RETIRED NBA legend Allen Iverson insisted there’s no point debating which between the 1996 rookie batch and the 2003 draft class is better.
“What do you mean probably? We had the best draft class,” Iverson said firmly in response to a question by one sportswriter during a group interview on Tuesday at the NBA Café in SM Aura, Taguig City.
The 11-time NBA All-Star guard said he understands why the two draft classes draw so much attention and debate, since the 2003 batch has produced the likes of four-time NBA MVP Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
James, Wade and Chris Bosh, another first-round pick in the 2003 batch, won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat. The 6-foot-8 James left the Heat during the offseason to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“People try to debate it all the time with the draft class of LeBron, DWade and Melo, but no draft class was like ours,” said the 39-year-old former NBA star, who goes by the monicker, 'The Answer.'
The 1996 batch produced three NBA MVPs — Iverson, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash — while seven others became NBA All-Stars.
Bryant, who is in his 19th NBA season with the Lakers, continues to impress the flamboyant Iverson due to his strong work ethic and fierce competitive nature.
“His work ethic is right where it's supposed to be. His heart is where it's supposed to be and his competitiveness is right where it is supposed to be, so I’m not surprised at all that he’s playing at a high level,” noted Iverson.
“He’s one of the best to ever do it.”
The 6-foot-6 Bryant averages 24.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the Lakers this season after missing much of last year due to a ruptured Achilles tendon and the broken bone near his knee.
The six-foot Iverson is in Manila to coach the Ball Up Streetball All-Stars, which will carry the name Team Gawad Kalinga when it goes up against the UAAP-NCAA Selection-Team PCWorx on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.