Even the average sports follower knows who Allen Iverson is and even if you are not a follower, chances are you have heard of or spoken about him. Iverson went by many nicknames in his NBA career, but the 3 most notable ones are “AI” “The Answer” and early in his career “The Kid”. The first thing many think of when it comes to his early career is his one on one crossover, step back jumper over Michael Jordan, the best player in NBA history. This was in 1996, Iverson’s rookie season. A young 6 foot guard out of Georgetown University brought a new style and genre of basketball to the court.
After being drafted in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen Iverson quickly began putting up impressive stats and took the team from the bottom to top in the NBA standings in a few years. There were many ups and downs in Iverson’s career both on and off the court, but his most memorable season was the 2000-2001 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. During this season, he led the 76ers to the NBA finals were they lost in 5 games to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Iverson arguably had his best season in 2001. He led the 76ers to a 56-26 record (which was the best in the Eastern conference that season) and he started in and won All-Star MVP honors at the All Star Game. He, also, averaged a then-career high 31.1 points per game, winning his second NBA scoring title in the process. Iverson was named the MVP on the season for his accomplishments.
In the playoffs, A.I. and the 76ers defeated the Indiana Pacers in the first round, before squaring off against the Toronto Raptors led by Vince Carter. This was an epic seven game series that went down to a last second shot by Vince Carter that rimmed out. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the 76ers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games to reach their first NBA finals since the 1984–85 season. Their opponent in the final was the Los Angeles Lakers led by a young Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Iverson scored 48 in Game 1, which the 76ers won. However, the Shaq and Kobe combo on the Lakers were too much for the 76ers and L.A. would win the next 4 games and the title. It was definitely the high point of Iverson’s tenure in Philadelphia, and it possibly was the high point of his whole career. An image that 76ers and fans remember from the finals was game 1 when Iverson “stepped over Tyronn Lue”. This was the type swag and edge that Iverson played with his whole career and allowed a 6’0 guard to play amongst the giants inside.
That finals did not end as the 76ers or Iverson had wanted and ultimately his career ended in the same manner. He was unable to bring a championship to NBA championship starving city and this would have made him even more of a transcending figure in Philly and the whole country.
Tune in Tonight at 7:30 on Comcast SportsNet from the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia, the 76ers are honoring everything Allen Iverson has done for the Philadelphia 76ers and the city of Philadelphia when his iconic #3 jersey is retired and will be hanging from the rafters next to the greats like Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley and “Dr. J” Julius Erving.