The Philadelphia 76ers Retire Allen Iverson’s Jersey
Full disclosure, I freakin’ loved Allen Iverson. When he came into the league, Iverson sent shock waves on and off the court. He rocked the cornrows, had tattoos and dressed in a way that made him comfortable but also forced the NBA to create a dress code. He also was one hell of a player. He was short, didn’t weigh a lot but worked his ass off. He was pound for pound one of the best players to do it. He was a grinder who got a lot of slack for shooting a lot and maybe a lack of efficiency, but the guy wasn’t working with much. The 76ers never really surrounded him with a ton of talent, yet there he was, year after year, dragging the 76ers through the playoffs.
The first time I really remember Iverson showing up on my screen was in the NCAA tournament vs. UMass. The Minutemen were my jam and Iverson ripped through them at will. UMass won, but Iverson was the best player on the court by far.
Iverson made it easy for a 5’8” high school basketball player to think he could make a difference. He was blazing fast, fearless and did everything possible to try and win basketball games. That’s how I’ll remember AI. Not the late career stuff or the problems he’s having currently, but the guy that revolutionized the game of basketball even though he was barely six feet tall. Guy was a beast even if he didn’t look like one. Just relentless night after night.
Top 10 from NBA.com: #6, #4, #1, that’s all you need to know.
And finally, the most memorable moment of AI’s career. His interview where comments on the media giving him a hard time because he missed practice. Remember, this was a guy who was 6 feet, 165 pounds. There’s no way he didn’t practice as hard as shit every single day. And if he didn’t, it was probably because he needed a break after banging against guys who weighed 100 pounds more than him every night.
Glad to see the 76ers raise his jersey to the rafters. Completely deserved and the next step is Springfield, MA and the Basketball Hall of Fame.