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January 29, 2016

ESPN ranks Iverson 46th best all-time; Barkley says people are too hard on Sixers

Sixers NBA

For a lot of kids, there is that one athlete you grew up rooting so hard for that it’s impossible to talk about them rationally as you get older. For me, that person is Allen Iverson. 

ESPN does the #NBArank series before each season in order to size up the league’s current pecking order. Presumably because it’s January and there isn’t much going on, they’re currently rolling out an all-time #NBArank. Coming in at 46 is none other than Allen Iverson. The five directly players ahead of The Answer? Paul Pierce, Dominique Wilkins, James Worthy, Bill Walton, and Gary Payton.

I think he’s ranked too low. Then again, I have also watched this game on YouTube over 100 times:

Over at ESPN Insider, David Thorpe shared a cool under-the-radar Iverson story:

Iverson's teammates for the 1995 World University Games included Tim Duncan, Ray Allen and eight other future NBA players. I was invited to watch practice by coach Lon Kruger, a mentor of mine.

Iverson had the most energy, every single possession. Guarding Chucky Atkins in half-court scrimmages, Iverson would turn and scream, "Let's play some defense!" Then he defended with every ounce of his body on every possession that weekend. We'd look at each other and smile, knowing we were watching a once-in-a-generation type of player.

Iverson led the team in scoring, assists and steals as it set records on the way to the gold medal.

At the end of his podcast with Bill Simmons (57:00 mark), Charles Barkley said that he felt “people are too hard on the Sixers.” Barkley also said that he believes his former team will be good again soon.

“Listen, if they had Joel Embiid, they would have an outside shot of making the playoffs. I’m a big Embiid fan.”

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann