In 2016, Allen Iverson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Despite all of the negative press and several run-in's with the law, Allen Iverson was finally judged exclusively based on his on-court performance. It had nothing to do with his personal life or any of the issues he got into with the law.
He started wearing the No.3 jersey while in college, at Georgetown University, and continued throughout most of his NBA career. The one time he did not wear his favorite number was during the 2008 season in Detroit because Rodney Stuckey was already wearing it by the time A.I. got to the Pistons.
Regardless of the reason why, he remains one of the most memorable NBA stars to wear the No.3 jersey for his career. There have been several more, both good and bad, that have also rocked that same number and we went ahead and put a list together to give you something to talk about over the next few months.
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15 Best: Stephon Marbury, PG
The fourth pick of the 1996 NBA Draft is also a legend in the Brooklyn, New York area. Stephon Marbury grew up being told he would be the next greatest point guard in the NBA. In high school, he was even being touted as the best point guard from New York. He should have gone straight into the NBA but decided to give the college thing a try and played one season with Georgia Tech where he scored 18.9 points and 4.5 assists per game, as a true freshman, before turning pro the following season.
In the NBA, he was problematic point guard for all of the shots he took but he still averaged over 20 points per game with nearly eight assists on average too. He was an All-Star that ran into trouble with teammates and head coaches.
For being such a ballhog, Stephon Marbury remains one of the best point guards in Knicks history. He retired with career per game averages of 19.3 points, 7.6 assists, and 1.2 steals.
14 Worst: Tracy Murray, SF
It seems that a lot of mediocre talents in the NBA end up playing for quite some time because they keep moving from team to team. Tracy Murray managed to spend most of his career on the go, playing for seven different teams in 12 seasons, including a final year in Portland, which is where he began his NBA career in 1992.
He wore the No.3 on his jersey for two teams in one season, the 2000-01 year when he managed to play for the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. For the season he scored only 5.0 points per game while adding just about 1.5 rebounds and 0.5 of an assist per game too. The former UCLA star small forward had some ups and downs throughout his career but he failed to ever reach that elite level. He was always nothing more than a mid-level talent, at best.
13 Best: Damon Stoudamire, PG
In his rookie year, Damon Stoudamire put up 19 points, 9.3 assists,and 1.4 steals per game en route to a NBA Rookie of the Year award. His 9.3 assists per game were the best of his career.
The Toronto Raptors decided to trade him to the Portland Trail Blazers where he would turn into an star point guard. However, he struggled to reach the numbers he put up during his rookie year and was chasing that season the rest of his career while battling injuries along the way. He was a consistent scorer and a solid passer making him a valuable starting point guard, just not an All-Star. If not for his injury problems, he might have had more opportunities to become a much bigger star point guard.
12 Worst: Darius Miles, SF
Darius Miles was too young when he entered the 2000 NBA Draft and was, in fact, drafted higher than anyone else being selected straight from high school. The record would later be broken but at the time, it made him a teenage celebrity and a face of the future of the NBA. He did manage to get selected for the 2001 All-Rookie Team and help the Los Angeles Clippers improve, year by year, in the wins column. However, it did not last and he was traded to Cleveland before being traded again, this time to Portland.
That was when Darius Miles went from future star to annoyingly awful person when he got into serious trouble with the league after using racial slurs towards his head coach Maurice Cheeks. He even made sure to say he did not care if the team won or lost. Before long, he was battling injury after injury and it would lead to career-ending surgery.
11 Best: Clifford Robinson, PF/C
If you are wondering what a sixth man looks like, Clifford Robinson is not a bad start. After being drafted in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1989, Cliff grew into the best sixth man in the NBA. He helped lead the Trail Blazers to multiple postseason trips and eventually, after he moved on to the Phoenix Suns, he would continue his postseason streak until he retired after the 2006-07 season.
He made the postseason every single year he was in the NBA, and that includes playing for five different teams. He was either really smart or really lucky, either way, he is one of the only players in NBA history to have such a long postseason streak with multiple teams and never win a NBA Finals. For his career, he was a 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block per game.
10 Worst: Jason Hart, PG
Jason Hart is yet another name you might not know until today. That might have something to do with his career path in the NBA, which began in 2000 when he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. Sadly, however, he only played in one game that season, playing ten minutes and scoring two points. It was anything but promising and within two years, he would be in Greece, playing professionally overseas.
But that did not work out too well and he returned to the NBA where he signed with the Spurs, Bobcats, Kings, Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets, Timberwolves, and finally, the Pelicans. He spent time with nine teams in nine seasons with career averages that are anything worth mentioning. When he finished his NBA career, he headed back to his college where he played college basketball and got a job coaching. He is now a member of the USC basketball team's coaching staff.
9 Best: Steve Francis, PG
Did you know how tall Steve Francis was when he was dunking against Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady at the 2000 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest?
He was 6'3" but people might not have realized it because of how he was portrayed during the dunk contest. They were so focused on his hops that they made it seem that he was 5'8" when he launched himself through the rim. But regardless of how high he stood, he sure did put on a wonderful show that year and took that momentum with him for the rest of his career. He would play for the Rockets for six seasons averaging 19 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game, All-Star caliber numbers that are similar to LeBron James and Russell Westbrook's career averages.
8 Worst: Sasha Pavlovic, SG/SF
During his rookie season, Sasha Pavlovic was used quite sporadically, averaging 14.5 minutes per game with per game averages of only 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.2 blocks. That is not what anyone expected from the Serbian athlete who was drafted by the Utah Jazz to in the first round of the 2003 draft to help bolster their offense. But after spending a year failing to do so, he wound up in Cleveland the following year after being selected in the expansion draft by the Charlotte Bobcats, who then traded him away.
He was supposed to be a big star in the NBA and that is why the Utah Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats both drafted him before realizing they had a lemon and shipped him off to become someone elses's problem.
7 Best: Ben Wallace, C
Without Ben Wallace, the Detroit Pistons do not win, or even reach, the NBA Finals. He was the backbone of a defense that helped carry the Pistons to a 2004 NBA championship. His game was never pretty but he figured out where his strengths were and focused on those throughout his career, making himself better every time he stepped onto the court. He was a textbook rebounder whose methods should be shown to children of all ages.
He was even voted the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year four of five years in a row. His four wins is tied with another NBA defensive superstar, Dikembe Muombo, for most in a career.
Due to his contributions towards the 2004 NBA Finals championship, and his overall career in Detroit, Ben has since had his No.3 jersey number retired making him the last person to ever wear that number in Detroit.
6 Worst: Tierre Brown, PG/SG
It is never easy putting down a player who you probably have never heard of before but there is good reason. Tierre Brown was an undrafted free agent that signed with the Houston Rockets in 2001 before heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following year where he preceded to wear the infamous No.3 jersey for 15 games in which he averaged 4.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.
For his entire career, he has held four different numbers on his jersey. He has worn No.10, No.3, No.5, and No.6, all on different teams and in different seasons. He finally left the NBA's D-League and headed to Europe to play professionally over there and earning himself a nice payday in the process.
5 Best: Chris Paul, PG
As far as point guards are concerned, Chris Paul should be considered as one of the greatest in NBA history. He owns several NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, and Los Angeles Clippers records, mostly dealing with assists and steals. His passing ability is the best in the league and he is constantly finding open teammates near the basket while also scoring nearly 20 points a game, when he has to.
He does not score 40 or 50 points a night because he wants to get his teammates involved and make it a team instead of just CP3 versus whoever they play that night. But several times he has turned it on and scored at the most clutch moments of games, giving the Clippers some big time wins.
4 Worst: Rick Carlisle, SG
In his book, Maxims for Revolutionists, George Bernard Shaw said, "He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches."
Rick Carlisle played for the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and New Jersey Nets in his six seasons in the NBA. During that time, he scored 2.2 points, 1.1 assists, and 0.8 rebounds per game. He had one start in 188 games and was never considered a good substitute, just a garbage clean-up player that got lucky and was a part of the 1985-86 NBA champions, the Boston Celtics, even though he played just under ten minutes per game that season.
Since his NBA playing days ended so quickly, he moved to coaching and is now the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks and has been since 2008. He led them to a NBA Championship in the 2010-11 season but nothing much since then as they begin a rebuilding process.
3 Best: Dwyane Wade, SG
At 35 years old, Dwyane Wade is heading towards the end of his NBA career because been dealing with injuries caused by his style of play. He has always played hard, from start to finish, night after night, game after game, year after year. For the first eight years of his career, he was playing nearly 40 minutes a night, among the most in the league.
But his style of play has also led to several NBA titles, even without LeBron James and Chris Bosh. He scores 23.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, on average, for his career. The only other two NBA players to average more than that are LeBron James and Larry Bird. He is the best all-around Shooting Guard in NBA history and is on track to continue to increase his stats in Chicago.
2 Worst: Sebastian Telfair, PG
Not all of the worst players in the NBA had to put up bad numbers. Sebastian Telfair was never a loser compared to his career averages, however, because he was so highly touted coming out of high school, he belongs at the top of this list thanks to such a disappointing career.
He was supposed to be the next big thing to happen to the NBA just two years after Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James entered the league. He was the second best prospect coming out of high school in 2004, some places have him as low as sixth best, and had his choice of any college in the country but decided to go straight into the NBA, where he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers 13th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft.
He would bounce around the NBA, and even played a few games in China, before finally retiring following the 2014-15 NBA season. He ended up playing for eight different NBA teams in a ten year period making him one of the biggest draft busts of all time, as well as the worst player to rock the No.3 jersey.
1 Best: Allen Iverson, PG
The list of the greatest NBA players that never won a NBA title is pretty long since getting to the NBA Finals is not as easy as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant made it look. It takes more than just one player to get to the Finals, just ask Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor, and Allen Iverson.
Allen Iverson is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen and has been considered the pound-for-pound best athlete in NBA history. He was considered a selfish trouble-maker that caused more issues off the court than on it. But he carried the Philadelphia 76ers on his back for many seasons including the 2000 season when he brought them to the NBA Finals basically all by himself. The team's second leading scorer was Theo Ratliff making us all imagine how good that team could have been if Iverson had just one more star teammate.
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