What up my minions! Today I am starting a new segment that I will try to do often called Today We Salute. It is a tip of the hat to those currently or those that have been a figure-head in sports. Browsing Twitter today gave me the inspiration to do mine on none other than Allen “The Answer” Iverson.
The year was 1996, and the Philadelphia 76’s drafted a young combo guard from Georgetown University. Little did they know that they were drafting a player that would forever change the face of the NBA in a light you may not have observed.
Iverson was small. Listed as 6’0 he was a little man in a big league. Yet he played bigger than most could. You can point to players like Magic Johnson to say that they refined the point guard position. But Iverson’s style of player molded players like Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, and Russel Westbrook with more to come. Before Iverson, the point guard was not expected to be the primary scorer. In the case of Magic Johnson, it was an understanding that he was not a true point guard seeing as he could play every position.
Iverson was aggressive and silky smooth at the same time. In his first NBA Season he put up 23.5 points per game and 7.5 assist per game all while shooting over 40% from the field. Did I mention he was a rookie? He only went up from there, even taking his team single-handed to the NBA Finals. What was unique about his play was his incredible ability to put the ball in the basket in just about every way,shape and form. As my father would say, there was not a shot Iverson took that he didn’t like.
Not only was he known for his amazing offensive abilities, but also for his ridiculous handles. Iverson brought with him a more street one on one approach that directly contrasted with the rest of the league’s team basketball brand of basketball. In other words, he brought along the hood when he played basketball, and David Stern did not like it.
There where many incidents that lead to David Stern doing something very controversial. There was the fact that Iverson wore braids, a hair style that quickly became popular among black players. Iverson’s tattoo’s stood our more because of his attire, which fit with the Hip-Hop standards of baggy clothes. It didn’t help his case when Iverson would show up to games looking like he just got done selling crack. Or the time he had his hair braided during a game.
All these things led to a tipping point on national Television when the infamous step over occurred in the 2001 NBA finals.
It did not sit well with some of the league’s higher up’s. In the next following seasons the league would begin to crack down on the players and what they wore making it mandatory for players to show up dressed in business casual at all times. This along with a more enforced ruling when it comes to technical calls made some wonder if David Stern was attempting to erase the black culture from the NBA.
All of that aside, Allen Iverson was definitely the person to watch late 1990’s early 2000’s. Along with Shaq and Kobe, “The Answer” was always in the limelight. He brought a special injection of competition in the NBA that was missing after Jordan left.
His career after he left the 76’ers was mostly forgettable, putting up great numbers on bad teams.
He will always be remembered as an NBA Great that should have won a ring but never had the team to do it. To me he will always be one of the best guards that have played basketball. here is a 10 top of A.I’s greatest moments. Enjoy and be jealous you did not get to watch him. If you wondered why he is called “The Answer” take the next 3 minutes to find out. Thanks for reading!