Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant said it "means the world" to him to pass Allen Iverson on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Durant scored 21 points in a 122-104 win over the Boston Celtics and is now 25th player on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
"I mean, it means the world. I dedicated my life to this game at an early age ... so I watched all these guys that I'm like passing up," Durant said after scoring 21 points for the Nets, who improved to an Eastern Conference-leading 14-5.
"I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be in the NBA like them, and make an impact in the league like them. So Iverson, he was the pantheon for me. One of those guys that I emulated every time I went outside and played with my friends.
It's all surreal. I pictured I would be in the league, and had an idea ... but to do it is pretty special."
Durant idolized Iverson as a kid
Many players from Durant's generation grew up idolizing Iverson and Durant was no exception.
"I really became a huge Iverson fan, obviously, just like everybody else his rookie year. But seeing him at Georgetown and playing for coach [John] Thompson and that whole culture that they built there, he was a huge part of that," Durant said.
"But once he came to the league, he had players ... I was a center, power forward on my young team, and we all were long crossing and double crossing. He influenced a lot of people. "So to pass him on the list and to be up there with some of the greats on that list is incredible.
I've just got to keep going." Ime Udoka, who was the Nets' assistant coach last year, is now the Celtics' head coach. Durant used the opportunity to have a friendly trash-talk with Udoka. "Me and Ime got tight over last year and over the Olympics," Durant said.
"So just friendly trash talk. I mean, he talks so much s--- to me. Yeah, so it helps I guess that there's competition between us two teams. We're all going to be around here late in the season. "It was good to beat Ime.
I get excited about coming here and winning in Boston. It's a tough place to play. But now that Ime is a coach, it makes it even sweeter."