Reliving Allen Iverson's Iconic Moments in His NBA Career
Allen Iverson hasn't played in an NBA game since the 2009-10 season, but that doesn't mean he's slipped out of the memories of basketball fans. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is why his retirement is such a crucial moment.
We've known it was coming for a while, and that still doesn't help ease the emotional shock of officially saying goodbye to one of the most memorable players in basketball history. Many of us grew up watching him. Others were older when A.I. hit his prime, but that doesn't lessen the impact he had.
Iverson will retire as an MVP, a scoring champion, an All-Star and one of the most influential basketball players in recent memory. Soon enough, he'll be able to add the Hall of Fame to his already impressive resume.
In honor of Iverson's retirement, let's take a visual journey through the most iconic moments and images of his career.
Rookie Scoring Record
It didn't take long for Allen Iverson to prove that he was going to be a potent scorer in the NBA.
Highlighted by this 50-point outing in a 125-118 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Answer recorded at least 40 points in five consecutive outings during his rookie season, a record that still stands in the present day.
Whether he was shooting from beyond the arc or drawing contact and going to the charity stripe, he just couldn't be stopped.
Breaking a Certain Michael Jordan's Ankles
You can hear the reverence in Iverson's quotes about this play.
He wanted to use his move against the best the NBA had to offer, and that's exactly what happened when he crossed up Michael Jordan and drilled the ensuing jumper.
It may have come early in his career, but this is one of the three most memorable moments of Iverson's professional basketball days.
Actually Caring About the 2001 All-Star Game
Apparently Iverson wasn't aware that you weren't supposed to care about the All-Star Game.
The East trailed 95-74 with nine minutes left, and that's when A.I. decided that it was time for him to take over the game. He scored 15 points down the stretch and closed the gap enough that Stephon Marbury was able to drill two three-pointers in the final minute, one of which proved to be the game-winner.
Iverson was fittingly named the MVP.
Winning MVP in 2001
The 2001 season was filled with memorable moments for Iverson. In a lot of ways, the NBA was his oyster, even if the dominant Los Angeles Lakers ultimately won the title.
There were the playoff duels with Vince Carter and Ray Allen, torching the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to hand L.A. its only postseason loss and, of course, the remarkable scoring outbursts that became such frequent occurrences.
Let's sum it all up here with one picture: Iverson accepting the MVP trophy (in the bottom left) while celebrating with his mother.
Chains and Oversized Jerseys
Who could forget about the trademark look?
The big chains that hung all the way down to his waist. The afro. The oversized jerseys that he rocked without a second thought.
They were all part of what made Iverson such a memorable person both on and off the court.
The Dunk to End All Dunks
Iverson's career was filled with memorable plays (I'd highly encourage you to fill up the comment section with examples), but to me, this stands out as the absolute best.
Short people aren't supposed to be able to sky over Marcus Camby for the sensational putback slam. This play is just absolutely insane, and it's criminally underrated as one of Iverson's top moments.
Allen Iverson was never as good at rapping as Dana Barros, Cedric Ceballos or Iman Shumpert, but he was serious about his musical endeavors, just like he was serious about scoring points.
He released a controversial single, "40 Bars," and ultimately had to change up the lyrics at David Stern's behest. It was put out under the moniker "Jewelz," but it was the only song Iverson officially released because his album just remained in production.
Fortunately (maybe), "Misunderstood" is now available on iTunes.
The Shooting Sleeve
Allen Iverson and the shooting sleeve just go hand in hand. Errr...arm in arm?
Nowadays, it's impossible to watch a basketball game without noticing at least three or four of them accessorizing the arms of NBA players. But Iverson was the man who popularized the shooting sleeve, and it remains virtually synonymous with him.
He'd look naked without one.
We Have to Talk About Practice
Did you know that Allen Iverson doesn't like talking about practice? Well you should, especially since he's a franchise player who plays games.
This press conference rant was one of the original viral videos, and it still has a life of its own.
It's impossible to hear the word "practice" in a group of people without someone referencing this rant.
"They're targeting guys who dress like me—guys who dress hip-hop. Put a murderer in a suit, and he's still a murderer. It sends a bad message to kids."
That Iverson quote was delivered about David Stern's changes to the NBA dress code, changes that were put in place due in large part to the shooting guard's hip-hop stylings when he took to the podium. The gaudy chains, oversized shorts and sideways hats were just a part of his style.
Just as the chain remained around his neck, so too will that style always remain heavily associated with Iverson.
Speaking of style, it's impossible to separate Allen Iverson and the cornrows.
No matter where he went, that was the hairstyle of his choosing, and he always pulled it off. You knew that Iverson's hair was going to be tightly bound to his head.
What else could I possibly leave you with?
Allen Iverson didn't just use the crossover. Allen Iverson was the crossover.
It created plenty of highlights for him and nightmares for everyone he faced. Just ask Tyronn Lue, but check to make sure that he's not being stepped over first.
When Iverson ends up in the Hall of Fame, I hope he's represented by a moving statue doing perpetual crossovers for all of eternity.