LeBron James has been a force of nature ever since he stepped foot in the NBA in 2003. He’s averaged over 20.0 points per game every season and won four MVPs and four Finals MVPs.
While it took nine seasons for LeBron to win his first championship, the King always seemed to put up his best performances against other superstars. Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson, who is close friends with LeBron, was one of the stars LBJ looked forward to playing against, and he destroyed the Answer and the Sixers so badly during a game in his third season that his head coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers publicly thanked him for making him look good.
LeBron James torched Allen Iverson and the Sixers for 36 points
The Cavaliers and Sixers squared off at the Wachovia Center on November 19, 2005. Both LeBron and Iverson had phenomenal games, but the former got the last laugh.
LeBron finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in 46 minutes while shooting 14-of-24 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cavaliers outscore the Sixers 38-26.
Iverson did all he could to lead the Sixers to victory. The one-time MVP dropped 37 points and 12 assists on 51.9% shooting from the floor. However, Philadelphia had zero answers for LeBron, who shot 6-of-8 in the fourth quarter and was scoring at will.
Mike Brown was the Cavaliers’ head coach in 2005-06. It was his first time at the helm of a team, and he knew LeBron made him look better than he actually was.
Mike Brown on LeBron James: “This guy is making me look like I can coach”
After LeBron guided the Cavaliers to a 123-120 victory over the Sixers, Brown showered his small forward with praise during his postgame media session with reporters.
“LeBron is amazing,” Brown said. “We didn’t do anything tricky down the stretch. We put the ball in his hands, and he helped win the game for us. This guy is making me look like I can coach.”
The Cavaliers won 50 games in 2005-06. LeBron averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists and finished second in MVP voting to Steve Nash. Cleveland defeated the Washington Wizards in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. However, it lost to the Detroit Pistons in the second round in seven games.
LeBron faced Iverson 18 times in the NBA. He had a record of 8-10 versus the Georgetown product. The two legends have always spoken highly of one another and will likely be brothers for life. And even though Michael Jordan was Iverson’s idol growing up, even Bubba Chuck can’t deny how incredible the Akron Hammer is.
Allen Iverson in 2020 on LBJ: “He the one, man”
Iverson has called Jordan the GOAT several times. However, it’s worth mentioning that in 2020 during a conversation with rapper Fat Joe on Instagram, the Hall of Famer said LeBron was “the one.”
“As much as I love Michael Jordan, like, dawg, man, LeBron James is the one, dawg,” Iverson said. “He the one, man. That motherf***** is the one, man.”
LeBron is the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists and win three Finals MVPs with three different teams. The GOAT debate between him and Jordan will probably never end. At this point, it would be beneficial for basketball fans to appreciate both Jordan and LeBron and stop always comparing them. The death of Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant should teach everyone a lesson about enjoying greatness while you still can.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference