The Loop

Bruce Hornsby says he once beat Allen Iverson in a game of one-on-one, isn't kidding

April 03, 2019

Bobby Bank

Possibly the biggest regret of my life is I didn't hear Bruce Hornsby's "Mandolin Rain" until I was 32. I'm not sure how this masterpiece took three decades to find me, but it finally did while waiting on line at a Wendy's in Virginia. Funny enough, I had first realized Hornsby—and not Tupac—was originally behind another classic, "The Way it is," at a different Wendy's in Winston-Salem while I was in college. Yes, I used to eat at Wendy's a lot. And Hornsby must be making a killing in royalties from the burger chain.

Anyway, I became a fan of (the better) BRUCE on the spot (I love when NBC plays "The Valley Road" during golf telecasts). The man can craft a catchy tune with weighty words, all while tickling the ivory. And apparently, that feathery touch extends to the basketball court. In a new interview with Uproxx, Horsnby confirms an incredible statement from his Wikipedia page: that he once beat Allen Iverson in a game of one-on-one. Yep, that Bruce Hornsby beat that Allen Iverson in a game of one-on-one.

It sounds more preposterous than Justin Bieber giving a shout-out to Kevin Na, but hey, things happen. And as we learned on Sunday when Wikipedia correctly predicted Kevin Kisner's WGC-Match Play win hours before it was finished, Wikipedia always knows best. It sounds like Bruce Hornsby of Bruce Hornsby and The Range has some serious shooting range. Here's Bruce's exchange with Uproxx's Steven Hyden on his monumental upset over a future NBA Hall-of-Famer:

Excuse me, this is way off topic, but I saw this on Wikipedia and I have to ask you if it’s true. Did you really beat Allen Iverson in a pickup game?

I don’t talk about that very much, because it seems completely ludicrous, and it is. But look: He was convicted of brawling in a bowling alley, and sent to jail his senior year of high school. I thought it was a serious miscarriage of justice, and I was lobbying the governor of the time, because we had elected the first black governor, I would say, in America, Doug Wilder. This was 1992 or 1993 when this happened, and I started working with Spike. I told him about Allen Iverson before anyone knew about him, because he was a high school phenom around here.

A couple months after this happened, I got a call from his high school coach at Bethel High School, Mike Bailey, saying, ‘Hey, Allen knows what you did, and would love to meet you and blah blah blah.’ So I said, ‘Hey, why don’t ya’ll come up so we can play some basketball?’ So he said, yeah, he’d love that. And I don’t know what happened. I had one of those days where I couldn’t miss. And in front of lots of witnesses, this happened.

Like I said, I feel a little idiotic talking about it, because it seems not believable. But that’s the story, as quickly as I can sum it up.

So there you have it. Bruce Hornsby once beat Allen Iverson in a game of one-on-one. And, well, that's just the way it is.