There might be some debate when it comes to Jordan versus LeBron James, but for the most part, Iverson and Jordan cemented their statuses in basketball history. Both are first-ballot Hall of Famers.
However, ESPN’s Max Kellerman takes a far less simplistic approach when discussing Iverson and how his legacy should be defined.
Max Kellerman believes Allen Iverson would’ve been better than Michael Jordan if he was taller
During a recent “First Take” segment, Kellerman discussed the raw athletic talent that Iverson possessed and how he was once a highly sought-after football recruit while simultaneously being the top basketball prospect in the nation.
Iverson’s high school football highlights are truly breathtaking (his agility and speed were unmatched). However, Kellerman took it a step further when discussing Iverson’s basketball limitations due to his smaller stature.
He stated Iverson would have been the greatest of all time, over the likes of Jordan, had he been 6-foot-6:
“Michael Jordan is the goat because AI wasn’t 6-6,” Kellerman said. “AI… if he was 6-foot-6, that would’ve been the greatest player of all time.”
A rather bold claim to drop so casually in the middle of a conversation.
Allen Iverson put up historic numbers
For what it’s worth, Iverson did put up some mind-bogglingly impressive numbers during his prime days with the Philadelphia 76ers.
He averaged 27.6 points per game over 12 seasons with the Sixers. He also regularly led the NBA in various statistical categories. Iverson is a four-time scoring champion, three-time NBA steals leader, and led the league in minutes per game seven times.
On top of his impressive stat lines, Iverson also has a long list of accolades attached to his name. He’s an 11-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA, and two-time All-Star Game MVP. Iverson also won Rookie of the Year in 1997 and MVP in 2001. Iverson’s MVP season was an all-time great one, as the undersized guard led a below-average Sixers squad to the Finals.
With all of that said, Jordan is no slouch when it comes to awards, either. Even being six inches taller than Iverson, it’s challenging to compare the two resumes.
Michael Jordan was simply on a different level
No disrespect to Iverson, he’s a legend in his own right, but it’s near-impossible to compare an NBA player to Jordan.
Jordan is a 14-time All-Star, 10-time scoring champion, five-time MVP, three-time steals leader, 11-time All-NBA, nine-time All-Defense, six-time NBA champion, and six-time Finals MVP.
The iconic Bulls guard also won three All-Star Game MVPs, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. An incredibly long list of accolades, awards, and achievements.
Obviously, Kellerman is claiming that if Iverson were taller, he would have been able to rival Jordan as the greatest ever to do it. While there’s some truth to the idea that Iverson would have been better if taller, the idea that he would have outperformed Jordan is far-fetched.
Jordan filled his resume to the brim — it’s borderline impossible to imagine another NBA player coming close to matching it, even someone as talented as Iverson.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.