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Friday Night Video: Damn Allen Iverson was fun to watch

Aug 31, 2012, 10:41 PM EDT

In our Friday And-1 links, we led off with an interesting post by Ethan Sherwood Strauss at Hoopspeak saying we need to separate the culture legacy of Allen Iverson in the NBA — the first player to really embrace the look and swagger of hip hop and become controversial because of it — and his game on the court.

He suggests that Iverson was a bad style of play for a legion to imitate on the court — lots of isolation and shoot first play that isn’t how teams win. I think that issue is far, far bigger than Allen Iverson and starts more at the High School and AAU levels (if not earlier) where coaches who have a good player clear out for him because at that level the player can dominate.

But that’s a bigger discussion for another day. The fact is Iverson was one of the most entertaining players of a generation because he could do what he could. Listed as 6’0″ (it seems generous if you see him in person) he was able to knife in among the trees of the NBA and make the impossible happen. He was compelling. Because of his size we could relate to him in a way we will never relate to a Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal or any big man back to George Mikan. They were built for basketball, Iverson was built more like us. It’s why we find Derrick Rose such a great story.

So enjoy your weekend by starting off with some Allen Iverson highlights. Because he was just flat out fun to watch.


  1. dysraw1 - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    AI. the shake & bake scoring machine

    • KIR - Sep 1, 2012 at 6:14 AM

      THUG LIFE BABY! Magic, Bird and Jordan dam near made the NBA the nations #1 sport and then this clown came in to the league as the future top player and just P@#SED and SH*#@ED all over their hard work. An entire generation of Black adolescents and teenagers idolized and imitated this guy. He was the superstar athlete who brought the gangsta rap, big balla image to the NBA. An immature, cornrow, tattooed, wannabe gangsta buffoon. A sociopath who thought the world revolved around his shallow backside. He was the symbol for the “I got mine, contempt for authority and team play” attitude that permeates parts of the black community and to a certain extent almost screwed up the NBA. That’s why he lost in Philly, The Olympics, Denver and Detroit. And, when he left these organizations became BETTER.

      Before he entered the league and glamorized the NBA “Thug/Gangsta Rap Wannabe Player”, the NBA was don’t miss TV, attendance was up, and it was close to the most popular sport in this country. Now, the NBA is just starting to change back to the Magic, Bird, Jordan likable athlete image they had before. No Iverson, the world does not revolve around you and the NBA DOES NOT NEED YOU! It’s funny and never surprises me…. when these wannabe thugs start feeling some heat they all fold like chairs. I’m certain at some point in the future we’ll see him on TV crying talking about about what could have been.

      • money2long - Sep 1, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        did iverson have sex with your wife or something ?

  2. illadelphiasphinest - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Should be an interisting HOF acceptance speech.

    • KIR - Sep 1, 2012 at 6:28 AM

      ? I read this Great article by a blogger Repost I was asked to pray for Allen Iverson. Actually, the “basketball world” was asked to pray for Allen Iverson. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stephen A. Smith, that’s what Iverson’s close friend and business manager, Gary Moore, has asked us to do. I won’t. Moore is asking for divine intervention in a career that was so blessed with opportunity and fortune. A life endowed with tremendous ability and natural talent. But Iverson’s shortcomings are on him. Don’t ask us to pray. Iverson was one of the best to ever grace the hardwood. He was fast, tough and deadly from inside and out. He took a mediocre 76ers team to the NBA Finals on his back, and by himself, willed them to one gritty win over the Lakers in 2001. Iverson, though, was always selfish.Laterinhis career,reflectingon his quarrels with former 76ers coach Larry Brown, Iverson said, “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” Constant tantrums and the infamous “practice” news conference ultimately led to the end of Allen Iverson in Philadelphia and he was given new life inDenver. He still could notfindit in himself to share the ball or the spotlight, averaging nearly 20 shots a night.

      When he was given yet another rebirth in a trade to Detroit, he promised to do whatever the coach asked. He, again, couldn’t do it. He would later blame the coaching, and the Pistons front office for lying to him about his duties as a Piston. No one bought it. Iverson infected the Pistons with a sickness. He divided the locker room and change Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince forever. He was givenanother opportunity in Memphis. That lasted less than 10 games because, apparently, a paycheck wasn’t enough. Then, finally, Philadelphia gave him one last chance to revive his career. He failed. Out of money, out of sorts and out of skill, Iverson may be done forever. Iverson’s sense of entitlement is what led to his demise on the court. Off the court, a life of gambling and booze may lead to his ultimate demise. A man that was handed everything now finds his handlers asking people for their prayers. Well, find a new audience. This never-ending saga has been exhausting for the NBA world and now nauseating for its fans. I refuse to pray for someone who has taken everything and given back nothing but childishand detrimental behavior. For the thousands of talented youths who would do anything to have the opportunities that Iverson has been handed over and over again, it is in their name that I will not pray for him. No one is beyond redemption. Iverson’s redemption, however, must come from himself. It must be a will to change, perhaps in consultation with his own high power. That said, I am apathetic about the outcome.

  3. larrybrown43 - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    The most overrated player in the history of the NBA. He lived of the excuse that he never played on good teams.

    At 29 he was shipped to Denver. A good, young, up and coming team that many thought needed on more piece. They shipped him to Detroit in 1.5 years for Billups.

    Teams like the Lakers, Heat or Spurs never called to bolster their playoff roster. No serious offers (from good teams) ever came after Detroit bounced him outside.

    We learned AI didn’t make players around him better and he’d rather lose going 7-24 (scoring 25) than win shooting 7-12 (netting 15).

    • dls612 - Sep 1, 2012 at 7:55 AM

      teams didnt call because of the baggage that came along with him! Or because he didn’t fit in their system! He always had the talent!

  4. returnofmeezle - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:54 PM


    if you can’t get the clip Shaq says ai is one of the top 5 players OF ALL TIME.

    you obviously know nothing of basketball.

    post all the stats you want but the only one that really matters is 5’10” and he still dominated.

  5. cosanostra71 - Sep 1, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    always loved AI. One of the best crossovers in the history of the league.

    • cosanostra71 - Sep 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      Loved his finger rolls as well. He showed that you didn’t have to be able to dunk to finish with authority.

  6. livingsacrifice86 - Sep 1, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Funny that someone named Larry brown is calling Allen iverson overrated. He was my favorite player growing up. Dude could flat out ball

  7. tcclark - Sep 1, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    I hate how he is portrayed in the media, and honestly, how he portrays himself in the media, because i think it over-shadows how amazing he was on the court. He’s become the butt-end of too many jokes now a days. People laugh whenever they think of Allen Iverson. They think of the “Practice” Speech, or him playing Turkey, or how he has no money despite making millions, but you have to realize the brilliance he showed on the court. From an offensive perspective, Allen Iverson is one of the 10 most dominant players in NBA History. He was virtually unguardable. Smaller players weren’t quick enough to keep up when he drove the lane, and taller players couldn’t stay in front of him. When Allen Iverson wanted to get into the lane he did, and somehow he scored. Despite being a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter, AI scored on every great big man during his time. His touch around the basket is the best I have ever seen, which is why he was able to score so many points. Allen was able to arch the ball over any Shot blocker while falling away, make the basket, and shoot a free throw. That was an every night occurance. I never understood how he did it, and to this day am Wowed when i see it.

    He was also an extremely underrated passer, averaging 6.2 assists pg for his career, despite playing off-the ball for most of it.. People talk about the “ball-hog” mentality, but Allen was an excellent passer who averaged over 7 assists, 5 times in his career. He had great touches on his passes and could bullet them through the passing lanes.

    People talk about the number of shots he took, or his shooting percentage, but when you watched him, it never seemed like he was missing that many shots. Part of that was because he rarely missed them badly, but the biggest reason was that he missed a lot of shots on his way to the free throw line. Allen was fearless, and drove the lane with complete disregard for his body. he took so many hard fouls in his career, but he made up for it at the free throw line (78% shooter). The fact is, at 6’0 (generously) every shot is a low percentage shot. HE had to fade away from defenders to get the ball over them and took a beating in the lane. It would have been impossible for him to be a highly efficient scorer. If he was 6’5-6’7, his shooting numbers would have been so much better, and he would have been an even better player.

    I know this is really long, and very few are going to read it, but i needed to say it. Allen Iverson was spectacular. He took a team that started Eric Snow, George Lynch, and Tyrone Hill to the NBA Finals….. seriously. Had the Sixers been able to draft anyone that could actually play basketball (Thanks Billy King) He would have a ring. When he was 30, with the kind of beating he took, he averaged 33 points and 7.4 assists per game on 45% shooting. That is dominant. Especially at his size. He was incredible, and people really need to see that again.

    • sasquash20 - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Agree with most of what you said. Heard someone put some of his money away, so I actually think he is ok there

  8. nykfan4life - Sep 1, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Carmelo boasters that he has never been beaten one on one! I wonder if he played AI straight up and if he did if he can honestly say that he beat him playing straight ball not backing him down lol!!!!!!

  9. larrybrown43 - Sep 1, 2012 at 4:59 AM


    Whether he was your favorite player growing up is irrelevant. “Dude” shot 42% from the floor-lifetime and outside of one magical year, no team he was ever on, was very good.

    Iverson played for himself and was kicked to the curb by the age of 32 because his act wore thin. Teams realized he wasn’t going to suddenly get it. Therefore, you never saw Phil Jackson, Riley, Pop, Doc or Sloan ever make a play for him. If you can’t play for George Karl you can’t play for anyone. He was a ball hog. Nobody in Denver was sorry to see him go. They were ecstatic when they heard they got Chauncey Billups.

    Pretty much the memories of him are the Jordan crossover (big deal) and the practice press conference. Tim Hardaway, Spud, Mugsy, Marberry and 5,000 other guys can have highlight reels.

    Guys like Billups and Nash are still playing from his era; having an impact. Garry Payton and Mark Jackson hung around a long time as well.

    Mo Cheeks was a better Sixer. Substance over style. Wins over losses. Teammates speaking up for him. A leader on and off the court. A winner through and through.

  10. mp4philly - Sep 1, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    I’m starting to think LarryBrown43 doesn’t like Iverson. I could be wrong, but it’s just a hunch.

  11. fanz928 - Sep 1, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    He led his team to the playoffs nuff said

  12. allinskins - Sep 1, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    AI was a special player and like some rare players if they do not get good players around them they will not succeed in the league. More importantly he took a band of has beens and unknowns to the finals on his back. Say what you want as a nah sayer but you just don’t fall into the nba final.

    I would have loved to the 76ers put some better pieces around him in the post and complimentary guards in the back court with me. I saw names like Kobe, Nash, Billiups mentioned in other post but the difference is all of them had great supporting cast around them.

    Bottomline at 5′ foot and some change he has been the most athletic player to come in and dominant in a long time. Tell me another player since him with similar measurables that was able to duplicate his ability. The great one through history of the nba wanted the ball I there hand and could dominate all by themselves.

  13. returnofmeezle - Sep 1, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    no cheeks a better sixer?

    Shaq didn’t call ai one of the top five players of all time for nothing.

    he is one of the most dynamic players ever, to lead the league in scoring at 5’10” that’s all you really need to know.

    how many hall of famers was nh surrounded by? Hell even all stars for that matter, look at the people you compared him to and ask that same question.

    did he and his game have its flaws, yes it did but still his talent and impact can’t be denied

  14. itsthemelman82 - Sep 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I know it’ll never happen but, you AI haters really need to take the stick out of your butts & look at what this guy was able to accomplish at his size. You haters choose not to see pass what you see on the outside, which is really ignorant & stupid. AI wasn’t w/o faults but he was a joy to watch. He was fearless, he hustled harder than just about anyone else on the court & wasn’t as bad of a teammate as people made him out to be.

    To the guy on here going on about his “gangster rap” image, I guess you preferred if he had a polished, squeaky clean image that was made up huh? As much as I love Jordan (and that won’t change) he was pretty much a jerk outside of his Nike persona. He was a bully to his teammates as well. Kobe was fake as hell until Colorado happened. He, too want to release a rap album but, Adidas advised him not to… I could go on with more examples but, I won’t. Point is, no one is perfect but at the very least, Iverson wasn’t afraid to be himself… Maybe he could teach you something. AI we’ll be waiting for your HOF speech!

  15. larrybrown43 - Sep 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Oh ya, add in the 2004 Olympics. It was an epic failure. A bronze medal with AI supposedly being one of the all-time greats leading the way. A bronze medal!!

    This nullifies those saying he never played with anyone good too. Plus, no one ever wanted to play with him during his NBA career. Why play hard D, run up the court, and watch him force a short?

    People wanted to play with Magic, Bird, MJ, Stockton, Reggie Miller, Nash, Kobe, Wade, and Lebron.

    Their play was an embarrassment. AI was even benched for…..wait foe it….coming late to “practice”.

    He was a product of the ESPN hype machine. In the inside circles he was caustic only caring about getting his.

    The formation of the 08 team had no Iverson. They won gold. Correlation? Ya!

  16. isujames - Sep 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    After jordan and a little bit after lebron A I is my third favorite player to watch.

  17. isujames - Sep 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Truth be told, I believe A I is one of the top 5 talents of alltime he”s definitely one of the best scorers of alltime, furthermore hecarried a scrubby team to the finals twice if im not mistaken.

  18. isujames - Sep 1, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    @Kir Where do you get thug/gangsta rap lifestyle.People like you are whats wrong with the world today.Iverson was being who he is and tattoos are a form of expressing yourself without saying anything.Tattoos have been around for centuries fella, I like it when atheletes and ordinary people are authentic ( especially when they are black and rebell against oppressers).You wouldn’t understand it because its a “black thang”.Stay in your box and think inside your box because when you step out your box and speak on terms that you have never been around, lived or been subject to besides what you see and hear through media outlets you sound silly boyyyyeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. lakerluver - Sep 1, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Regardless to what some people think about A.I. current/former players and coaches and “knowledgable, unbiased fans know he was one of the all-time greatest players ever. Ty Cobb, from what I’ve heard and read wasn’t a very good person. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great baseball player.

    • tcclark - Sep 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      Neither was Lou Gehrig, from what I’ve heard, but people don’t know that because you can’t talk bad about a person who has a fatal disease named after them

  20. jhuck92 - Sep 2, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Sixers should retire his number 3

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