Allen Iverson was in some ways a predecessor to modern scoring guards. He was an undersized shooting guard who was out there to get buckets and played with a relentless attitude. He got to the Finals in 2001, and he showed that a small guard could be the focal point of their team.
Today, you see small scoring guards almost everywhere in the league. Stephen Curry led the league in scoring last year. Trae Young just made it to the Conference Finals. Kyrie Irving is still cooking people with his handles. While obviously, every player is unique, all three of these guards have traces of Iverson in them.
When speaking to Taylor Rooks about ushering in a new era of basketball, Allen Iverson revealed that younger players often tell him that without him, they "wouldn't be here".
If it wasn't for you I wouldn't be here. So many of them say that and how much I inspired them. And my size, they thought about not being big enough, tall enough, strong enough... and how I impacted their life and made their dream come true. Just by believing in themselves like I believed in myself. And just the why not factor. Why not me? You only live once.
There is no question that Allen Iverson was a pioneer and that he inspired a new generation of great guards. The NBA has historically been dominated by big men, but now, it's more common to see guards be the stars for their teams.
Stephen Jackson once told Allen Iverson how important he was by telling him this: "We can't lose you, we just lost Kobe". Iverson is an iconic figure in NBA circles, and he made a legitimate impact on its future. Without him, modern basketball wouldn't be the same, and it's clear that many players credit him for helping them be successful.