May 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA USA; Philadelphia 76ers former guard Allen Iverson before the start of game six against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson: Philly Finds The Answer

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In a season worth forgetting in Philadelphia, it’s nice to know that there will still be meaningful games on the docket. Saturday night’s home game against the Washington Wizards will be an event not only for the Sixers, but for the entire league.

Saturday night the Sixers will retire the No. 3 jersey of the one and only Allen Iverson. Droves of men my age grew up wanting to be The Answer. His diminutive size, ankle-breaking crossovers, endless determination and of course; his attitude. Iverson came into the league a brash 21-year-old and took the league by storm; captivating us in a way in which only he could. AI dominated the 1996-97 season as a rookie and took home the Rookie of the Year Award to boot.

Season Age Tm MP FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1996-97 21 PHI 40.1 .416 .341 .448 .702 4.1 7.5 2.1 0.3 4.4 3.1 23.5
Career 41.1 .425 .313 .448 .780 3.7 6.2 2.2 0.2 3.6 1.9 26.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2014.

Look at his rookie year compared to his career numbers. It’s craziness. He was always known as a gunner, but Iverson was one of those once in a lifetime type of players and we should all be cognizant of that fact. This next clip is the one that most immediately think of when they hear Allen Iverson’s name, and again it just shows his brash nature to go right at the best in the game while still an unproven rookie.

Lest we forget, in 1996-97 Jordan ended up on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team … not on this night, sir.

My second lasting memory of Allen Iverson is him carrying the Sixers on his back all the way to the NBA Finals versus the mighty Los Angeles Lakers in 2000-01. Before we even go to the clip, just look at the band of misfits that Iverson carried to the Finals and tell me it wasn’t one of the most amazing, single-season feats of all time.

Rk Player Age MP FG FGA FG% 3P% 2P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
1 Allen Iverson 25 42.0 10.7 25.5 .420 .320 .441 .814 3.8 4.6 2.5 0.3 3.3 31.1
2 Theo Ratliff 27 36.0 4.6 9.1 .499 .499 .760 8.3 1.2 0.6 3.7 2.5 12.4
3 Dikembe Mutombo 34 33.7 3.8 7.8 .495 .495 .759 12.4 0.8 0.3 2.5 2.0 11.7
4 Aaron McKie 28 31.5 4.4 9.4 .473 .312 .524 .768 4.1 5.0 1.4 0.1 2.7 11.6
5 Eric Snow 27 34.8 3.6 8.7 .418 .263 .425 .792 3.3 7.4 1.5 0.1 2.5 9.8
6 Tyrone Hill 32 31.1 3.7 7.7 .474 .000 .474 .630 9.0 0.6 0.5 0.4 1.7 9.6
7 George Lynch 30 32.3 3.3 7.5 .445 .263 .463 .719 7.2 1.7 1.2 0.4 1.3 8.4
8 Toni Kukoc 32 20.4 3.1 6.9 .458 .410 .472 .591 3.4 1.9 0.7 0.1 1.3 8.0
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2014.

Now, to the lasting clips (from the Sixers’ memory) of the 2001 NBA Finals…

Iverson’s crossover was a thing of beauty and again, more than that it was really his bravado. Iverson carried himself like he was literally the king of the world. This sometimes reared its ugly head in the form of off-court incidents. None funnier than the infamous “practice” rant …

I know there wasn’t much in the form of writing here today, but my words could really do this man no justice. Did he make mistakes on and off the court; of course we all do, however this man … I can’t even tell you all the kids and people he inspired with his play. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer and I’m thrilled the Sixers will be retiring his jersey tonight.

Too bad the Sixers will never see anything like The Answer again.


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