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Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman

News flash: Allen Iverson announces his retirement yesterday.
“Whoa,” some of you are asking “Didn’t he already retire back in 2010 when he played in only three games for the Grizzes?”
No, we answer, that was from the NBA, he went overseas so he could spend the rest of his savings.
Certainly, he’s a first round hall-of-famer, if the committee looks past the cornrows, the “practice” speech, his rap song and his supposed thuggish appearance. No less than LeBron James says Iverson was the greatest player pound-for-pound to ever play in the NBA.
That’s where we jump off the train and onto the research wagon.  Yes, it’s a back-handed compliment, being that many of the greats including LeBron outweigh the 5’10, 165 pound Iverson by anywhere from 60 to 120 pounds. LeBron’s torso weighs more than Iverson, and if were a one-on-one game between The Answer and LeBron’s torso, my money’s on Iverson.
No one can deny he didn’t play the game with heart. Some will complain he slacked on defense or trash-talked too much. Others will say he over dribbled and passed too late in the shot clock. But no one can ever say he was afraid to challenge the big guys in the middle or afraid to take the game winning shot. Iverson was all about winning, and all about meeting every challenge. 
His combination of points, assists and steals for a player his size may be unchallenged. We’re putting the pencil to LeBron’s statement to see if the stats bear him out.  
We’ll compare him to Kobe Bryant (6’6 – 210); LeBron James (6’8 – 260); and Michael Jordan (6’6 – 220) with four stats: Career points per game (ppg), assists per game (apg), steals per game (spg) and rebounds per game (rpg).  The three players are considered the best to ever play the guard position although some argue that all three of these guys might be considered small forwards and therefore have a decided rebounding advantage over Iverson. Give the assists 2 points, every other category 1 point.
Iverson’s stats read as follows: ppg 26.7; apg 6.2; rpg 3.7; spg 2.2 = 45 div by 165 = .273 per pound
James’ stats read: ppg 27.5; apg 6.9; rpg 7.3; spg 1.7 = 50.3 div by 260 = .194 per pound
Jordan’s stats read: ppg 30.1; apg 5.3; rpg 6.2; spg 2.3 = 49.2 div by 220 = .224 per pound
Bryant’s stats read: ppg  25.5; apg 4.8; rpg 5.3; spg 1.5 = 41.9 div by 210 = .200 per pound
Even if we reduce Bryant’s, James’ and Jordan’s weight by ten pounds each (their first year in the NBA weights) Iverson still comes out ahead, far ahead.
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Detractors will ask what about winning percentage, NBA championships, making the players around you better? No, Iverson didn’t enjoy the rings like the other three guys, although, off the court he wore lots of bling. Hence, his rapper name, Jewelz. What would Jewelz say about Iverson being the best pound for pound? He’d say “Die if you don’t believe it. Anything to do wit millions I’ma be wit it.”
Well, okay, we realize 40 bars was from the year 2000 and he was blasting another rapper who didn’t think Jewelz was pound-for-pound the best with “Remains are found when the best kept secret get heated; You went platinum wit a ghost writer, so in the game you won, you cheated.”

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