Allen Iverson and DMX: Different stages but same ovation

DMX (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for NYLON)
DMX (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for NYLON) /
1 of 4

DMX and Allen Iverson impacted an entire generation of fans who love basketball and Hip-Hop. This article honors both icons in an in-depth comparison of the two.

Real recognize real. This statement is evident in a photo taken in 2017 when Allen Iverson and DMX greeted one another at a BIG3 basketball game in Chicago. These two icons from their own respective worlds, NBA great and Hip-Hop legend, were different but so much alike in many ways. In honor of the late DMX’s influence on culture through his music, we will take a look at how he and Sixers great Allen Iverson were one in the same person.

Allen Iverson & DMX: Talent

When it came to Earl “DMX” Simmons and Allen Iverson, their talent was tremendous. It is the main reason why they became legendary stars. As individuals, they could dazzle an audience in isolation. No matter who shared the stage with them, the two giant figures always stood out. Yet, they did more than hold their own against competition.

During the height of their success, the display of skill of DMX and A.I. was mesmerizing. On the court, Iverson was as quick and gifted as any other guard in the NBA. He knew his spots, how to get there, and when to execute. His handles were phenomenal and his movements were precise. In every appearance, Iverson was electric. DMX was the same with his flow.

The award-winning rapper would deliver rhymes in his own unique fashion with his gritty voice and intonation. His energy on stage was always raw, penetrating, and infectious. Lyrically, he could produce rhymes that would resonate long after the song was finished, the same way Iverson would leave spectators in awe after a crossover.

DMX, with the exception of a few MCs in the late 90’s, could not be touched. The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac were tragically killed before DMX’s career truly blossomed, but he still had peers like Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, and Ludacris. While they enjoyed success the way DMX did, their lyricist skills and delivery could not touch the range of DMX.

Where he could paint pictures with profound words about spirituality and redemption, DMX could then flip it and release a party banger like “Party Up” and “X Gon’ Give it to Ya”. Still not impressed? DMX could tell a story about a bank robbery in a song like “Heat”, and then rap a song about his affinity for the ladies in “How’s it Goin’ Down”. Add to this his menacing growl and dog-like mannerisms, and you have a rap artist in his own lane, on his own highway, in his own city. Speaking of owning his own lane…

One of the many reasons why Iverson was a Hall of Fame recipient was the havoc he would create in passing lanes. He led the league in steals multiple times, but for every theft of the basketball, he drove lanes relentlessly like a fullback through a pile of linemen. Iverson’s skill diversity on the court was as impressive as DMX was on stage. A.I. could do damage on any area of the floor. He could rise up and slam on a center’s dome (ask Marcus Camby), or A.I. could cross you over and drill a jumper in your face (ask Michael Jordan).

Their talent was sublime. It was what motivated fans to buy tickets, albums, and paraphernalia. Yet, both Iverson and DMX had a way about them that was irresistible to their followers. How they carried themselves was as appealing as any move or lyric.