Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving is one of the most talented players in the history of basketball. Irving is an elite passer, shooter, and underrated defender but the best part of the game is his ability to handle the basketball.
Kyrie has some of the sickest handles in NBA history. At times it seems effortless for ‘Uncle Drew’ as it looks like he has the ball on a string. Kyrie running with a full head of steam with the rock in his hands is a terrifying sight for any defender.
But does Kyrie have the best handles in NBA history? Many have pondered if his handles are even better than Hall of Famer Allen Iverson’s were. Iverson’s former teammate weighed in on the debate Tuesday.
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Kenny Thomas Says Kyrie’s Handles Are Better Than Iverson’s
First-round pick Kenny Thomas played with Iverson on the Philadelphia 76ers for three seasons from 2002-2005. He has gotten the chance to see ‘AI’ handle the rock up close both in practice and in games. As special as ‘The Answer’ was with a ball in his hands, Thomas still thinks that Kyrie has him beat.
“Kyrie’s handles are better than AI’s,” Thomas told me in an email to Heavy.com.
“But you’ve never seen anybody with the tenacity of AI’s,” he said.
Thomas may think that AI has Kyrie beat in the handles department, but he is not taking away from how good of a player that Iverson was. Thomas has known how special of a talent ‘AI’ was before either of them played in the NBA.
“I played against Allen in the NCAA Tournament in the Second Round,” Thomas told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson during an appearance on the Scoop B Radio podcast back in 2020.
“So, I got a taste of that already. So, in the first half, he had about 12 or 13 points. But then he came back in the second half he had like 30 something. But that was my first experience being around AI, but then being able to come to Philly and have THAT guy on your team? I mean, talk about somebody that will go to war with you every single night!”
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Steve Nash Weighs In on the Iverson & Kyrie Debate
The comparisons between Kyrie and Iverson have been a long-standing debate. Earlier this season, Nets head coach Steve Nash found himself in hot water after saying Irving was a more skilled player than Iverson was.
“I think Allen was special in his own right. I think Kyrie is more skilled. I think Allen was different. Allen was electrifying in a different way. He got to the line a lot. Allen was a crazy competitor,” Nash said via Michael A. Scotto of Hoops Hype.
“The variety of shot-making coupled with the accuracy that Kyrie has is historic. Allen is Allen. He’s one of the all-time greats. Kyrie, if you look at what he’s able to do on the court, is historic too in the skill level and way he’s able to get his.”
Kyrie as great as he has been throughout his career has a long way to go before, he can be mentioned with an all-time great like AI. However, winning his second championship in Brooklyn could help cement his legacy.