“I don’t want to be Michael Jordan, I don’t want to be Larry Bird or Isiah Thomas. I don’t want to be like any of those players. When I retire, I want to look in the mirror and say: I did it my way,” Allen Iverson confessed when he was still practicing basketball. professionally. His career was special, but also was his life, and not in a good way, since from birth he had to face situations that are only seen in horror movies.
Immersed in a devastated community, the only thing that kept Iverson off the streets was sports. There he stood out for his inherent talent in different disciplines. During high school, Allen was the star of the American football and basketball team.
On February 14, 1993, Allen Iverson and his friends were bowling and began to fight with a group of people who were apparently having racist attitudes. Although no one was injured, Iverson was accused of hitting a woman with a chair and charged with provoking a racial strife. Through trial, Allen was sentenced to 15 years in prison, in a completely unfair framework for a 17-year-old boy. Luckily, the case made it to the media and many important people pressured the state to release him. Finally, the Governor of Newport News, Virginia, Douglas Wilder, pardoned him.
In college they managed to tame him and that troublesome player became a true killer on the court under Thompson’s military-style command. In his first year, he averaged 20.4 points and 4.5 assists, which allowed him to be chosen as the best rookie of the season.
Allen Iverson dropped out of college and entered the NBA Draft in 1996 and ended up being chosen over such huge talents as Kobe Bryant or Ray Allen. The 76’ers chose him and under the leadership of Larry Brown,in 2001 Allen Iverson and Philadelphia managed to play in the league finals. However, fate once again mocked him and his team fell to the powerful Lakers of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
After several fights with Brown, Allen had to leave the team and go through Detroit, Denver and Memphis. Battered by the NBA and its trades, he came to the Sixers again in 2009, just days after announcing his retirement. In this second stage he would not succeed and would end up going to Turkey.
His long sleeves, headband, tattoos, braids and baggy clothes are still worn by fans and players around the world, who grew up watching him humiliate Jordan in that action in his first season, with nothing to show or lose and everything to prove. We can say that Allen Iverson was one of the players who made millions of fans spend hours in front of the television watching his plays over and over again.
Santiago de la Peña