Allen Iverson is hanging up his NBA jersey for good. Yes, he hasn’t played since February of 2010 with Philadelphia, but still, most of his biggest fans were waiting for the Answer to get one final shot. Instead, he won’t be going out on his own terms. Slam is reporting Iverson plans to officially retire in the coming days, bringing with him the end of an era.
AI wasn’t just about the baggy clothes, the braids, the kicks, the crossover or the scoring. He had an attitude that defined a generation. It even defined a magazine. Over a decade ago, we put Philly’s finest on the cover of our first issue and never looked back. He set the tone, just as he always did.
It’s good to see so many come out and appreciate Iverson for his play on the court. Lately, it had seemed like he was always in the news for something negative. Recently, the Answer’s ex-wife claimed that Iverson kidnapped their five children after a vacation gone bad. Reportedly, Tawanna Iverson said she gave her former husband permission to take the kids on vacation to North Carolina from May 22 to May 26 but when the time was up, AI never brought them back.
According to TMZ, Iverson denied any wrongdoing after he said his ex-wife had full access to the children during that time but refused to drive 45 minutes to pick them up. All in all, it was a sad story… not necessarily because of the off-court issues — we never got the full details, so it’s impossible to say what happened. It’s sad because more and more kids are growing up today not knowing how great a basketball player the Answer was. He is probably one of the top 40 players of all time. As a basketball icon, he was probably top five.
His crossover changed the way the game was played and the way it was called. Think about the excitement Blake Griffin caused during his first two years. Now multiply that by 20. That’s what it was like watching Iverson handle the rock in the late ’90s. The skinny 6-0 guard got EVERYONE with it too. Big men. Guards. Even someone as smooth as Penny Hardaway got cracked.
As current Warriors coach Mark Jackson once said about guarding Iverson, “What I do is give him a whole lot of room and say, ‘Beat me with the jumper.’ I’m not gonna be embarrassed. I’m a grown man with four kids and they’re watching.”
With that, here are the 10 greatest players that got crossed up during the day by AI.
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10. STEPHON MARBURY
Once upon a time, Starbury and Iverson were two of the best college point guard prospects we had ever seen. Supremely athletic with blinding speed and quickness, they looked like NBA superstars toying with the competition. NBA GMs agreed with us. Iverson went No. 1 overall in the 1996 Draft. Marbury came just three picks later.
During college, they had a spellbinding matchup at Madison Square Garden in 1995, and that excitement continued into the NBA. In their very first matchup in March of 1997, Marbury’s T’Wolves won and he got the better of AI, finishing with 24 points and nine dimes as Iverson had 17 points. But over the years, the Answer got him back quite a few times.