Sixers legend says he is Philadelphia
A humbled Allen Iverson retired from the NBA Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center. He did it with his son and two daughters by his side. The tears came eventually — after about 45 minutes of introspection on a Hall-of-Fame career — and they were genuine, much like everything Iverson did on the court in his 12 seasons with the Sixers.
“I gave everything I had to basketball and the passion is still there, the desire to play is just not — and I feel good, I’m happy with the decision that I’m making. It was a great ride,” Iverson said in a rare, on-the-court press conference. “I never imagined this day coming, but I knew it would come. I feel proud to say that I’m happy with my decision. I feel great. I have a great mindset in making the decision. I have to thank God for just giving me the opportunity, for not really helping my accomplish all the things I accomplished in the NBA, but for just giving me the opportunity to be drafted.”
Iverson thanked everyone from his college coach at Georgetown, John Thompson, to former Sixers CEO Pat Croce. His eyes welled up when he started talking about former Sixers teammate Aaron McKie.
“I might have made a million mistakes,” Iverson said. “If it wasn’t for him [McKie], I would have made two million.”
He mentioned that his favorite moment as a Sixer was celebrating with his teammates at center court of the Wells Fargo Center after the team punched its ticket to the 2001 NBA Finals. He recalled fondly staring out at all the Sixers fans, saying that celebration was his gift to them.
“It’s home, you know, and these fans, they grew on me, just like I grew on them,” Iverson said. “I don’t have too many words that I can use to describe Philadelphia fans and their connection with me. When you have somebody like Dr. J being a Sixer and the way the fans embraced him, and the way they still do today … when I think about the Philly fans, that’s what I think about, I always want them to treat me the same way they treat him [Dr. J] when he comes home.”
Iverson and his management team are working on a documentary about his life and career. There’s no release date, but Iverson promised it would clear up a lot of misconceptions about his life and career. The 6-foot, 160-pound guard from Hampton, Virignia, said he had no regrets about anything.
“None,” Iverson said. “What am I going to have regrets about? Taking [Interstate] 76 at 5 [p.m.], instead of 4 p.m.?”
His love for the fans is what kept him going. He thanked them for making him a household name.
“These fans are me, like I am Philadelphia,” he said. “When you think about Philadelphia basketball you think about Allen Iverson. I fought for that. I earned that.”