There is only one word that can describe Allen Iverson, tough. How else could you explain a six-foot, 165lb PG that played the game as if he was 6-9″? For Iverson basketball never meant dreams of the NBA, it was more of an escape from reality. His childhood and troubles in his past have been read, written and made fun of for years but the truth, the truth is he changed the NBA in more ways than any player ever has.
Iverson was forced to put not just a team on his back but a franchise while carrying the weight of Virginia as well. His status as one of the game’s marquee players was solidified not only by his play on the court but by his competitive spirit. What we saw in Iverson, was us. They way we played basketball in the inner city, with the trash talking, fancy dribbling, cornrows and baggy clothes, Iverson brought that to sold out arenas. He was one of us, he spoke and played for the kids that wouldn’t have an opportunity to do so.
Isiah Thomas was the little guy with heart and Iverson picked up right where Thomas left off. He took heat for playing like an SG, not for being a ball distributor like the NBA was used to for a player in his role. But Iverson was different; he had to be everything for everybody, and no one was ever satisfied. Iverson played with a passion, the same passion Michael Jordan and Kobe Brant played with, but people took this as arrogance and hoodish.
During his HOF speech, you could see the nerves and the emotions as he struggled to get words out. Basketball for him was not about the points; it saved his life.
Those interested in watching Iverson’s full speech can see it below.