In an age of minute restrictions, stars getting regular season rest, and players conserving their energy for when it matters most, Allen Iverson bucks the trend. The man rarely took a basketball minute (much less a game) off.
Iverson is the only player in the modern era to average over 40 minutes a game in his career in the regular season, and over 43 minutes a game in the playoffs.
Iverson led the league in minutes per game seven out of ten times from 1998-99 to 2007-08. The years he didn’t were 1999-00 (third to Michael Finley and Gary Payton), 2000-01 (second to Finley), and 2004-05 (second to LeBron). In his rookie season of 1996-97, he averaged 40.1, which put him the top 10 (8th).
Iverson averaged over 40 minutes per game in 11 of his first 12 seasons (the 12th season, he averaged a measly 39.4 minutes a game). He averaged over 42 minutes a game seven seasons in a row from 2000-01 to 2006-07.
Iverson averaged 41.1 minutes a game in the regular season, one of only three players from the modern era to crack the top 10 (LeBron and Sprewell).
Iverson averaged 45.1 minutes a game in the playoffs. 3rd all time. He’s the only player since Bird and Magic entered the league to crack the top 10 (LeBron is 11th).
Iverson averaged 46.2 minutes a game in the 2001 NBA Playoffs. Sometimes he needed a rest, and had eight games in those playoffs where he rested for about one minute or so. He also played Game 7 against Toronto and Game 1 against Milwaukee on one days rest with no breaks. 48 minutes up, 48 minutes down both times.
In his famous 48 point game in Game 1 of the Finals, he played 52 of 53 minutes. In Games 2 and 3, he played 47 of 48 minutes. In the entire 2001 Finals, he rested for a total of eight minutes. EIGHT. MINUTES.
He topped that in the 2003 playoffs with 46.3 minutes a game in 12 games. He rested for a total of 29 minutes in 12 games. In a six game series with Detroit he went 48-50-44-47-45-53 (two complete games to start and finish the series).
Iverson played in 71 playoff games. He only played under 40 minutes twice.
In a 2005 first round loss to Detroit, Iverson played his final three games with no rest. None. He went 48, 53, 48 on one day’s rest each time. 47.6 minutes per game for the series.
Allen Iverson is a modern marvel.