By: Kylan Watson
On Friday, September 9th, 2016 at 6:30 pm EST, Allen “The Answer” Iverson will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Iverson will be inducted along with Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes, Jerry Reinsdorf, and Tom Isso. Among all of those big names the smallest man cast the largest shadow, that being Allen Iverson.
Iverson played for the Philadelphia 76ers, he was drafted by the sixers in 1996, and he played for them until 2007. Iverson left a big impact in Philadelphia. He was a God there, he influenced Philadelphia culture, Iverson made wearing duderags cool, and he had fans from Philadelphia and all around the world rocking cornrow braids, with his Iverson Reebok shoes.
Damian Lillard a guard for the Portland Traiblazers had this to say about Iverson, “He was the guy that kind of blended Hip-Hop with basketball. He was the guy that put it together, that neighborhood swag about him that, I could relate to” (http://www.csnphilly.com/philadelphia-76ers/quotable-nba-stars-allen-iverson, 9-9-2016).
As a Philadelphian, I remember watching the Chicago Bulls vs. Sixers game and yelling really loudly when Iverson made the great Michael Jordan fall after he crossed him over and then made a layup. Iverson is up there with Julius Erving as one of the greatest players to ever play for the sixers. While many people did not like Iverson’s attitude Philly embraced it, and we loved that man to death. Iverson was one of the best things to ever happen to Philadelphia sports. Philadelphia sports was dominated by him, he was Philadelphia. When everyone else would come after Iverson for how he acted on and off the court. Philadelphia would embrace him and say leave our man alone. Iverson maybe from Hampton, Virginia, but his home will always be in Philadelphia.
Lebron James said, “But I’ll watch tapes of A.I., too. I don’t take anything from A.I… Well, I do — his will. They say he was 6 feet, but A.I. was like 5-10½. Do we even want to say 160? 170 [pounds]? Do we even want to give him that much weight? And he played like a 6-8 2-guard. He was one of the greatest finishers we’ve ever seen. You could never question his heart. Ever. He gave it his all. A.I. was like my second-favorite player growing up, after MJ” (http://www.espn.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/9894693/lebron-james-miami-heat-says-allen-iverson-was-nba-best-player-pound-pound, 10-29-13).
Iverson was an undersized point guard but what he lacked in size he made up for in heart. His career statistics backed this up, Iverson was a four-time scoring champion, a Rookie of the year, a league MVP, and an 11-time All-Star.
Iverson’s induction tonight represents the hopes and dreams of a city that for a long time Iverson made a basketball town. Philadelphia is Eagles country, but for ten years it was Sixers country because of Iverson. Everyone would come to the Wachovia Center, now the Wells Fargo Center to see Iverson put on a show on the court. Iverson singlehandedly influenced not only Philly culture, but sports culture itself. Iverson was not only the face of basketball, but also the face of hope for current basketball players and for fans of the sport.