- Allen Iverson and Karl Malone are both HOFers who gave defenders nightmares. The HOLDAT Podcast crew discuss their experience playing against them and dive into their hardest matchups.
In the latest HOLDAT Podcast, Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson take a stroll down memory lane and list the toughest players they played against in the NBA. Nate goes in-depth about how little guys like Allen Iverson and Will Bynum brought the best out of him. While Carlos discusses how Karl Malone was a beast and gave him buckets.
(Listen to the latest HOLDAT podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Carlos Boozer: I wanted to ask you a personal question: Who are the toughest guys that you had to defend that made you lose sleep at night?
Nate Robinson: Well, I never lost sleep over anybody, so let's correct that.
Carlos Boozer: (Laughs) I like that.
Robinson: Jesus Christ is the only person I'd be worried about, but a person I loved to play against and got me hyped to play was Lou Williams. We came in the league together and he was the one guy that every time he got the ball, he wanted to get a bucket and I was thinking the same thing. I was like he is not going to show me up, so he is not going to have more buckets than me. It was two little guys going at it and I used to love playing against him.
Another guy is Will Bynum—little guy from Chicago. Shoutout to Will Bynum. He was like the Nate Robinson of Chicago, being the little guy from the Chi doing it, before I did it, because I am a year younger than him. He kind of paved the way for me too and gave me the opportunity to go to college as well because he went to the University of Arizona then transferred to Georgia Tech, went to the national championship game and he kind of showed me the ropes.
But Allen Iverson! Come on, man. The list goes on. I saw Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford everyday in practice. There are so many guys. This era right now I would have to guard James Harden, he's a tough cover. Kobe Bryant was the best of the best bro. This is the NBA. You play against the greatest every night.
Boozer: That's what makes the NBA so dope. You get to challenge yourself every night against the best.
Robinson: What about you?
Boozer: For me, when I came in the NBA in 2002, there were so many great power forwards—from Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, I played against Karl Malone and he gave me 38 and 15 and only played 30 minutes. He was like a video game. He was just so strong and his jumpshot was wet from anywhere on the court—playing off that Stockton pick-and-roll.
Robinson: Man, you let a dude that wore two wrestling wristbands on his arms...(laughs).
Boozer: Man, that boy was cooking! I fouled out trying to guard him. Big Ticket, you know KG in Minnesota in his prime was a handful with his size, athleticism, his touch, his footwork, determination. He was a handful for everybody but he was one of those guys that I really loved to play against because he made you work. He was a great defender as well, so anytime I had my 25 or 30 on KG, I had to work my tail off to get it. So I was proud of those kind of moments.
Rasheed Wallace, especially when he was in Portland and Detroit was an incredible low-post scorer, had inside-out before it became real popular. Another guy for me that is still playing and might retire this year is Dirk Nowitzski. Dirk was a tough matchup, bro. Because he can pick and pop from the three, if you got up on him he had the quickness to go around you like he was a three, on that box he had that one-legged kick up faded away which is so pretty. If you fouled him, he was 90 percent at the line, so he was a tough, tough cover. Tim Duncan was very fundamental, not flashy, but got the job done every night. Got you 20 and 12 every night. Very consistent.
In today's game I truly do love watching Anthony Davis, man. We had a chance to play against him when he was a young buck and a rising star. He has arrived. He is going to be the MVP at some point in this league.
Robinson: The Brow is filthy. I got a glimpse of playing on the same team with the Pelicans on a quick little 10-day.
Boozer: He is incredible, man. He reminds me of like a KG. Very skilled, plays inside-outside, very athletic, can control the game defensively with blocked shots and rebounds. Plays above the rim very similar to how KG played in Minnesota, maybe more skilled. Hard to say that because of what KG has been able to accomplish, but don't sleep on Anthony Davis. He is on the fast track of accomplishing a lot. I really love watching Boogie. Shoutout to Boogie, I hope he gets back soon. He is one of the true low post scorers that gets buckets. That is my list right now, and that is the two guys I really enjoy watching that are bigs.