Home / Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson was a study in contrasts: To some, he was everything right about NBA basketball. To some, he was everything wrong with it. He was a prolific scorer, a diminutive genius able to thrive in a big-man’s sport. And yet he was a model of inefficiency, constantly in legal trouble and the driving force behind the NBA instituting a dress code in 2005.

One thing’s for sure — you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t enthralled while watching him play.

From his early days at Bethel High School in Hampton, Va., Iverson was a lightning rod for controversy, even while starring at point guard and quarterback. In 1993, Iverson and his friends were involved in a brawl at a bowling alley in which he was accused of hitting a woman with a chair. Despite proclaiming his innocence, he was given a 15-year prison sentence, but Iverson was granted clemency by the Governor of Virginia after four months.

Legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson took Iverson under his wing for two years, during which he posted the highest scoring average (22.9) in the history of the school. After his senior year, in which the First-Team All American led the Hoyas to the precipice of the Final Four, where they lost to Marcus Camby’s UMass squad, Iverson became the first Georgetown player to leave school early. The Philadelphia 76ers would take him with the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

During his first season, Iverson famously crossed over the great Jordan himself, making his Reebok Question sneakers legendary in the process. Though the Sixers only won 22 games in 1996-97, Iverson averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 assists en route to the Rookie of the Year Award.

Slowly but surely, the Sixers began to elevate themselves along with their precocious superstar. They made the playoffs during his third season, when Iverson’s scoring average of 26.8 led the league for the first time. As it would the following year, their run ended in the second round against the Pacers.

Despite a feud with coach Larry Brown that nearly led to his being shipped out of Philly, Iverson took his game and his team to a new level in 2000-01. He led the league in scoring (31.1) and steals (2.5), while a Sixers team perfectly suited to complement his unique skills made it out of a loaded Eastern Conference for the first time in 18 years. Iverson scored 48 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in an upset over the heavily favored Lakers, with the iconic image his defiant Answer IV-clad stomp over a discarded Tyronn Lue after a made jumper. That Los Angeles would steamroll through the next four games hardly dented AI’s growing superstardom.

That said, it would be Iverson’s only trip to the Finals, as the next few years would be marked by high scoring averages, early playoff exits and the infamous “Practice” press conference, still often quoted today.

Amid a revolving door of coaches, Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets on December 19, 2006. Though still a high scorer at the time — he was second in the NBA — a constant stream of bumps and bruises to his smallish frame would begin to take its toll, as would Iverson’s reluctance to cede any of the spotlight as his game trended down.

After bouncing around, Iverson would end up back on the Sixers in 2009-10, before concluding his professional career with a brief tenure for Besiktas in the Turkish Basketball League. He officially announced his retirement in 2013.

Iverson’s post-playing career has been spotted with reports of further off-court issues, and the news that he had squandered his vast fortune. Perhaps it’s better to focus on this past March, when Iverson was greeted like a returning king when the Sixers retired his iconic No. 3.

Amid a revolving door of coaches, Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets on December 19, 2006. Though still a high scorer at the time — he was second in the NBA — a constant stream of bumps and bruises to his smallish frame would begin to take its toll, as would Iverson’s reluctance to cede any of the spotlight as his game trended down.

After bouncing around, Iverson would end up back on the Sixers in 2009-10, before concluding his professional career with a brief tenure for Besiktas in the Turkish Basketball League. He officially announced his retirement in 2013.

Iverson’s post-playing career has been spotted with reports of further off-court issues, and the news that he had squandered his vast fortune. Perhaps it’s better to focus on this past March, when Iverson was greeted like a returning king when the Sixers retired his iconic No. 3.

Granted, Allen Iverson was far from perfect — he arguably shot too much, he definitely got in too much trouble, his attitude wasn’t always where it should have been, his teams didn’t win enough.

And yet, he captured the imagination of every young basketball fan; his Reeboks still reside in every Finish Line in America, and whom among us didn’t attempt to pull off this move?

And flawed as he might have been, when Iverson had the ball on a string, crossing over his defender again and again until he could launch yet another breakneck drive, it’s hard to argue it was anything but sheer perfection.

Stats:

Birthday: June 7, 1975

Height/Weight: 6-foot, 165 pounds

Twitter: @alleniverson

Instagram: @theofficialai3

Drafted: 1996, 1st round, 1st pick, 76ers

Teams:

Schools:

  • Bethel High School (Hampton, Va.)
  • Georgetown University, 1994-96

Awards:

  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2001)
  • NBA All-Star (2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (2001, 2005)
  • NBA scoring champion (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005)
  • NBA steals leader (2001, 2002, 2003)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1997)
  • All-NBA First Team (1999, 2001, 2005)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2002, 2003)
  • All-NBA Third Team (2006)
  • Most average minutes (1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • First-Team All-America (1996)

NBA Statistics: 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 42.5% FG, 78.0% FT, 914 games

Sneakers:

  • Air Jordan XI Concord (Georgetown)
  • Reebok The Question 1-3
  • Reebok Answer 1-13