The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Allen Iverson Made It to the Hall of Fame

Allen Iverson talks about his selection for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016 during a press conference at Wells Fargo Center in April. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson talks about his selection for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016 during a press conference at Wells Fargo Center in April. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

He was late for his first official duty — a press conference. Of course he was. As fellow 2016 inductee Shaquille O’Neal joked, “You’re talking about the Hall of Fame?” Allen Iverson, straight outta Hampton, does it his way and always has. Scarcely six feet tall, barely 165 pounds, he was the scrawny, ornery heart of the 76ers from his 1996 first-overall draft pick, leading the team on that thrilling 2001 ride to the NBA Finals against the Lakers. He was a Sixer again on the day in 2013 when he retired from the game, having been let go, at that point, by the Nuggets, the Pistons, the Grizzlies. Everyone knew he’d stayed too long in the gym.  Read more »

Hall of Fame Speech Captures Iverson’s True Legacy

allen-iverson-hof

On Friday night Allen Iverson, a six-foot guard from Georgetown, was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Iverson was treated with near-reverence, as he should have been on this day of celebration. But it wasn’t always this way for Iverson. Not even close.

The cornrows, the baggy clothes, the tattoos, the checkered past. Iverson entered the league as anti-establishment as it gets, with an “I’m going to do it my way” defiance that was endearing to some, offputting to many, many others. Throw in an early-career fight with Jerry Stackhouse and an ill-conceived (and ultimately unreleased) rap album and Iverson only became more polarizing during the early part of his NBA career.

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The Real Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson laughs while talking to the media about his election into the Basketball Hall of Fame | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson laughs while talking to the media about his election into the Basketball Hall of Fame | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Things are better now between the two legends, the older one says over the phone, his monotone voice still heavy with the echoes of his native Brooklyn.

The tension that once defined their relationship — that of an unstoppable force colliding with an immovable object  — and threatened to derail one of the most exciting eras in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers has remarkably softened with the passage of time, giving way to a warm, affectionate bond. So when Larry Brown gets a text message from Allen Iverson these days, the Hall of Fame coach pores over every word. He treasures the little digital glimpses into the mind of a complicated figure who captivated basketball fans in Philadelphia and across the country with his otherworldly skills on the court for 14 years.

But the public’s fascination with Iverson always went beyond whatever he accomplished in any individual game or season. Part of the thrill and the anxiety of watching his career unfold was the uncertainty of it all. Could he escape the suspicions and judgments people projected onto him because of the four months he spent behind bars at the age of 18 in Newport News, Virginia? Could he survive and thrive at 6-foot-nothing, 165 pounds, in a league filled with giants? Could he rise above the criticism he faced from NBA bigwigs and the media for the way he dressed, the way he wore his hair, the company he kept? Could he stay one step ahead of his own self-destructive tendencies, or learn to co-exist with authority figures like Brown?

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Get a Chance to Meet Allen Iverson at Lapstone and Hammer This Friday

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson’s glory days. | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports.

Hold up, AI fans: If you can remember where you were during the 2001 NBA All Star Game, then you need to make your way over to Lapstone and Hammer, online and in-store, tomorrow to purchase an exclusive Allen Iverson 2001 All Star Game Mitchell & Ness Jersey.

The jersey – an exclusive collaboration with the Midtown Village boutique and the throwback sports company – includes an embroidered 2001 All Star logo patch on the right shoulder and a Hardwood Classics hem tag printed with game’s date, February 11th, 2001. Sales begin Wednesday, June 22nd, at 10am. And you’ll want to shop early: The first 100 people to purchase the jersey also score an invite to Friday’s release party at Lapstone and Hammer. Allen Iverson will be there as a special guest, so yeah, you’ll want to go to this. Click here to see the jersey and get more event details.

Utley Puts All-Star Home on the Market

1432 Monk Rd., Gladwyne, PA 19035 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

1432 Monk Rd., Gladwyne, PA 19035 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

So who will be the next famous athlete to live in this modern-Colonial hybrid in Gladwyne?

We’re not saying that the next owner will definitely be a famous athlete, but two of the last three owners were. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley purchased this home, which was built in 1998, in 2013 for $2.325 million from its then-owner, who bought it in 2006 from retired 76ers star Allen Iverson for $2.85 million. Utley then gutted it and renovated it in a more contemporary style. Read more »

Emotional Allen Iverson Reflects on Hall of Fame Career

Allen Iverson laughs while talking to the media about his election into the Basketball Hall of Fame | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson laughs while talking to the media about his election into the Basketball Hall of Fame | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson strolled to the podium last night wearing a red Reebok t-shirt, blue ‘phila’ jacket, Philadelphia 76ers hat, an ear-to-ear grin that could only be worn by a man just voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the  highest honor in his profession.

“Do you want to make an opening remark?” Michael Preston,  Sixers’ public relations coordinator, asked Iverson.

“No.”

“Do you want to go straight to questions?”

“Yeah.”

It was the only real way that press conference could have unfolded. Iverson has never been one to be confined to a script. Not on the basketball court, where putting the ball in his hands was an indescribable combination of poetry and chaos, and certainly not in the press room. Iverson’s always been at his best, and sometimes his worst, when raw emotion and passion were brought to the forefront. That doesn’t happen with canned opening remarks.

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Allen Iverson Named to Basketball Hall of Fame

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson is headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

A six-foot guard who led the Sixers to their greatest season since the early 1980s, Iverson played 12 seasons with the Sixers. He averaged 27.6 points per game in a Sixers uniform, second only to Wilt Chamberlain on the team’s career list. He is in the top-5 in a number of other categories, too: Points, three-pointers made, steals, assists and more. And, yes, he was just six-feet tall.

But it was the Sixers’ run to the 2001 NBA Finals that made Iverson a Philadelphia legend. Iverson was battered throughout the playoffs by bigger players, and the Sixers trailed in their first three series. But they came back to win all of them and advance to the NBA Finals. The Sixers’ Game 1 upset was one of the greatest games in Philadelphia sports history — with Allen Iverson scoring 48 points, including seven in a row in overtime, to upset the Lakers. The Sixers lost the next four and the run ended, but Iverson’s place in Philly sports history was secure. Read more »

Allen Iverson Headlines Three Sixers Eligible for Hall of Fame

Allen Iverson will be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class if 2016 | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson will be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class if 2016 | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Naismith Hall of Fame released their eligible candidates for the class of 2016, which includes three former 76er greats.

The class, headlined by first-time nominees Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, and Allen Iverson, also includes 76er greats Bobby Jones and Maurice Cheeks.

Iverson’s decorated 14-year career, which included 10 full seasons and parts of two others in Philadelphia, included 11 All-Star appearances, 8 playoff appearances, the 2001 NBA MVP award, 1997 Rookie of the Year award, and 2 All-Star MVP’s. Iverson was also awarded Player of the Week honors 23 times, Player of the Month 4 times, and Rookie of the Month twice.

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Judge Cites Allen Iverson in Redskins Trademark Case

iverson-practice-rant-940x540Apparently Allen Iverson‘s famous “we talkin’ about practice” rant is not only a legendary press conference, but also set a legal precedent.

In a case upholding the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations, U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee invoked AI in his opinion. Read more »

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