Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says he owes a debt of gratitude to Allen Iverson and would be happy to have the former Philadephia 76ers guard on his staff.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Lue credited Iverson with extending his NBA playing career.
Lue alluded to the 2001 NBA Finals, when, as a little-used third-year guard with the LA Lakers he drew the defensive assignment against Iverson, who led the league in scoring (31.1 ppg) that season.
"I'd want him on my staff because he'd have the respect of everybody in this league right away," said Lue.
"You know, if I hadn't defended him in that series, I'd have been out of the league. He made me."
'AI' made Lue look bad in Game 1 in that series, scoring 48 points. That game included the infamous incident where Iverson crossed up Lue for a basket; after Lue fell to the floor, Iverson theatrically stepped over him.
The Lakers went on to win the series in five games. And Lue would go on to play 11 seasons in the NBA, setting him up for his current job as coach of the powerhouse Cavs.
Iverson, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year, is now one of the marquee players in the new Big3 basketball league.