Years ago, Kawhi Leonard once said he grew up a Sixers fan because of Allen Iverson. No one knew what specifically drew The Klaw to AI, but he finally explained it today.
After the Clippers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, I had a chance to ask Kawhi about his love for Iverson.
"Just his gameplay," Leonard said. "How hard he played...He played both ends."
The moment that cemented Kawhi's fandom for AI was his historic finals run in the year 2001. Allen Iverson carried a Philadelphia 76ers team against a behemoth Laker team, that's arguably been considered as the greatest playoff team in history. The Lakers lost one game in the entire playoffs, and it was against the Sixers.
The Sixers ultimately fell short against the Lakers, but they took Game 1, where Iverson created one of the most famous moments in NBA history as he walked over Tyronn Lue. Iverson was averaging 35.6 points a game in that series, and only one other Sixers player was averaging double digits. Throughout that entire playoff run, Iverson was averaging 33 points a game.
The positivity goes both ways, as Iverson once called Kawhi Leonard " the best two-way player in the league."
Allen Iverson may not have won an NBA Championship, but he is one of the most influential players in the history of basketball. His influence impacted Kawhi Leonard, and Kawhi will impact the next generation from him.