Lakers' Russell Westbrook Disagrees with NBA Exec Comparing Him to Allen Iverson

Adam WellsDecember 9, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 7: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game against the Boston Celtics  on December 7, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook pushed back against one NBA executive comparing him to Allen Iverson. 

Speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the anonymous executive made the comparison because Westbrook is a player who wants to win but wants to do so "on his terms."

Westbrook disagreed with that assessment when asked about it by McMenamin:

"No. 1, I believe that I am a one-of-a-kind player, and I respect Allen and respect everything he's done for the game, but I'm not comparable to Allen Iverson by any means. No. 2, is that I've been probably—I feel, myself—always trying to fit in to do the best for the betterment of the team. And I've always done that in my career, and I'll continue to do that and whatever happens, happens. If we win a championship, cool. If we don't, I'm OK with that too and life goes on."

This isn't the first time Iverson and Westbrook have been compared to each other. 

In fact, Iverson himself made the comparison in a 2016 interview with Gerald Flores of Complex. 

“Just his relentlessness, his heart, his energy, and the way he plays hard every night," Iverson explained. "That’s what he reminds me of. I wouldn’t say his game per se, but the way he’s always in attack mode and his effort remind me of myself."

At their respective peaks, few players in NBA history were capable of doing what Iverson and Westbrook have done. Iverson was a force of nature with the ball in his hands, never more so than when he crossed over Michael Jordan in March 1997. 

Iverson led the NBA in scoring four times in seven seasons and had a 10-season run from 1998 to 2007 when he averaged 28.4 points per game. 

Westbrook is the only player in NBA history with multiple seasons averaging a triple-double. He did it four times in the past five campaigns. 

One criticism that followed Iverson when he was playing and still follows Westbrook is their lack of success in the playoffs. Both players did reach the NBA Finals—Iverson in 2001 with the Philadelphia 76ers; Westbrook in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Their playoff scoring stats are very similar. Iverson averaged 29.7 points on 40.1 percent shooting in 71 postseason games. Westbrook has averaged 24.6 points on 40.8 percent shooting in 111 postseason starts. 

Westbrook still has a chance to get that elusive ring with Los Angeles. The Lakers are off to a slow 13-12 start this season, but LeBron James has missed 12 of those games.