Philly Sports Talk

Allen Iverson: The Legend of the “little big man” finally ends

Allen_Iverson

24,368 points, 3,394 rebounds, 5,624 assists, NBA Rookie of The Year in 1997, NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1997, NBA Most Valuable Player in 2001, Eleven time NBA All-Star from 2000 – 2010, 2 time NBA All-Star MVP in 2001 & 2005, 4Four time NBA Scoring Champion in 1999, 2001 – 2002, and again in 2005, NBA Steals Leader in 2001 – 2003, Three time All-NBA First Team in 1999, 2001 & 2005, Three time All – NBA Second Team in 2000, 2002 – 2003, All NBA Third Team  in 2006. All accomplishments that came along with the heart that pumped and bled Sixer red, white and blue throughout the tenure of Allen Iverson’s eleven year decorated career with the team.

On October 30, 2013 when the Philadelphia 76ers opens up their 2013 – 2014 season at the Wells Fargo Center, there will be an announcement that Allen Iverson will retire from the NBA. This retirement announcement and from of reality comes roughly three years after Allen last touched a basketball professionally for Beşiktaş, a Turkish Basketball  League Team. The Sixers have are planning a later date to have the actual retirement ceremony sometime during the season.

It’s only fitting that the man that packed the arena every night, not only here in Philadelphia, but in arenas throughout the NBA, comes back home to make one final stop to say goodbye to a legendary career that had a few blemishes along the way. One thing that can never be denied was Iverson’s heart, his grit, his love for the city, and most importantly his love for the game of basketball. Making widely known that he played “….every game like it was my last….” Iverson gave the fans more than the price of admission on a nightly basis. His damaging crossover which made offenders appear to have two left feet in most cases, the spring in his step that sent him flying to the basket at the tallest of defenders, and the famous ear-cuff to hear his fans clamoring for more of his remarkable play and heartfelt performances night in and night out are long missed but never forgotten.

In the 200 -2001 NBA season, Allen Iverson took the Sixers to their first and only NBA finals appearance to date since the 1982 – 1983 season when the team led by Julius Erving, NBA MVP and Finals MVP, Moses Malone, along with Sixth Man of The Year Bobby Jones swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four straight games. Unfortunately for Iverson and the under manned Sixers against those same Los Angeles Lakers, they would lose the series four games to one after winning the first game in Los Angeles where Iverson scored 48 points. In that championship series, Iverson averaged 35.6 points in a streak of games where his lowest output was 23 points in game two. He was seemingly unstoppable the entire series and never gave up as he tried to will his team to victory after victory throughout the last four games.

Iverson’s career will be most noted globally for his infamous rant about “practice” in a riff with former Sixers Coach Larry Brown. To the fans of Philadelphia, he will be remembered most for his signature ear-cuff as he walked along the sidelines after making play after play, night after night, year after year for 11 years in a building he built from the time he stepped foot in the then CoreStates Center, the First Union Center and even the Spectrum in games that the Sixers were slotted to play there. Even in returning to the team in 2009 – 2010, he was embraced well by fans that began to look for the Iverson of old. Even when though that time had passed, they held on to memories that will forever live in many of their hearts and minds. So on October 30, 2013, 17 years after first stepping foot onto a Philadelphia NBA basketball floor, we get to see Allen Iverson close the drapes and lock the door in what will be forever linked as his home. A place he rebuilt. Ending his illustrious career and leaving memories that the young and old will never relinquish.

Thank you A.I. Your time here was well served and even more appreciated.

Article by: Buddy Hall – hall.buddy@hotmail.com

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