Cigar enthusiast and basketball legend Michael Jordan gets Allen Iverson's GOAT vote. (Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

In the never-ending debate over who is the greatest basketball player of all time, Allen Iverson has a vote and, for him, it’s an open and shut case.

It’s ... Mike.

Iverson, in a first-person account on the Players' Tribune, makes it clear that he’s all about Michael Jordan rather than LeBron James.

“First of all, I love LeBron,” he says in the piece. “I have nothing but love for LeBron. That’s the best player of his generation, one of the best ever, a great husband, great father, great role model, and it’s even beyond that: What he’s doing with that school in Akron?? It’s a beautiful thing.”


"But y’all.

"We’re talking about Mike.

"We’re talking about Mike, okay??

“We’re talking about Black Jesus himself.”

Why Jordan? Not that the question needs to be asked, but Iverson has a compelling answer that involves a classic story about his Airness. Iverson tells how, in an effort to pay tribute to Jordan before his final All-Star Game, he donned an MJ throwback jersey and, because he is a Reebok guy, he cut out the Nike swoosh. He put it on and went looking for Jordan in the arena. Unable to find him anywhere, he finally went to the coaches' office and beheld Jordan in all his glory, wearing his uniform, leaning back in a desk chair and smoking a gigantic cigar.

“And he just looks at me — looks over my fit for a second — and he smiles,” Iverson says.


"And then he goes right on back to puffing that cigar.

"ARE YOU SERIOUS!! Man, I think I’m a cool guy. I’m all right. But Mike is the only person I ever — I mean ever — met who can be so effortless in his cool that he leaves this…. GLOW. It’s almost like I’ll remember the details about that moment and then I’ll get worked up from remembering it, just thinking about how cool that man is, you know what I’m saying?? I mean, he…. Y’all! Y’ALL. He’s smoking a CIGAR, with his UNIFORM on…… before the NBA ALL-STAR GAME. And man, he’s in the COACHES’ OFFICE. He’s in the coaches’ office. You’re smoking your big-a-- cigar in the coaches’ office, in your damn uniform, with your feet kicked up like it’s nothing, before your very last All-Star Game?? Man — you run everything. You run EV-ER-Y-THING!!”

Case closed.

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