 seasons of competing. Although Kobe Bryant has been a more successful player than Allen Iverson on an individual basis since Michael left the league, Allen Iverson has been statistically most successful.
Many forget that he had more successful seasons than Kobe Bryant. The argument should be: “Who’s Better: Michael or Bryant?”
Who is the Most Comparable Player to Each Star?
One of the greatest handlers of all time, Allen Iverson, was a spectacular shot taker and clutch killer. Thus, Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets has the closest similarity to “The Answer.”
He is famous for his incredible handles (which are better than that of Iverson), his amazingly tough 3-point shots that he plays like they are nothing, and his clutchness – he hit the game-winning shot that won the Cavs an NBA championship. Now that’s clutch!
Jimmy Butler is reminiscent of Kobe Bryant in a few ways, even though his game isn’t as polished as Kobe’s.
As soon as you see him on the court, you realize how vicious he is on both sides of the ball.
Besides being a five-time All-Star, Butler has been selected twice to the All-NBA team and four times to the All-Defensive Team. The 20-year career of Kobe Bryant saw him earn 12 All-Defensive honors, as well as being recognized as one of the best offensive players of all time.
Kobe’s defining characteristic was his work ethic, something Butler exhibited as well.
Butler’s cockiness and aggressive style are similar to Kobe Bryant’s, who had both advantages and disadvantages with his swagger.
He has been in numerous fights and damaged relationships throughout the league because of his intensely competitive nature and blunt leadership style – his tenure spans between four teams. Formerly, Kobe had a stubborn, arrogant mindset, but later on, he was embraced for refusing to accept excuses, and it was thought of as tough love.
How do the Stars’ Teammates factor Into Their Success?
The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the best teams in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Allen Iverson gained prominence as a star for the 76ers during this period and led them to an NBA Finals appearance in 2001.
During his time in Philadelphia, Aaron McKie provided him with a lot of assistance. Despite never being a top player on his team, McCie knew how to play his role and contributed effectively as a team member.
While playing for Detroit for a short time, he later joined the Philadelphia 76ers, where he spent most of his career. McCkie was very successful in Philadelphia. He was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and during the 2000-01 season, he played primarily off the bench for the 76ers.
During his career, he started games as a backup to Allen Iverson and Eric Snow. In 2001, he played for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. McKie started for five games and averaged eight points, six assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game during the series.
During their time together in Philadelphia, Allen Iverson and Aaron McKie were teammates. Although he was the star for the 76ers during his time there, Iverson recognized that he could not have gotten to where he was without his teammates. Iverson acknowledged his teammates during his retirement ceremony in 2013.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without these guys, without the accomplishments I’ve made in my career,” Iverson said. I became a household name because of those guys who set screens, played hard, and stayed with me the whole time.
McKie was a valuable asset to Iverson throughout his career, and he had a lot of respect for him. While he was never a top NBA player, McKie left a lasting impression on the NBA.
What is it like working with Kobe Bryant? You can imagine how interesting it must be to hang out around one of the greatest players in NBA history for a day. As far as the personality of the self-described Black Mamba is concerned, the public perceives him to be tough, tenacious, bristly, totally competitive, and utterly concerned with his own advancement.
Yet, Kobe will let you know. “Even if you’re my teammates, you still shout at me. I’m so determined to do this myself,” he tells me. “I only see that basket. You could be open, and three men could cover me, but the one thing that I see is that basket, so tell me, “I was open.” Or yell at me mid-play. It neither bothers me nor affects me. I actually respect it.”
Despite being a ball hog, Kobe was an open-minded one. Upon realizing that his tendencies were affecting the win rate of his team, he altered his play as best as he could, much to his team’s delight.
Question: Who Played in the 2001 NBA Finals?
Answer: The Kobe Bryant-led Lakers beat Allen Iverson’s Sixers four games to one, handing them their only loss of the playoffs. This would be the closest Iverson ever got to a championship.
Question: Who Was the Better Statistical Player?
Answer: Overall, Iverson was the better player, averaging 26.7 PPG, while Kobe managed 25 PPG throughout the entirety of his career.
Question: What did Kobe Say to Iverson?
Answer: Kobe Bryant once asked Allen Iverson what he was doing that night, and Iverson responded by saying he was headed to the club. When Iverson then asked Bryant in turn, Bryant said he was going to spend the night at the gym. This shows Kobe’s dedication to the game.
Iverson vs Kobe Comparison: Conclusion
It is well-known that Kobe Bryant is one of the ten greatest basketball players of all time, a player who has gone down as a legend. Kobe Bryant is the epitome of excellence.
It is safe to say that Allen Iverson will go down in history as one of the 20-25 greatest players of all time, he is maybe the best scorer the league has ever produced since Wilt and Michael, and Iverson is the best basketball player, pound-for-pound, ever.
Iverson had a better individual career than Kobe Bryant, as can be argued. I stress individually here. Bryant’s 5 championship rings prove that he is a more valuable team member than Iverson.