Do you remember where you were when that lil short kid wearing #3 from Georgetown came n the old Capital Centre floor with the Jordan XI’s aka “The Patent Levahs” (this was before the re-release name “Concords”)? I sure do. It was something about this kid. It was magnetic. His confidence oozed through the screen. His toughness and desire brought life into a program that was becoming morbid and stagnant, although no one will admit it to this day, it was.
Allen Iverson’s complicated, controversial and magnificent basketball odyssey as he along with 9 others as 2016 inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Iverson joins Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Izzo, Sheryl Swoopes, Yao Ming and Jerry Reinsdorf as entrants. The posthumous inductees were Darrell Garretson, John McLendon, Zelmo Beaty and Cumberland Posey.
From those two seasons at Georgetown and for the next 20 years, Iverson has been revered as a native son and DMV basketball demigod. He revolutionized the game with his “playground” style of hoops which included that killer crossover that he actually learned at Georgetown from walk-on Dean Berry. That said crossover became his patented maneuver as the great Michael Jordan would find out in his rookie year as a Philadelphia Sixer after being selected with the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.
In his 10 years in Philly, he would become a Rookie of the Year (1997), 4x Scoring Champ (1999, 2001-02, 2005), 3x NBA First Teamer (1999, 2001, 2005), 3x Second Teamer (2000, 2002-03), 8 time All Star and league MVP (2001) but more than his actual on-the-court accolades was the influence he had in not just basketball, but the young, black male experience itself.
Guys wanted to be him.
Girls wanted to sleep with him.
He made cornrows cool.
Tattoos became the norm.
Hip hop stylings that are now commonplace in American culture were immediately brought to the forefront by a unrelenting, unapologetic stick figure of a man who loomed larger than life to all of his fans.
In pro sports, most fans just want their athletes to give it their all. 100% effort as they say. You may truly give great effort but if it doesn’t LOOK the part, there is ridicule and scrutiny. Iverson the player played with such a passion for winning that for all his transgressions, we all looked at him and rode the wave of emotions with him every step of the way.
People openly wonder why so many of today’s athletes revere Iverson as their favorite athlete growing up. Its pretty easy to see in my eyes.
Poor kid, had run-ins with the law, given a second chance and made good on that, gave maximum effort when all of the odds stacked against him every day on the court. How could you NOT love that?
Congrats to you, Bubba Chuck….enjoy this final ride to immortality.