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Music Legend Bruce Hornsby Says He Once Beat Allen Iverson in a Pickup Game

One of Spike Lee's favorite songwriters and composers is no stranger to the hardwood.

Bruce Hornsby, a former member of the Grateful Dead who has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards, wrote the 1986 hit "The Way It Is" and also penned music for Lee projects like Clockers, Kobe Doin' Work, Blackkklansman and She's Gotta Have It.

But apparently he has just as impressive a resume at the rec. center, having once defeated NBA legend Allen Iverson in a game of 1-on-1 back in their home state of Virginia.

The 6-foot-4-inch Hornsby met Iverson in the '90s when the future Philadelphia 76ers guard was still in high school. Though A.I. would one-day win an NBA MVP award and make a career out of dominating taller players, his still-developing jump shot failed him in the contest against the famous pianist.

"I don't talk about that because it's sort of not believable, it sounds like, 'Oh yeah, there's no way this happened,'" Hornsby said when asked by Q104.3 New York's Jonathan Clarke if the legend was true.
He continued: "Yeah, I did play him, and I must have caught him on a bad day. I was making everything. We were also playing theno-paint game, so that probably clipped his wings a little bit."

Hornsby might be humble when looking back on the game today, but he admits that he used to tease Iverson about it.

"I had his dorm room number at Georgetown, and so when he would torch St. John's for 35 his freshman year, I would call him up and say ... 'Hey Chuck, you may be killing these young college guys, but what are you going to do about some 38-year-old piano player, man?' He would howl and laugh."

Though Iverson was a lightning rod for controversy in college and as a pro, Hornsby says he's always known A.I. to be a "beautiful person.

"I've loved knowing him through the years and his mom, Anne, great family. So yes, that really happened," he added.

Iverson later acknowledged taking the L that day, but it's unclear how motivated he was to win.

Hornsby's love of basketball runs in his family. His son Keith Hornsby was a scholarship player and starter at LSU and shot 49.1 percent from 3-point range for a year in the NBA G-League before signing with a pro team in Europe.

Check out the full conversation the video player above.

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