If you happened to be a child during the Allen Iverson era in the NBA, you probably had — or at least knew — someone who rocked a crisp pair of “Questions” or “Answers.” Probably while also sporting a stylish Ninja Turtles backpack. Or maybe that was just the swag I was possessing at the time? Could be true.
The default setting of basketball based footwear is Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand that I am sure will still be released long after MJ has left this Earth. But in his time he did have some rivals — albeit distant ones.
Kobe Bryant had his moments in the shoe wars. His shoes today are a bit of a cry away from the ones he use to wear – but quality none the less. I remember wanting a pair of “T-Macs,” Tracy McGrady’s signature shoe of the early 2000′s. I even gave Stevie Francis’s kicks a look.
Now days its pretty much down to whatever shoe LeBron and Kevin Durant puts out that sets the market. Back when Jordan was king, there was one authentic challenger for the throne of kicks. Allen Iverson and his 18 Reebok based shoes may have been the best line out there without the name Jordan on the planet.
Now I could honestly give a history on each and every one the models to come out, but I feel like for my sake, your sake and attention span, I will give you the top five. The best shoes ever worn by “The Answer.”
Honorable Mention: Answer XI (2007)
There weren’t many of the post-Philadelphia, Iverson kicks that I really enjoyed. They all looked well and good, but they weren’t as impressive as his ones when he played here. Maybe I am just bitter. But his “out the door” pair did catch my eye.
The shoe was a bit more colorful than we were use to with the Iverson brand. The default version coming in All blue with gold and red accents throughout. They weren’t the best match with the colors of Denver, but they did look fantastic paired properly.
5. Answer XII “Invictus” (2008)
I’ll start the countdown to the his next to last shoe. Another post-Philadelphia pair. The small amount of hypocrisy of my earlier statement isn’t lost on me. But these shoes were special and needed to be recognized.
Named after the Poem by William Ernest Henley, this version of the Answer XII’s were probably the most stylish of the post-Philadelphia shoes. The combination of patten leather and clear rubber made this shoe clean had a pop to it.
The shoe’s heal has the “Invictus” poem on the back reading “I have not winced nor cried aloud // Under the bludgeonings of chance // My head is bloody, but unbowed.” As these came out towards the end of Iverson’s career, that poem is testament to how he played the game.
4. The Answer (1997)
As far as sneakers went in the late 90′s, these were pretty tame. Sure the gold sparkles were an interesting touch but I felt like this shoe was the least out there during the Philadelphia era.
These shoes were the first to have the I3 symbol on them — eventually becoming Iverson’s “Jumpman” logo if you will.
Strolling through elementary schools back in ’97, like I did, it would be hard pressed to find one class room without these on someone’s feet. Hell, we use to have “Iverson vs the World” basketball games on the playground during recess, giving into children’s classic urge of elitism. Those shoes were the only shoes to have.
What set these apart from the rest. The introduction of the DMX air pockets. They made us jump higher, right?
3. Answer V DMX (2001)
Probably one of the more recognizable of the Iverson sneakers. These fantastic little things dropped just after the magical 2001 season and flew off the shelfs once they were released. I remember having to be put on a waiting list for these because I wanted the red ones and not the black. Both cool, but all my friends had the black ones — can’t follow the crowd.
This pair floated around a lot in the hip-hop community at the time giving it even more mass appeal. Although it may not have been the best of the Iverson fleet, it probably was the one that cemented his place among the kick legends.
2. The Answer IV DMX (2000)
This was the shoe to end all shoes. It’s hard to put these not in the top spot to be perfectly honest. The use of leather was fantastic, giving two types on the top and the bottom — giving it a great feel when putting them on. Snug too, so you could actually go out and ball in them. The zipper in the front was a nice touch, as well as Iverson’s face on the sole.
These were later reintroduced onto the market coming in the original set colors as well as a few added for collectors. They also came in a high top profile for which I think was sacrilegious. These only need to be low cut and preferably in red. A shoe I would buy over and over again. So how is this not the top shoe…
1. The Question (1996)
These were the greatest Iverson’s ever made and they got it right the first time. The Question’s were already designed before Iverson even signed his deal with Reebok. They sensed a legacy in him and gave him this pair to start that journey with.
Classic doesn’t begin to describe them, these shoes could of come out yesterday and they still would look as fresh as anything on the market today. The toecap and hexagons are iconic and won’t be confused with any other shoe. They came out with a 96 draft day version of these and needless to say I picked up two pairs. Timeless
I suggest if you can find some pick them up.
The Iverson shoe catalog is one to this day I put one step behind Jordan. Iverson will never be on that level, but as far as NBA shoes go its hard to beat with the six-foot guard from Georgetown had in his closet. I hope this makes you all check your local footlockers and websites trying to pick up these gems.