The NBA Finals are underway, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are up 3-0 on the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James is dominating in game 3, but one moment has caught everyone’s attention. In the third quarter, with a little over five minutes left to go, James was fouled by Draymond Green and went to the free throw line. He missed his first two shots, but made his third attempt to put Cleveland ahead by six points.
The i met the criteria to be selected but i wasn’t meme is a popular phrase that has been used as a response to an event. It is most commonly associated with basketball, but it can also be used for other sports like football and soccer.
For years, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons have had a sour relationship. Both NBA luminaries have made public digs at each other. They’re also good at making subtle jabs.
While describing what makes Allen Iverson’s game so deadly, Thomas managed to bring MJ into the discussion by recalling one of the rare occasions Jordan was on the receiving end of a highlight.
Isiah Thomas and Allen Iverson were crossover kings.
Modern NBA fans are well aware of Allen Iverson’s ability with the ball in his hands. They may not realize how deftly Isiah Thomas handled the situation.
Thomas had one of the most deft crossovers ever seen in the NBA. He had the ball on a string and could easily change directions. To set up drives to the basket, Zeke liked to go between his legs. In the 1980s, he was one of the most well-known isolation players.
Iverson had Thomas’ quickness and, maybe, added a little more flare. In terms of setup, The Answer’s crossovers were sometimes more complex and emphasized. Whereas Thomas excelled at driving the ball forward, Iverson was a master at utilizing stepback crossovers. Tyronn Lue and Antonio Daniels are well aware of the situation.
During an episode of NBA TV’s Open Court, Thomas went into the differences between him and Iverson in more detail. He also used the episode to remind viewers of one of AI’s most well-known crossovers.
While dissecting Iverson’s crossover, Thomas made a subtle jab at Michael Jordan.
With a devastating one-two crossover, youngster Allen Iverson almost sent former Bulls great Michael Jordan flying. It’s one of the rare occasions in Jordan’s NBA career when he’s been made to seem stupid. Thomas is obviously enthralled by the moment.
During the “Signature Moves” episode of Open Court, Thomas characterized Allen Iverson’s crossover as “out of the box.” The Answer gave the impression that he would drive to the rim, dribble out wide, and then cross the ball back over. Iverson would often throw opponents, especially Jordan, for a loop by shaking the rock, as Thomas pointed out.
“Iverson… when he threw in the shake… It’s a good thing it was on Jordan and not on me.”
-On NBA Open Court, Isiah Thomas
Thomas left the NBA in 1994, two years before Iverson made his debut. Naturally, he was never given the opportunity to guard Iverson. Jordan did not have the same luck in avoiding ankle-breaking crossovers.
Still, Zeke’s career hasn’t been without its ups and downs.
Zeke can rest easy knowing that he’ll never have to face AI.
Isiah Thomas, a former Indiana Hoosier, takes the floor at halftime during a game versus the Purdue Boilermakers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana on February 8, 2020 | Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Isiah Thomas struggled to defend a player with much less celebrity than Allen Iverson.
Thomas stated in the same “Signature Moves” episode that he was often targeted by a journeyman guard named Steve Colter because of a move known as the “Crooked Leg.” Colter would place his feet firmly on the ground before completely changing directions, and Thomas had lost his ability to do it at full speed.
Thomas seems to admit that guarding someone like Iverson, who altered the appearance of the crossover in practice, would be difficult. Given that Michael Jordan was one of the best perimeter defenders of all time, and AI still managed to shake him off of his shoes, that’s definitely fair game.
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