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Allen Iverson's take on the LeBron-Jordan debate isn't as controversial as you think

Allen Iverson's take on the LeBron-Jordan debate isn't as controversial as you think

Thanks to ESPN airing "The Last Dance" this summer, every basketball fan in the world is dusting off their favorite Michael Jordan memory.

And, because sports fans are nothing if not constantly combative, those stories are being used to try and keep LeBron James down. It's just how the Jordan-LeBron argument goes these days.

On Tuesday, Sixers legend Allen Iverson - someone who faced both James and Jordan - briefly touched on the neverending debate, and accidentally set the internet on fire.

And, as is often the case, Iverson didn't get a fair deal.

Iverson appeared on Fat Joe's Instagram Live show Tuesday, where Iverson and Joe talked for more than 70 minutes. But one clip was shared all over, in which Iverson touched on how he feels about Jordan and James: 

Sounds pretty juicy, right? One of the league's biggest icons possibly endorsing James over Jordan?

If you go back to the 1:03:30 mark of the talk, however, you'll see this isn't what happened. Because here's the full quote:

I'm not gonna fight what's the best. I'm not gonna fight. Like, much as I love Michael Jordan, dog, LeBron James is the one, dog. He the one. That m**********r is the one. Kevin Durant is the one, man. The one. He's like that. 

And the lead-in to that comment from Iverson? He was talking about appreciating Michael Jackson's music, saying he'd listen to Jackson's songs before games. He was talking about being a fan of what's great, and being able to appreciate current greatness while also appreciating previous greatness.

Frankly, it's a great way to approach the Jordan-LeBron debate! A nuanced take from a very nuanced guy. Michael Jordan was amazing. LeBron James is amazing. You can appreciate both, and more people should try to view them separately instead of qualifying their accomplishments against each other.

So let's just appreciate Iverson's take for what it is, instead of creating bonus arguments where they don't exist.

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Jazz and Pelicans players and coaches kneel in protest during national anthem before NBA season resumes

Jazz and Pelicans players and coaches kneel in protest during national anthem before NBA season resumes

Before games kicked off again after a hiatus of nearly five months, members of the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans made a statement Thursday night. 

Players, coaches and referees took a knee during the national anthem before the NBA’s resumption, with many wearing Black Lives Matter shirts. Former Sixers Jahlil Okafor, JJ Redick and Jrue Holiday are on the Pelicans. Holiday and his wife Lauren are using the 30-year-old’s remaining game checks to launch a social justice fund.

The league is aiming to focus on racial injustice as it restarts play during the coronavirus pandemic. Some players, including six Sixers, have chosen to wear jerseys with pre-approved social justice messages. Many, including Tobias Harris and Mike Scott, have used their time with the media to draw attention to the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency room technician, and call on Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron to arrest officers Myles Cosgrove, Brett Hankison and Jon Mattingly. 

The Sixers and Brett Brown, who’s part of an 11-member coaches committee headed by current Hawks head coach and former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce that’s dedicated to addressing racism and police brutality, have been talking often about these issues. 

“This whole racial injustice discussion and incredibly powerful, real, sad examples that lead us to this topic … we talk about all the time,” Brown said Thursday. “… There are things internally that we’ll talk about that will remain private until we feel we have a solid plan to share with the marketplace. We’ve been exploring our role, what we can do to make a difference and impact, especially as it relates to the city of Philadelphia.”

Rapper Meek Mill, a Philadelphia native who memorably rang the Sixers’ ceremonial Liberty Bell before Game 5 of the team’s 2018 first-round series vs. the Heat after being released from prison, was featured in a TNT segment shortly before the national anthem. He talked about the Black Lives Matter movement, activism and his admiration for Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. 

The Sixers’ season is set to resume Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the Pacers. Players have made it clear they don’t want the excitement about meaningful games returning to distract from the world outside of sports. 

“I know there are probably plenty of guys who were thinking about not even coming to this bubble because of everything that’s happening right now, me included,” Josh Richardson said Thursday. “We’re here, we love basketball, we’re trying to win a championship, but at the same time, there’s a bigger thing going on that we’re all honestly here for.” 

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Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Hearing the Sixers describe their early days inside the NBA’s “bubble” at Disney World, it sounds something like living inside a reality television show.

The team is isolated from the outside world and preparing to perform for the general public’s entertainment. In their downtime, many players have felt as if they’re at summer camp, not an environment created in response to a pandemic. They’re taking part in approved recreational activities while making sure to adhere to the league’s many health and safety regulations. Fishing has been an option some players have enjoyed. 

“The fishing conditions are very good, a lot of largemouth bass,” Ben Simmons said Monday in a video conference call. “I fish a lot so this is what I do every day. I work out, play some video games and fish, so that’s my day-to-day routine. But overall I think everyone is just doing something to be productive in some sort of aspect. 

“I think guys are enjoying it. Myself, personally, I’m just having a good time, getting ready for the games coming up and using the free time to just do something that I enjoy doing. So it’s been good.”

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We went fishing for some bass 🎣

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Joel Embiid said Monday he’s enjoying his “big TV and video games. … Just enjoying my time being on FaceTime basically 24/7 and playing video games.”

The NBA and NBPA announced Monday that two players of the 322 tested in Orlando were positive for the coronavirus, and that those players never cleared quarantine. Though many questions linger about the league’s approach, both in terms of efficacy and morality as the NBA ramps up to play in a location where COVID-19 has taken a serious toll on the healthcare system, it seems to have been successful so far in preventing a spread of the coronavirus on the Disney World campus.

Monday, ESPN reported that the Rockets' Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine, while former Sixer Richaun Holmes tweeted that he accidentally breached the bubble to pick up a food delivery. Both players were subject to extended time in quarantine. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday that multiple tips have been made to the NBA's anonymous hotline to report protocol violations. 

At least initially, Brett Brown thought his players were doing a good job of following all precautions. 

“How are the players responding? Well," Brown said Sunday. “Do I think it can be maintained? I do, as far as the discipline. We all worry about the virus, in some capacity, sneaking it. But I tell you what, full credit to the NBA for creating this environment, and credit to the players for being — albeit (in early days) — disciplined to do the things that they have asked us to do.”

Rookie Matisse Thybulle’s video series on life in the bubble has provided a look at this unusual existence for players. Thybulle is showing fans everything from testing procedures to practice banter to a masked general manager Elton Brand sinking a jumper. 

“He didn’t get clearance to put me on,” Simmons said with a smile. “I’m going to have to speak to him if he makes any money off it. But I love it, I love that he’s capturing this moment. It’s a historic moment for sports in general. I think what he’s been doing has been great.”

It’s excellent insight from Thybulle into a situation nobody has ever come close to experiencing before. His two videos thus far have totaled over 500,000 views on YouTube, so Simmons may be wise to renegotiate a royalty agreement. 

On a more serious note, Mike Scott on Monday summed up life in the bubble well. He has no complaints.

“I just know how to adapt to situations I’m in,” he said. “It’s not that bad. The hotel room is good, food is solid. It’s just basketball after that. It feels like camp, like a basketball camp. You go from your room to the court from the court to your room, see some players here and there, but for the most part, I’m not really tripping. It’s straight, it’s cool.”

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