Not too many players have had a sneaker line that compares to Michael Jordan‘s in terms of iconic style and on-court performance. When Allen Iverson entered the NBA in 1996, he immediately won the hearts of young fans with his indomitable spirit – both on and off the court. His shoes, like his signature headband and arm sleeve, were representative of how he played the game. In honor of his 36th birthday yesterday, here are A.I.’s Top 10 sneakers of all time.
1. Reebok Question
The classic shoe that Iverson wore when he famously crossed up Jordan. Released in September of 1996 for Iverson’s rookie year, they were stable, comfortable and had great court traction. The red/white and black/white versions were the most iconic, yet Reebok would continue to release new colorways, even during Iverson’s tenure with the Nuggets. The Mid version of the Questions also became a fan-favorite.
2. Reebok Answer IV
Possibly his most iconic shoe, this was the style that A.I. rocked for the 2000-01 season, and the ones he used to step over Tyronn Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. One of the most unique designs on a basketball shoe, it was ultra-light, ultra-versatile and featured a unique lacing system and zip-up closure.
3. Reebok Question III
The tongue of this shoe reads: “Allen Iverson plays the game with an immortal heart inside a mortal man’s body.” Woah. Iverson debuted this shoe for the 2007-08 campaign with the Denver Nuggets, and the shoe went with the theme of Iverson’s double-sidedness: Mortal and Immortal. By this time in his career, A.I. might have been leaning towards the mortal end of things, but still, the shoe looks pretty cool and was great for taking the court.
4. Reebok Answer V
Simple, elegant and practical, the A5’s helped Iverson follow-up his MVP season with a scoring title, dropping 31.5 points per game in 2002. These kicks also helped spawn an iconic commercial with rapper Jadakiss, and legions of sixth graders who absolutely had to have this shoe.
5. Reebok Answer I
After the Question, it was the Answer, the first in the long line of A.I. sneaks. In his second season, Iverson tricked out a pair in full-on red patent leather. Unfortunately, the Answer did not make the All-Star team that year and those red shoes became as mysterious as Dorothy’s slippers.
6. Reebok Answer XII
There’s just something about this shoe I love. It’s almost as if Iverson and the guys at Reebok were able to combine all the great qualities in the Answer and the Question lines into one sneaker for A.I.’s last real push with the Pistons. Because Iverson’s trade to the Pistons was so sudden, Reebok designers Drew Winfield and Kohei Kanata scrambled to produce a shoe in time for the season. He debuted the shoe in a Nov. 14, 2008 win over the Lakers, but A.I. had to hoop in the old school Questions and Answer VII’s for the first two weeks of the season.
7. Reebok Answer III
If you took one look at these shoes, your thought would be this: I want to ball in these. Iverson took the court in the III’s when he was on the brink of greatness, the 1999-00 season. They go with a traditional lacing system, a full leather upper for comfort and support and were made available in almost every color imaginable.
8. Reebok Answer VII
Dropping in 2005, these kicks became an instant hit for styling both on and off the court. The commercial for the Answer VII’s featured A.I. dribbling through the streets of Philadelphia and up the “Rocky Steps.” The shoes once again featured DMX technology, a molded heel and Duracourt rubber outsole for great stability and support.
9. Reebok Answer IX Pump
These things were more science experiment than basketball sneaker. The Answer IX Pumps featured a Pump Auto/Off Smart Valve. This meant that with every step, the shoe automatically inflated to your foot for a custom fit. The high ankle strap, DMX foam technology under the midsole, along with the pump technology made these shoes feel like space boots.
10. Reebok Answer VI
Compared to the A5’s, the A6’s went with a slightly simplified look, going with a polyurethane heel cage and completely leather upper, though the VI’s still featured his patented glove lacing system. For the commercial, Iverson once again awesomely collaborated with Jadakiss. This time, however, Iverson spit his own verse, showing that he could rap as well as ball.
What’s your favorite Iverson sneaker of all time?
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