"Do you think Allen Iverson was the bridge between the Jordan Era and the LeBron Era?
What's your thoughts? Iverson was asked that question in an interview. Obviously he said yes
You're acting like Kobe and Tim Duncan didn't exist.
Not to mention Paul Pierce.
It was the Shaq era in the early 2000's. When he was in his prime, Shaq was unstoppable in the post as he led the Lakers to win 3 championships in a row. I was too young to witness Jordan in his prime but Shaq is definitely one of the Top 5 players I have ever watched since I began following the NBA.
AI was one of the guys, but he never carried the league. Shaq did. He was THE GUY with AI obviously helping out too, along with Vince Carter. You can argue that Kobe and Tim Duncan were put there with Shaq and AI for the whole time.
After Magic and Bird took the mantle from Dr. J (kept pro basketball relevant), Jordan took over. He then passed the torch to Shaq who was the biggest basketball star on the planet from the late nineties to the early 2000's. Him playing for the Lakers helped too. Shaq gave up the torch with Kobe (and Duncan trying to run with it). But, for about the last several years, LeBron has carried the league and he still does to this day, with Durant in second place and Kobe still lurking.
AI might have carried the league for a year or two, but its been mostly Dr. J (or Kareem before Dr. J) to Magic/Bird to Jordan to Shaq to Kobe/Duncan to LeBron. AI was big though, a guy right behind the standard bearers. AI is more like Derrick Rose, a big, big star and an MVP but not quite the guy that "carried the league". Durant is also in a similar spot. It remains to be seen who LeBron will pass the torch to. Maybe Durant, maybe Rose, or perhaps Wiggins or one of those guys.
The bridge between the Jordan Era and LeBron Era starts with Shaq. He won 4 titles after Jordan retired from the Bulls. Shaq was also the biggest young star when Jordan was retired and playing baseball. Then Shaq began to break down as LeBron was really starting to take off. Shaq was the guy who carried the NBA between MJ and LeBron, but other guys like AI, Vince Carter, Penny (did better during Jordan's first retirement), Grant Hill, Kobe, and Duncan DEFINITELY helped. C Webb is another superstar that we tie into that Era and was maybe a precursor to LeBron James as a multi-talented big man who could score, rebound, run the floor, dunk, and pass with more buzz than most young talents.
If you want a comparison of great NBA point guards you could also say that Iverson was the bridge between Isiah Thomas (two rings, no MVP) and Derrick Rose (no ring, one MVP). AI is that 25-30 point scorer from the point guard spot who was the best little man in the league for a decade. He could run an offense and pass, but he KILLED you with his killer instinct, speed, and scoring ability. Like Isiah Thomas, he was THE GUY on a contender and an assassin. Both guys were probably misunderstood and maybe a bit underrated.
Derrick Rose is from Chicago like Isiah Thomas, but more of an athletic slasher and scorer like Iverson. Rose has an MVP award like Iverson, but is also looking to win a ring or two like Zeke.
I think the bridge between Jordan and LeBron was held up by committee.
There was never really a point in time where you could say, "he is clearly the best player in the league" because every year, it seemed as if there was a new best player. Whether it was Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, A.I., or KG, everyone carried the torch together between 1998 and 20?? (Whenever you guys think LeBron received the torch, 2010?).
So yes, I do think AI was the bridge, but I don't think he was ever alone.
I think Allen Iverson was sort of a bridge, Not for being the best player but for affecting change in today's NBA. Allen Iverson is the reason for the dress code, and he's a big part of the reason, why this whole efficiency craze is happening. That's also part of the reason why his career cut off early.
Allen Iverson was a classic hero ball player, not very efficient, and wasn't always the consummate team player. Players who play like that are mostly condemned(Carmelo Anthony). Also every NBA player today wants to be a male model, thanks to the dress code instituted after Iverson wore 10 pounds worth of jewelry, baggy pants, and nice kicks. After all of that he averaged 27 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals on 43% shooting. Those stats at 6'0, 165 pounds.
So he sort of was a bridge between the Michael Jordan and Lebron James eras.
Now personally, this goes for AI, Kobe, T-MAC, Melo, and etc.. I think people take this efficiency stuff too much. If a player can put the ball in the basket it doesn't matter. AI is one of the top 25 players ever. All Heart and no Height. People are arguing on if he's a Hall of Famer, he better be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
If you can shoot 50% but only average 14 points, what exactly is the plus of having someone that averages 30 points on 42%.
Everyone can't be as efficient as Kevin Durant, and everyone can't be as talented as Allen Iverson.
Things were spread out nicely then. Lots of exciting players and probably one of the best eras of all time when we look back on it.
Extremely talented players who flamed out -
Steve Francis, Antoine Walker, Marbury (Even Iverson in a sense)
Players who were generationally transcendent -
Iverson, Vince Carter (seriously, the guy set records for all-star voting in his time), TMac, fill me in if their is more I'm missing.
All Time Greats -
Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, Garnett.
Iverson did bring about a new culture and definitely was a face of the nba, but fans were blessed back then. he was apiece to the puzzle.
As Pistol Pete said AI was a bridge. Not as the best player in between the MJ-Lebron period but as the cultural basketball icon between the two eras. He had an amazing impact on the game, in terms of his style of play, swagger, attitude and ability to excel despite his stature.
Somebody else mentioned Dr J, truth of the mature is Dr J was probably never the best player of any NBA era, but he held the iconic torch of the NBA because he meant so much to the popularity of the game. Iverson's legacy is similar.
As others eluded to, A.I was more of a symbol of the NBA of the time, but not in a good way. He was fun to watch, but it the real hoop heads could see how he could hurt his team. Plus, he was blamed for the gangster rap phase that the NBA endured- fair or not.
AI is my favourite basketball player,and when i started playing basketball i played alot like him,slash and attack all the time,so I think he had way more influence on one generation,he was at one time the face of NBA,one of the most popular players ever i would say.And AI is also all time great,1st ballot HOF you cannot deny that.
Don't you think it sort of diminishes AI or Kobe to call them a "bridge"? LeBron is great, but let's not pretend that he overshadows either of them, especially Kobe.
A.I was the bridge between Jordan and Lebron. Lebron is a product of Jordan's game and A.I's cultural impact if you grew up watching basketball between now and 99 Iverson was everyone's favorite player. Shaq was the best player earlier in that era and Kobe was later. But they didn't bring anything new to the game or the culture. Iverson brought that crossover and that polished street style of play that was aesthetically pleasing and effective in the NBA. Look at all the players in the league that have the tattoos. They killed Iverson for his tatts and now the current face of the league is covered in tattoos and trust me it's not because of Shaq or Kobe and we're not even going to mention his cornrows. Even Kobe had Cornrows.