His legacy isn’t just cornrows or crossovers or stepping over a helpless Tyronn Lue or complaining about practice. Allen Iverson’s mark on basketball is more than a handful of memories. He changed the game; he made little guys – by NBA standards – tougher and gave hope that the short could also be perennial MVP candidates. He was passionate about his craft, skillful in every aspect of the game, and he made sure everyone knew exactly what was on his mind. He was an intense baller who sometimes would rely on his talent a tad too much.
Iverson’s acceptance into Georgetown may have been a surprise to many people for a few reasons. Reason first: The educational level of the university. Reason Second: The character that is expected of each student by the university. Reason Third: The Hoyas’ style of basketball. To elaborate, smart people go there, contributing members to society and law-abiding citizens go there (so we are led to believe), and the basketball team was known for physical centers like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo. Big men were the center (no pun intended; well, maybe there was) of their basketball core. Iverson was a small quick guard with an attitude toward authority who changed the complexion of the storied program.
His NBA career was no different; after being selected #1 overall in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers, he immediately made an impact – especially when he famously used his signature move on the greatest of all time. We don’t need to remind Michael Jordan of that, but I guess we just did. It’s not like people stopped watching the highlight on YouTube. Go ahead, watch Iverson cross-over Jordan. He became the face of the 76ers and of the league for a while, made his presence felt with coaches and the media, and had many teammates over the years who loved and hated him.
15. LOVED: Beşiktaş J.K (Whole Franchise)
The popular Turkish basketball team has been known to draw in talent from across the world. Beşiktaş is a district in Istanbul and the sports club isn’t just focused on basketball, but their athletes participate in many events. There, now you can tell your friends you learned something, and if you want to know more, feel free to search the internet because right now we’re talking about Allen Iverson. The star guard signed a contract with Beşiktaş in 2010, instantly creating even more buzz around the basketball club and putting them on the international map. Okay, they were probably already on the international map, but the United States doesn’t like to pay attention to that kind of stuff because the NBA is too great. Case and point, I never really heard of them until the signing, and I’ve heard of a lot of things. The following year during an NBA lockout, Deron Williams signed with Beşiktaş as well. Word spreads.
14. HATED: Memphis Grizzles (Whole Team)
On the other hand, sometimes a publicity stunt isn’t necessarily the greatest thing for a team, but more of a distraction. Allen Iverson only played three games for the Memphis Grizzles and was a nuisance in the locker room due to his public distaste of riding the pine instead of being in the starting lineup. Usually when a team takes their chances on an old, banged-up veteran they are graciously providing a second-chance safe haven in return for brief moments of what a player used to be able to do; especially when that team is pretty good and just need a slight edge. The truth of the matter is that Iverson was getting old and the NBA is a young man’s game. Everyone’s back gets stiff and knees get sore even through daily activity as they age, and Iverson is no different. In other words, he wasn’t helping the Grizzles, but at least we’re aware they don’t play in Vancouver anymore.
13. LOVED: Chris Webber
Chris Webber and Allen Iverson joined forces in Philadelphia during a 2005 trade that sent the power forward to the 76ers. It took a moment, but Webber and Iverson found their grove as teammates, the two leading the team in scoring and helping Philadelphia return to the playoffs. They became such good friends that they both decided to skip the final home game of 2006 – we won’t speculate into why – which happened to be Fan Appreciation night, and both were fined and forced to issue apologies. Of course, both players’ Philadelphia careers were soon over afterwards. The two shared very selfish mindsets at this point of their life, failing to realize that the 76ers provided an unhappy Iverson with a better player in Webber to help him and they also rejuvenated the big man’s dwindling career. Two peas in a pod and they didn’t even know it. Perhaps a little more practice together would have helped.
12. HATED: Larry Brown
“We’re sitting here, I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice?” If you add about a million more practice’s in that statement then that kind of sums up Larry Brown and Allen Iverson’s relationship. Okay, they weren’t necessarily teammates, but a coach is part of the team, and though the above quote isn’t the specific issue between the two stubborn men, it certainly proved that their rift was very real. The famous rant was part of a series of jabs the player and coach mouthed at each other through various forms of media, making their dislike toward each other very apparent. Brown left the team following the 2003 season, only two years removed from the NBA Finals. As their relationship declined so did the performance of the team as they failed to meet expectations as a group. Brown and Iverson were a bad distraction for the 76ers, but an entertaining one for us. They later made up.
11. LOVED: Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo (you don’t want to even try and pronounce his full name) and Allen Iverson were teammates during that fabulous run to the 2000-2001 NBA Finals. Just to prove how big that run was and how important Iverson was to the 76ers is that no one ever talks about how the Lakers won the championship, but how Philadelphia stole Game 1 in L.A. behind a brilliant performance by the small guard – and the infamous shot and step over Tyronn Lue. Mutombo was traded to the 76ers in 2001 and reached his first Finals because of Iverson so there was much appreciation there. Also, the two share an alma mater in Georgetown; Mutombo graduating in 1991 and Iverson leaving the school in 1996. I wonder what Georgetown Alumni games are like these days? They are probably pretty entertaining to watch with the talent that has passed through the university. I’m sure those classic big men love chasing around pesky guards, all with a smile and wave of the finger of course.
10. HATED: Doug Overton
Imagine changing teams coming off a season of solid statistics with aspirations to finally lead a squad at the point guard position. Then imagine that team taking a point guard with the first overall pick in that year’s draft. Okay, let’s go out on a limb here and said that Allen Iverson was slightly better than Doug Overton, and who knows, maybe Overton knew this was the case when he left Denver for Philadelphia, but there had to be some kind of bitterness there. He was going to a bad team in which he could showcase his skill, but then this little punk out of Georgetown came and stole the show. Disclaimer: I’m not calling Iverson a punk, I’m pretending to be Overton calling Iverson a punk. Disclaimer Two: I don’t know if Overton ever called Iverson a punk and it’s merely an assumption. There we are, I think I covered my tracks. Either way, why would you want to play on a team that only has confidence in you to back up an unproven and hyped-up rookie?
9. LOVED: Andre Iguodala
Speaking of rookies, Andre Iguodala was drafted by the 76ers ninth overall in 2004. He took advantage of his opportunity to play with one of the league’s best in Allen Iverson. He was a starter right from the get-go and was on the receiving end of great passes and alley-oops from his All-Star point guard, rocketing his career into stardom. They meshed so well during their tenure together that Iguodala even used Iverson’s assistance during his Slam Dunk Contest charades in his sophomore season. Of course their partnership ended too early when Iverson was shipped off to Denver during the 2006-2007 season. Ironically, Iguodala would also be traded to Denver in 2012, but his arrival was well after his friend had departed from the Nuggets. Even more irony to this craziness (it’s really not that crazy) is that Iguodala’s Nuggets were upset in the playoffs that year by the Golden State Warriors, a squad in which he would join the following year. And the rest is history; he has a new love affair with a small point guard, some guy named Steph.
8. HATED: Richard Hamilton
Richard Hamilton was one of the hardest-working and most efficient players the NBA had ever seen. He did everything right and maybe only Lance Armstrong had more stamina than Hamilton, or one of those Kenyan marathon runners, or maybe like an ostrich or something which can run a marathon in about 45 minutes apparently. You’re a jerk, ostrich. In 2008, Allen Iverson joined Hamilton and the Detroit Pistons via trade for one Chauncey Billups. As an additional note, Iverson even took the famed number one that Billups used to wear. Part of Hamilton’s success was due to Billups who was a great floor general, helping Detroit win the Finals in the pair’s tenure. This is going to be strange to say, but Iverson was almost a downgrade in Hamilton’s eyes. Then you have to factor in the fact that Iverson went to Georgetown and Hamilton to UConn where he won a national title. This is when the Big East was the best conference, but money got in the way of everything. Hamilton liked proven winners, Iverson wasn’t that.
7. LOVED: Theo Ratliff
Not many recognized players come from the University of Wyoming, but Theo Ratliff did. Who’s that? I’m glad you asked. Okay, he wasn’t that unknown of a player, but Allen Iverson certainly increased Ratliff’s value on the court. He developed with Iverson in Philadelphia and of course played a key role in the 2000-2001 team’s run to the Finals. However, Ratliff was dealt for Dikembe Mutombo before the Championship because he was injured essentially and wouldn’t have been able to participate. His time with the 76ers really helped his career because he became a household name that even after a down season he was able to find a steady job on another team. Truth be told, Iverson really helped out many 76ers with his dominate play, and players like Ratliff are very gracious they were able to experience being his teammate. Ratliff was kind of like a moocher of limelight.
6. HATED: Marcus Camby
Marcus Camby was a paradox. He was very talented, and at times showed his dominance, but never really reached that level of greatness certain centers possessed. It’s like he could have, but didn’t care. Camby and Allen Iverson were teammates on the Denver Nuggets. Geez, that team could have been, sorry, should have been amazing with their version of a Big 3 in Carmelo Anthony, Iverson, and Camby. Again, it just all didn’t mesh well, and I’m sure it had something to do with attitude. To dig a little deeper, Camby’s UMass Minutemen defeated Iverson’s Georgetown Hoyas in a 1996 regional final, punching a ticket to the Final Four and sending Iverson home – or to the NBA which worked out all right for him I guess. Imagine the disgust on Iverson’s face when he found out that Camby accepted money from agents that year, eventually nullifying UMass’ Final Four appearance. The nerve! That could have been Iverson in the Final Four.
5. LOVED: Jerry Stackhouse
Jerry Stackhouse was drafted in 1995 by Philadelphia, the year before the 76ers drafted Allen Iverson. Stackhouse was fantastic as a rookie, and was excited when Iverson joined the franchise. It was progression, a great start to building a core. The two averaged nearly 45 points a game combined during the 1996-1997 season and the Philadelphia offense was rolling. They played well together and Philly fans were ecstatic, but of course, as it happens in all sports, management got in the way and traded Stackhouse to Detroit in 1998 for the aforementioned Theo Ratliff. Would the 76ers have won the Championship at least one year if Stackhouse and Iverson remained teammates? Possibly. However, if Philadelphia never traded for Ratliff then he would never have become injured and they would have never traded for Dikembe Mutombo and probably never reached the Finals. I know; minds are blowing up. The world is such a confusing place.
4. HATED: Carmelo Anthony
Oh boy, when you get two stubborn and egotistical athletes on the same court then there are bound to be problems. I wouldn’t say that the relationship between Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson was bad per se – at least not as horrible as most people thought when the trade that sent Iverson to Denver happened – but that doesn’t mean we heard everything that was said. It’s kind of like going to a party and a girl compliments another girl’s outfit, but then turns to her friends, takes some Jell-O shots, and insults the very same wardrobe, claiming it’s hideous; the group laughs and then try to steal other girls’ boyfriends. It’s all common knowledge here, people. In a time of Big 3’s you would think the pairing of Iverson and Anthony would have been great – especially considering the two led the entire league in scoring before the joined forces – but they just didn’t mesh as well as hoped. And to add again, like Richard Hamilton, Iverson and Anthony went to rival universities, Carmelo being a Syracuse alum.
3. LOVED: Victor Page
On the other hand, college was good for some; especially the ones who didn’t cheat. Like Allen Iverson, Victor Page was a DMV product. No, not the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the area that consists of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Page was a freshman and truly benefited from Iverson being in the backcourt with him, both helping the team reach the Elite 8 that year. The experience lifted Page’s playing level, helping him achieve a Big East scoring title the year after Iverson went to the NBA. He thought he was so cool and had Iverson to thank. In fact, he thought pretty highly about his said coolness and declared for the draft in 1997, only played in the CBA (that’s a thing?), later had his eye shot out (you read that correctly), and then was arrested for assault a few years back. So instead of balling with Iverson, he currently wears and eye patch and rooms with another criminal in a cell. Eesh, that turned bad pretty quick.
2. HATED: Othella Harrington
Georgetown was a school for big men. Othella Harrington was next in line to be great. His name mixed in with the likes of Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning. He was well on his way; he was named a Second Team All-American and Big East Freshman of the Year. Then John Thompson recruited Allen Iverson and it changed the complexion of the university. They became guard-oriented and Harrington saw his numbers drop, and even his stock. In 1996, Iverson went first overall to the Philadelphia 76ers while Harrington dropped to Houston with the 30th pick in the draft. Harrington did everything right in his college career, but Iverson stole the show. To elaborate on how Georgetown changed with Iverson as the star, the guard was the first player ever whom Thompson coached to leave school early, and what did it get him, fame and fortune (totally not telling kids to leave school early). Harrington now sits on Georgetown’s coaching staff with Thompson’s son, John III at the helm.
1. LOVED: Eric Snow
I don’t believe there was anyone more beneficial to Allen Iverson’s stardom than Eric Snow. He was a nobody with the Seattle Supersonics (remember them?), but in 1998 he was traded to the 76ers and became an immediate starter and contributor. Do you want to know why? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway; it’s because when you have Iverson in the backcourt the other guy really just has to know how to pass or hand the ball off. Snow did complement Iverson well though, becoming a shutdown defender against opposing stars so the 76ers’ star didn’t wear himself out on both ends of the court. They were actually quite the dominant backcourt because of the fact they knew their roles and worked extraordinarily well together. Of course, Snow was also on that 2000-2001 Philadelphia squad that… okay, we’ve heard enough about that team already. They were pretty good, we get it.
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