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By David Bloodsaw
Say what you want, love him or hate him, but the 165 lb “little big man” Allen Iverson is not only a hall of famer, but a cultural icon. The once polarizing figure whose “practice” press conference is the most famous (and oft imitated) in history was honored by the Philadelphia Sixers with his Jersey being retired The Root reports.
The crossover king took to the podium on Saturday night to give a heart-felt thanks to his fans, teammates and friends before the famous number 3 jersey was officially retired.
Arguably a top-ten candidate for a case study on the intersection between culture and sports, Allen Iverson is attributed to ushering in the hip hop age to the NBA. Rocking a fresh, but stylish sweatsuit and initially refusing to don a suit (check the retirement ceremony duds) like the NBA veterans is one of his many run-ins within the NBA ranks during his playing years. He also electrified the league with his bigger than life playing style that is definitely missed. A.I. dashed, dodged and received his share of beefier arms to impede his hard charging style to the “hole.”
Saturday night was all about Allen. His last game was in 2010 and he retired in October 2013. A.I. holds four scoring titles, was voted MVP in 2001 and has two NBA All-Star MVP’s. Iverson said, “I am Philly. It’s always going to be that way,” according to ESPN.
Iverson was the number one overall pick in 1996, becoming the shortest first selection ever at 6’-0”.
Iverson fans are not under the fallacy that he is perfect, but Saturday was his night to reflect, commend and be congratulated. Many Sixer greats were present along with his teammates during his 10-year tenure with the organization. He acknowledged them all by name as well.
Iverson had a signature look and style. We all know about the hip hop gear, braids and just his overall style, but did you know Iverson was one of the first to wear the elbow sleeve. Who can forget the famous practice press conference in 2002? I’m willing to bet that’s the only sports press conference with a ten-year anniversary celebration. Allen Iverson is a once in a generation player and person whose legacy will live on for many years.
Follow David on twitter @chitlincircuits for his daily rabble rousing