— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 1, 2016
Let’s take a quick trip back to Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. The Philadelphia 76ers are trying their best to draw first blood in the series against the Los Angeles Lakers – which, as an aside, is such a weird sentence to type in 2016 – and are keeping it close because Allen Iverson is going nuclear. He’ll end up finishing with 48 points in Philly’s lone win of the series, giving us one of the basketball’s most famous moments of the decade in the process.
Iverson crossed up Lakers guard Tyronn Lue, stepped back, and canned a jumper. Lue fell to the ground, and Iverson decided to step over the Lakers’ guard right in front of LA’s bench. The entire sequence was the perfect encapsulation of Iverson: nasty handles, the ability to hit big shots, and a moment of defiance and cockiness that some people hated but a lot of people loved.
Fast forward to 2016 and this moment has taken on a life of its own on the Internet recently. When one person shows up another, this gets turned into a meme that shows up on Twitter within a few minutes.
Kind of like the crying Michael Jordan picture: We see it all the time, but we never really knew what the main person involved in this thinks. That is until Iverson appeared on The Jump and told Rachel Nichols that he doesn’t like how this makes fun of Lue, who he considers a friend. A.I. even went as far as saying he loves the current coach of the Cavaliers, so the recent rebirth of this video rubs him the wrong way.
So per Iverson’s request, we should probably stop using this for jokes. Fortunately, Iverson made a career out of clowning defenders, so there are plenty of other options for Iverson-related jokes.