There have been few (if any) professional athletes who have had as big an impact on the sport, pop culture or society as a whole than Allen Iverson did as a basketball player.
Monday it was announced, to no one’s surprise, that the 6-foot guard from Georgetown, whoseNo. 3 jersey hangs from the rafters above every home 76ers game, will be immortalized in September as a member of the 2016 Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
With his dominant era seemingly so long ago, it’s easy to forget he was more than just one of the top 10 scorers (with 26.7 points per game) in NBA history. Here’s a brief look at the 10 reasons we still remember, and will never forget The Answer.
10. His look
It’s no wonder hip hop and the NBA became synonymousduring Iverson’s prime. His tattoos, attire and demeanor came to define an era and even forced the NBA to implement a dress code.
9. His style
Tyronn Lue, no matter how successful a coaching career he has in Cleveland or elsewhere, will be remembered in Philadelphia for one thing. Game 1, NBA Finals, strong-side sideline. Enough said.
8. His dunk
A.I. didn’t have a large arsenal of slam dunks — he was barely 6-foot tall afterall. But when he went to the rim, seeing a guy that size rise to the occasion with so much power was impressive. Just ask Marcus Camby.
7. His awards
Iverson won the Rookie of the Year award in 1997, NBA MVP in 2001, was the NBA All-Star Game MVP twice and NBA All First Team three times. And still, he may have been underrated.
6. His scoring
The Answer scored 30 or more points 345 times, 40 or more 79 times, 50 or more 11 times and once scored 60 points. He also has the third most 50-point playoff games in NBA history with three. He won four NBA scoring titles
5. His heart
Iverson weighed, what most fans would admit, was 160 pounds soaking wet. He was most often the smallest player on the court — but somehow he took punishment night after night and continued to compete. It’s why Philadelphia identified with him.
4. His crossover
It’s like you could break your ankles just from watching. From Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant and, pretty much every other shooting guard from the 2000s, the crossover was deadly.
3. His dedication
Iverson never wanted to quit. But his body began to turn on him as he had stints in Denver, Memphis, Detroit and back in Philly during the end of his career. No one can blame his fight — but one can’t help but think his career was a bit too short.
2. His mouth
Iverson may be known more for his off-court antics than his ability as a basketball player. Ask the late great 76ers’ beat writerPhil Jasner — or any other journalist who dealt with the star off the court. He had no censor. Practice?
1. His greatness
When pro basketball honors Iverson and places him on the historic mantle alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, he will be remembered exactly where he deserves to be — among the greatest players of all time.