In an interview on Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson’s podcast Knuckleheads, San Antonio Spurs legend George Gervin sat down and shed some light on those he admires who have played the game. Gervin started off by explaining the origins of his “Iceman” nickname, created by Rolland “Fatty” Taylor while in the ABA to describe Gervin’s “cool” style.
“What [Ice] means to me– I don’t try to be cool, I don't have to. It’s just being me, man.”
Then the attention of the podcast shifted towards the modern NBA, like how Klay Thompson surpassed the Iceman’s record for most points scored in a quarter. On April 9th, 1978, Gervin dropped 33 points when his Spurs faced off against the New Orleans Jazz losing 132-153, Klay scored 37 points against the Sacramento Kings on January 23rd, 2015.
Gervin does not think Thompson's outing should qualify, pointing out the 9 3-pointers Klay put up and how he himself scored 33 without a 3-point line. The Spurs legend said,
“The press called me and said ‘Iceman he broke your record’ and I said ‘He didn’t break my record, he started a new one.’”
It did not seem like Gervin is writing off Thompson’s record but simply wants people to consider it different from his own. It was only a year after Gervin set the 33-point record, that the 3-point line was introduced to the NBA.
It does seem like Gervin has respect for some of today's players. The 6’7” Hall of Famer also listed off a handful of his contemporaries.
“Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron [James]. LeBron and Kevin [Durant] I put them in the same kind of bag so you know, them my top guys that I think of man.”
Obviously, LeBron and Jordan have been in the conversation as the best to ever do it for years. However, the Iceman knew what it was like to play Magic, Dr. J (Erving), and Kareem firsthand in his 14 years in the ABA and NBA. What is more interesting is the choice of Kevin Durant, who Gervin thinks is the current player that most reminds him of himself (24:44 in the video).
“Oh KD – he scores different than me, but as far as putting it in the hole he’s just as effective. You know, once he added that inbetween game, he’s even gonna more effective, you know? I told him ‘Once you start shooting that inbetween man, you’re 6’11” and nobody’s there!’ He shoots deeper than me, I mean he just is– to me an unbelievable player with his size and what he’s able to do, man. He is definitely one of the top in the league, man."
The 4-time scoring champ even recalled telling Durant in between games that he should shoot more midrange shots to be more effective. It seems to have been good advice, KD won MVP honors in the 2013-14 season and won two NBA Championships, an accomplishment even Gervin never managed to achieve.