You’ve probably heard by now that Allen Iverson – one of the greatest scorers in the history of the NBA – is prepared to retire later this week. Iverson, 38, began his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and played his last NBA game with the team in 2010. He wasn’t only known throughout the NBA as a scorer, but also as a player with one of the best crossovers in history, something he reinvented in the early ’90s.
The Answer had a decorated career to say the least. He averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals a game and led the Sixers to an NBA Finals appearance in 2001 against Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers.
Over a 14-year career, Iverson dropped over 24,000 points, recorded nearly 2,000 steals and over 5,600 assists, 37,000 minutes and started 901 of 914 career games. Iverson was an 11-time All-Star, a regular season MVP and four-time scoring champion. Basketball-Reference’s Elo Fan Ratings has him listed at 27th all time, in front of Reggie Miller and behind Patrick Ewing.
Though he changed the game on the court, he also did in the locker room. From famous interviews about “practice” to coming to home games draped in fur minks and Timberland boots, Iverson redefined the modern basketball player.
With his impending retirement, we at Dime thought we should honor one of the game’s most gifted and controversial players. Here are A.I’s top 10 most iconic moments.
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10. IVERSON’s RETURN TO PHILLY
After being traded to the Denver Nuggets three years earlier, Iverson rejoined the 76ers in December of 2009 (another time he hinted at his retirement from basketball).
Iverson would only play 25 games with the club, one that he didn’t start, and went on to average 13.9 points. His best game came against the Lakers when he dropped 23 points and dished a few assists. But Iverson looked depleted. He wasn’t the same player — this time he just wanted to fit in. He shed tears during his return. He was subdued. There was no talk of “practice.”
From an introductory presser from the Huffington Post:
“When I had the opportunity to come back here, I couldn’t turn it down,” said Iverson during a tearful press conference after re-signing with the team that originally drafted him. “I’m just happy.
“I want to fit in. I want to be a part of any success we have,” Iverson said. “I just want to be one of the guys. I don’t need a whole bunch of praise. I don’t need a whole lot of accolades. I just want to play basketball.”
9. IVERSON SHOWS THE WIZARDS SOME MAGIC
It was November of 2004. The Sixers were playing the Wizards at the old Wachovia Center, back in the days before it was renamed. The teams were tied at 114 a piece, 3.3 seconds were left on the clock.
It was show time.
Iverson stole the inbound pass. He drove up the mahogany hardwoods and laid the ball in with two tenths of a second left for the Wizards to respond. The Answer had spoken and he ran around the floor, cupping his hand to his ear, soaking in the moment, the exaltation from the crowd. This was only his second game-winning bucket to the point in what had been a nine-year career for Iverson, but it was certainly one of his most memorable.