CHICAGO – Kevin Garnett made a reference to practice – how he chews it up and spits it out, basically, and has for 18 NBA seasons – and that word “practice” triggered a reminder of Allen Iverson. In fact, with his short fadeaway jumper just minutes into Boston’s 101-95 victory over the Bulls at United Center Monday, Garnett passed Iverson on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Garnett, who finished with 15 points, sits at No. 17 with 24,381 points. Iverson is at 24,368. On the combined NBA/ABA points list, they rank 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Garnett, based on his current scoring average (15.9), could pass or close in on Nos. 16 (Patrick Ewing, 24,815), 15 (Jerry West, 25,192), 14 (Reggie Miller, 25,279) and 13 (Alex English, 25,613) by season’s end.
At 36, Garnett is a year younger than Iverson, who got to the NBA one year later and amassed his total in just 14 NBA seasons.
“What’s the A.I. thing?” Garnett said as he walked to the Celtics’ team bus afterward. “Who, me? I would never have known no [bleep] like that. I don’t think about [bleep] like that until it’s brought to me.”
OK, so? “A.I. scored a lot of points in this league early on, and he did it at 5-11,” Garnett said. “So I got a lot of respect for dude. I wish he was still in the league.”
Iverson last played in the NBA in 2009-10. He reportedly has been unable to land another deal acceptable to him in China, after taking his game to Turkey in 2010-11. Last season, he was said to have turned down offers from teams in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Iverson gained most of his attention in 2011-12 for reports that he spent through most or all of his fortune, built off NBA earnings of about $154 million plus endorsement and outside income.
“There’s a lot of great players who are not in our game right now,” Garnett said. “Then I look at our game and think, damn, these guys could be playing right now.”
For what it’s worth, Garnett inquired about the rehab timetable for Chicago’s Derrick Rose, working his way from knee surgery toward what is presumed to be a February or March return.
“He should take the year. Do what’s right for himself,” said the Celtics star, who had knee surgery in May 2009 and didn’t return to what he and teammates felt was full production until midway through last season. One difference: Garnett is a big man who was 33 at the time of his surgery, compared to point guard Rose’s 23 this spring.