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Allen Iverson’s Career Record vs. NBA Legends And Superstars: He Beat LeBron James But Struggled Against Michael Jordan And Kobe Bryant

Allen Iverson’s Career Record vs. NBA Legends And Superstars: He Beat LeBron James But Struggled Against Michael Jordan And Kobe Bryant

After two successful seasons at Georgetown University, a 6-foot-0 guard declared for the NBA Draft. That height never mattered, as he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick. Since that night in 1996, Allen Iverson became a Rookie of the Year, a four-time scoring champion, and eventually one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. He remains the shortest player in league history to win an MVP Award in a season where he played in the NBA Finals.

While Iverson never came out with an NBA title, he was an 11-time All-Star that knew how to score the ball. His 26.7 points per game career average rank seventh all-time, while his playoff average of 29.7 points per game is third, only behind Luka Dončić and Michael Jordan. That track record continued when he played against some of the top players in the league.

Chauncey Billups - 31 Games, 11-20 (34.3%)

Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups

Regular Season: 24.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 42.8 FG%, 76.6 3-PT% (9-14)

Playoffs: 32.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 9.8 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 45.4 FG%, 39.5 3-PT% (2-6)

‘The start of Billups’ career didn’t take off like Iverson’s. He bounced around a handful of teams before he joined the Pistons. While Iverson outplayed Billups statistically, it was the teams led by Billups that won nearly two out of three games. Iverson’s career-high against Billups was 39 points, as part of 24 games where Iverson outscored him.

In the playoffs, Iverson and Billups played three games against each other during the 2003 semifinals. Despite scoring 38 points in their final meeting, the Pistons came out with a 93-89 overtime win. The two also met in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. Iverson scored point totals of 37, 36, and 34 in the final three games, but the Pistons came out on top.

Tim Duncan - 29 Games, 10-19 (34.4%)

Tim Duncan And Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 28.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 45.1 FG%, 31.7 3-PT% (9-15)

Playoffs: 22.8 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 36.8 FG%, 29.4 3-PT% (1-4)

The craziest statistic is that Iverson outrebounded Duncan once out of the 29 meetings. Outside of that, Iverson outscored Duncan 17 times, but it was not enough to nearly drop two games out of three. For Iverson, he scored a career-high 36 points during a February 12, 1999 meeting that saw the Spurs come out victorious 98-94.

In 2007, the two met in the playoffs for the only time. In the first round, Iverson scored 31 points to lead the Nuggets to a Game 1 victory. However, the Spurs won the next four games, which saw Duncan either tie Iverson in scoring or outscore him. The Spurs ultimately won the championship that season, while Iverson was eventually shipped off in a trade involving Chauncey Billups.

Kobe Bryant - 38 Games, 14-24 (36.8%)

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Regular Season: 25.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 7.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 39.5 FG%, 28.0 3-PT% (13-16)

Playoffs: 30.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.6 FG%, 26.4 3-PT% (1-8)

Talk about a game that was always worth watching. Two of the greatest scorers in league history featured a battle between Bryant and Iverson. The two were evenly matched, and Iverson narrowly beat out Bryant by outscoring him in 20 of the 38 games. Iverson once scored 51 points against the Lakers, while Bryant’s career-high was 49 points.

The regular season battle was consistent despite Bryant winning those matchups. It was the playoffs where Bryant pulled away. The two met in the NBA Finals in 2001. Iverson won his only game against Bryant, which was the opener. After that, Iverson was unable to win a title, nor defeat Bryant ever again in the postseason.

Kevin Garnett - 21 Games, 8-13 (38.0%)

Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 26.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.1 FG%, 32.9 3-PT% (8-13)

Playoffs: None

Both players often saw each other during their careers but only met about twice a year. Iverson was with the 76ers, while Garnett was with the Timberwolves. Iverson once scored 43 points against Garnett in an April 10, 1998 defeat to the Timberwolves. Iverson would top 40 points again with 41 in a 99-94 win on December 18, 2002.

The two players never met in the playoffs because both teams were in different conferences. It would have required both to play in the NBA Finals. By the time Garnett was on the legendary Celtics teams, Iverson was playing out the final stages of his career between 2008 to 2010 with the Pistons and Grizzlies.

Steve Nash - 23 Games, 9-14 (39.1%)

Steve Nash and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 25.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 43.1 FG%, 30.1 3-PT% (9-14)

Playoffs: None

It was a battle of scoring and playmaking when these two players went up against each other. Iverson was known for his high-volume scoring, while Nash was a double-double machine waiting to happen. At one point, Nash served up 26 assists in a battle against Iverson. That helped Nash lead most of his teams to a winning record against Iverson-led squads.

Iverson once scored 44 points against Nash when he was playing with the Nuggets. That also included 15 assists as well, taking a play out of Nash’s handbook. However, Nash-led teams were superior squads. The two players never met in the playoffs, as both players were in opposite conferences most of their careers.

Shaquille O’Neal - 30 Games, 12-18 (40.0%)

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Regular Season: 27.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.1 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 39.9 FG%, 33.7 3-PT% (11-14)

Playoffs: 35.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 40.7 FG%, 28.2 3-PT% (1-4)

Getting to the lane with Shaq in the middle is no easy task for anyone. Somehow, Iverson managed to average over 27 points per game when playing against him. That included a Finals career-high 48 points. Iverson’s scoring was on high notice as he outscored O’Neal 21 of the 30 times the two played against each other.

The two met in the playoffs one time. That was during the 2001 NBA Finals when Iverson was named the league MVP. The 76ers took the first game but then dropped the following four. Iverson scored 48 points in the Game 1 win. He followed that with 23, 35, 35, and 37 points in the following four losses.

Gary Payton - 22 Games, 9-13 (40.9%)

Gary Payton and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 28.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 44.2 FG%, 29.6 3-PT% (9-13)

Playoffs: None

Payton might have been a great defender, but not even he could slow down Iverson, who nearly averaged 30 points per game in their meetings. Iverson outscored Payton 17 times. That included his best effort of 45 points.

With that said, Iverson’s first three seasons in the league saw him relatively tamed. The two meetings during his rookie year saw him score 12 and 20 points. The following season, Iverson was held to 23 and 8 points, while in his third season, he was limited to 14 points. It wasn’t until the 1999-00 season that he was able to hang at least 30 points on Payton.

Reggie Miller - 37 Games, 16-21 (43.2%)

Reggie Miller and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 28.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 41.6 FG%, 30.0 3-PT% (12-12)

Playoffs: 27.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 38.9 FG%, 21.2 3-PT% (4-9)

During the regular season, this was a battle of two great scorers. The Pacers and 76ers split their meetings with these two stars leading the way. While Iverson outscored Miller 29 times, it was Miller that was able to take advantage of the playoffs so that he could come away with the overall winning record.

The two met in the 1999 Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the Pacers swept the 76ers. Iverson scored 35 and 32 points in the series, but it was not enough to get the team over the edge. They met again in 2000, with the series going five games, but Miller came out on top once again. Iverson got his revenge in 2001 when the 76ers defeated the Pacers in the first round en route to making the NBA Finals.

Tracy McGrady - 32 Games, 14-18 (43.7%)

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Regular Season: 28.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 43.3 FG%, 29.5 3-PT% (14-18)

Playoffs: None

In 1997, Tracy McGrady and Iverson played each other for the first time. McGrady scored just 2 points in 16 minutes of action. In the following years, McGrady managed just 5 and 6 points. It wasn’t until the 2000-01 season that McGrady began to erupt like a dominant scorer. Of course, that was the year that Iverson won the MVP Award.

Iverson’s best game during the 2000-01 season was when he scored 47 points, but the Magic came out with the win in double overtime. Another battle came in 2003 when the 76ers outlasted the Magic in overtime. Iverson scored 42 points, while McGrady scored 39 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists in the 118-113 76ers win.

Chris Paul - 11 Games, 5-6 (45.5%)

Chris Paul and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 20.5 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 42.8 FG%, 30.3 3-PT% (5-6)

Playoffs: None

By this time, Iverson was trailing off to the later stages of his career. The first meeting came in November 2005. Iverson scored 24 points against Paul, who was a rookie at the time. The next meeting saw Iverson score 34 points, but Paul led the Hornets to a 88-86 victory with a near triple-double.

Iverson would eventually join the Nuggets in 2007, and Paul would contribute better overall stats. With that said, the two had fierce battles with each other that would result in a near .500 record for Iverson. Unfortunately, we would never see the two face off in the playoffs.

Michael Jordan - 13 Games, 6-7 (46.1%)

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Regular Season: 29.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 44.3 FG%, 36.1 3-PT% (6-7)

Playoffs: None

The first time Iverson played against Jordan was during the 1996-97 season. The Bulls were the defending champions, and Jordan was playing in a season that would eventually see him land another Finals MVP Award. Jordan would be amazed that this rookie would score 32, 37, and 44 points against the Bulls that season despite the 76ers losing each game.

When Iverson played against Jordan in 2001, it would be Iverson that would fall short of Jordan again despite posting 40 points, but he would finish off the final five meetings with victories. That included scoring 35 points in their final meeting in 2003.

Grant Hill - 25 Games, 12-13 (48.0%)

Grant Hill and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 26.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.4 FG%, 31.0 3-PT% (12-13)

Playoffs: None

Both players were fairly even against each other when it came to the stats. Hill would flirt with a triple-double every so often. Iverson matched his point total and shot over 50%. In 1998, both players had a marquee game that saw Iverson score 38 points while Hill scored 31 points in a 76ers win. Another time Iverson led the 76ers to an overtime win against the Pistons in 1999 when Iverson scored 33 points to Hill’s 27 points.

Iverson’s best game against Hill came on February 12, 2005, when he scored 60 points in a 112-99 win over the Magic. Iverson made 24 free throws that game, as he erupted in that setting. The next time he would drop 39 points, which was the following season.

Stephen Curry - 2 Games, 1-1 (50.0%)

Allen Iverson vs. Stephen Curry

Regular Season: 19.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 68.2 FG%, 0.0 3-PT% (1-1)

Playoffs: None

Iverson was playing in his final season when he played against Curry. The first meeting came on November 4, 2009. Iverson scored 18 points, while Curry scored just seven points. The Warriors won the game 113-105.

The second meeting came on December 14, 2009. Iverson scored 20 points as the 76ers defeated the Warriors 117-101. Curry scored 14 points and added four rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Had Iverson and Curry played in their primes, this would have been a game to watch.

Dwight Howard - 12 Games, 6-6 (50.0%)

Dwight Howard and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 31.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.1 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 41.7 FG%, 34.0 3-PT% (6-6)

Playoffs: None

Had Iverson been able to secure one more assist, this would have been a pair of players averaging a double-double against each other. Howard averaged 18.0 points and 14.7 rebounds, while Iverson was able to notch over 30 points per contest with a large assists count. The first time the two met was during the 2004-05 season when Iverson scored 29 points and 12 assists in a 96-87 win over the Magic.

Iverson would rattle off two more double-doubles in the following games. The fourth game, which was also during that season, saw Iverson go off for 60 points in a 112-90 win. Iverson made 24 of 27 free throws that game and shot 47.2% from the field. The 60 points would be a career-high for Iverson in the end. 

Dwyane Wade - 16 Games, 8-8 (50.0%)

Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 27.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.4 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 41.0 FG%, 37.9 3-PT% (8-8)

Playoffs: None

During the 2004-05 season, Iverson scored 45 points against the Heat, only to see Wade score 48 points against the 76ers. The following year, Iverson scored at least 30 points in each of the three meetings. During the 2006-07 season, Iverson had his best game against Wade with 45 points.

This was a back-and-forth battle between two great players that resulted in an all-time split. The two never met in the playoffs despite playing in the same conference. This would have been a great first-round series had it ever happened.

Vince Carter- 35 Games, 18-17 (51.4%)

Vince Carter and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 30.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 43.1 FG%, 28.6 3-PT% (14-14)

Playoffs: 33.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.9 APG, 3.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 40.4 FG%, 43.2 3-PT% (4-3)

Speaking of a great series, the Allen Iverson and Vince Carter matchup was just that. The two split the regular season, while Iverson barely took the playoff matchups. Iverson outscored Carter 24 times and finished with more assists in 21 games and steals in 20 games. Iverson displayed one of his highest scoring averages against Carter with his 30.6 points per game average.

In the playoffs, the two met in the 2001 semifinals. The series went to seven games. The first game featured Iverson out dueling Carter with 36 points to his 35. The second game saw Iverson erupt for 54 points to tie the series with the Raptors. Then, Carter scored 50 points in Game 3, but then Iverson scored 34 points in Game 4 to tie it again. The fifth game saw Iverson score 52 points to lead the 76ers to a win, but Carter kept the Raptors alive with 39 points. The final round featured the 76ers winning 88-87 as Iverson scored 21 points while Carter scored 20 points.

Jason Kidd - 27 Games, 14-13 (51.8%)

Jason Kidd and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 27.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 41.0 FG%, 36.8 3-PT% (14-13)

Playoffs: None

The first time Iverson met Kidd in a game was in 1996. Iverson scored 36 points, while Kidd finished with 11 points and 14 assists. This would be a common theme as Iverson would score the basket while Kidd would likely flirt with a triple-double. In the end, it was Iverson who was able to win one more game in the all-time series.

During the 2001-02 season, Iverson scored 43 points in a 110-102 win. He would top the 40-point mark again during the 2004-05 season when his 42 points led the 76ers to a win over the Nets. Even their final game against each other followed the theme. Iverson scored 11 points, while Kidd scored five points, nine rebounds, and seven assists as the 76ers defeated the Mavericks.

LeBron James - 18 Games, 10-8 (55.5%)

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Regular Season: 25.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 7.7 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 42.6 FG%, 26.1 3-PT% (10-8)

Playoffs: None

When James came into the league, he led the Cavaliers to a 91-88 win over Iverson, outscoring AI 22-19. He would double down the next year by outscoring Iverson 34-31. It was one of the few instances where a player would outscore Iverson most of the time. James outscored Iverson in 11 of the 18 meetings.

In this case, Iverson still managed to lead his teams to more victories. Iverson's best game against James came on April 4, 2006, when he scored 38 points. Despite that total, James scored 37 points as the Cavaliers steamrolled the 76ers 124-91.

Paul Pierce - 37 Games, 21-16 (56.7%)

Paul Pierce vs. Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 26.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 41.5 FG%, 29.2 3-PT% (19-13)

Playoffs: 30.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.6 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 38.1 FG%, 33.3 3-PT% (2-3)

When Iverson played Pierce, it was when the Celtics were not a very good team. Pierce was essentially the team’s offense. During the 1999-00 season, Pierce outscored Iverson in all three games despite the 76ers winning the season series. With that said, Iverson battled back and would eventually drop 47 points on the Celtics during the 2001-02 season.

The two met in the first round of the 2002 playoffs. The series went all the way to five games. After the 76ers lost the first two games of the series, Iverson dropped 42 and 28 points to tie the series 2-2. However, Pierce would score 46 points to help the team take Game 5. In the end, Iverson won more of the battles to take the overall record.

Ray Allen - 40 Games, 23-17 (57.5%)

Ray Allen and Allen Iverson

Regular Season: 27.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 41.6 FG%, 35.6 3-PT% (19-15)

Playoffs: 30.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 34.4 FG%, 33.3 3-PT% (4-2)

The first time Iverson played against Allen featured him scoring 30 points. He then scored 31 points the second time they played against each other. By the time the 1999-00 season came around, Iverson would explode for 45 points. The following year is when he would score 49 points as part of his MVP season.

The playoff atmosphere was intense when these two played against each other. That came during the 2001 playoffs in the Conference Finals. Iverson scored 34 points to outduel the 31 points from Allen in Game 1. After a loss in Game 2, Iverson rallied for 28 points to take Game 3. Despite 15 points in Game 4, the 76ers won to take a 3-1 lead. However, Game 5 featured 41 points from Allen despite Iverson scoring 46 points. In the end, Iverson’s 44 points led the 76ers to a Game 7 series-clinching win to take the team to the NBA Finals.


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