Court vision, ball handling, passing skills, defense, toughness, courage, heart, leader, swag (before swag), originality and attitude = Allen Iverson
I remember watching a Georgetown Hoyas game back in the 90’s and seeing a short, extra thin, baggy clothes-wearing guy running up and down the court looking as if he was some type of basketball super hero, like “Captain Crossover” or “Super Speed”.
It was amazing because that guy running all around the hardwood stealing passes and making buckets with his grey cape outlined with navy blue trimming and the number 3 engraved in it reminded me of myself; not so much in physical looks, but in character.
Allen Iverson was more than just a basketball player, he was a hood staple. A.I showed many that college was actually reachable; that one could be himself no matter what others thought of him; that if you fought hard for your dreams, you could actually make your dreams come true.
Allen Iverson went into the NBA as the number 1 pick in the 1996 draft and played with the same grit and greatness that won him the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award during his two years college.
Iverson, in the NBA, was smaller but managed to bring some of the biggest names the game had to offer down to size. He went up against some of the greatest and still was able to carry a 76ers team to the 2000-2001 NBA finals with a roster constructed of: Iverson G, Aaron McKie G, Jumaine Jones F, Tyrone Hill F and Dikembe Mutombo C as the starting 5 and yet he is never mentioned as one of the best to ever grace the court.
Why is that?
With all of the intangibles that were used to describe A.I at the beginning of this post, the on that sticks out the most to a lot of people was his attitude. One of the best ISO players in NBA history, one of the best scorers in NBA history and one of the best defensive players in NBA history is mostly remembered for his attitude (“Practice?!”).
One has to wonder why a player with a resume like Iverson hasn’t gained the love and recognition like many before him. Could it be that the baggy clothed, tattoo bodied, braid headed, 6-0 ft 165 lbs, ground breaking, era changing hood superhero that many loved because they felt he revolutionized the game was the same line crossing, thug, lack of respect of the game having, ghetto villain that many hated because they felt he tarnished the game of basketball?
Allen Iverson is one of the most intriguing players to ever dribble a basketball in the league and no two people will probably ever see him the same but, regardless of what anyone thought of him, A.I should be thanked and appreciated for the true talent he was. Don’t look at the man for his problems off the court, but honor the one that left his blood sweat, limbs and tears on it. After all, this is the guy that single handedly had the world buying Dreamcast game systems just so they could play with him on 2K.
Allen Iverson you are one of the greatest.