In the midst of all the Charlie Manuel and Michael Vick talk this week, we learned, courtesy of SLAM magazine, that Allen Iverson will officially retire from the NBA. This news comes as no surprise since Allen has not played in the league since 2010. However, this definitely deserves attention, as Allen was one of the greatest players to ever don a Philadelphia Seventy Sixer uniform and a talent for which this town had ever seen. Allen was an attraction for every city he traveled to, keeping arenas filled with fans anxious to see his show. Luckily for the City of Brotherly Love, we were his home court and had front Row tickets to the festivities each and every night.
The road to the NBA for Allen was not a smooth and easy accomplishment, as he had come from the poverty stricken town of Hampton, Virginia, where there was more than a fair share of trouble on an everyday basis. Allen wasn’t perfect growing up, but there was little doubt that he had the athletic skills to become a fixture in the sporting world for many years to come. This became evident when he was crowned the Associated Press High School Player of the Year in both Football and Basketball. Allen had two extremely prestigious gifts, but had to decide what avenue to pursue, in order to give him the best opportunity.
Following his decision to focus on the game of basketball, he chose to attend Georgetown University, hoping that legendary college coach John Thompson would be the leader he needed to push him into excellence, on his way to an NBA career. The success became apparent when, after 2 years, Allen became the consensus Number One pick in 1996 NBA draft, sole property of the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers. He would then go on to being the unheralded Rookie of the Year, followed by an MVP in 2001, and a bronze medalist in the 2004 Olympic Games. Along with all of these accolades, came with the whispers of negativity brought on by the media, labeling him as an off the court distraction and player who doesn’t condition himself properly for the NBA experience. It started to become more of an issue when he began to be questioned by his teammates and head coach, Larry Brown. Larry and Allen had a unique relationship, one that came with many bumps from time to time. However, there would not have been another coach to bring out the best in Allen Iverson and have as much success in molding him into the player, for which he developed. This became apparent when Allen led the team, which was built around him, to the 2001 NBA Finals and almost single handily brought the city of brotherly love home a championship.
During his illustrious career, there have been many memorable moments, good and bad, for which The Answer will be remembered. Some of these include his multiple 50plus point performances in the 2001 playoffs, his crossover jump shot against the great Michael Jordan, the infamous step over of Tyrone Lue in the NBA Finals, and most of all the “ We talkin bout practice man,” rant that will be forever comical. As we all know, Allen Iverson was a household name in this town and across the NBA for many years, something that should continue well into the day he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t a model citizen, nor did he ever claim to be as such. Allen was an NBA superstar who played the game with exuberance and a passion that still to this day has never been duplicated. There was no doubt to any spectator that Allen played every game like it was his last and left his heart beating on center court. Throughout all the negative monotones, he was loved and appreciated by most, constantly giving the fans something to remember every time they witnessed him play. Here’s to you Mr. Iverson for an illustrious career and it is with great honor we begin to call you a Philadelphia Seventy Sixer for Life!!!!
BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )