Mar 1, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A banner with the jersey number of Philadelphia 76ers former guard Allen Iverson is raised to the rafters during a ceremony at halftime of game between the 76ers and Washington Wizards at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Remembering a Legend: Happy Birthday Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson is the greatest athlete to ever put on a Philadelphia uniform. Not just the Sixers; he’s the greatest of all of Philadelphia sports. He represents the hard work ethic of this city and proved that if you leave everything on the court, the fans will love you no matter what happens. He’s been called the best pound-for-pound player to ever lace them up and that’s hard to argue with.

In his 12 seasons with Philly, Iverson accumulated 19,931 points. He averaged 27.6 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 boards, and 2.3 steals per game. While he spent some seasons with other teams, he will forever be remember as a Philadelphia 76er. He represents basketball in Philadelphia and The Answer’s name will still ring bells hundreds of years from now.

For those of us who were lucky enough to watch Iverson during his prime, we should cherish these moments. Who knows if Philadelphia will ever see someone that could resemble anything close to Iverson again. While he never brought the city a championship, most people are aware that is the fault of management for not surrounding him with the right talent, not Iverson himself. In the 76ers lone NBA Finals appearance during Iverson’s tenure, he averaged 35.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. The Sixers only won a single game during the 2001 NBA Finals, but it was a memorable one. The Sixers opened up Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals with a 107-101 victory, with Iverson dropping a memorable 48 points.

AI crossoverWho could ever forget the infamous step over of Tyronn Lue? Not many people that caught Game 1 of the Finals that year. It will be a story everyone is still telling their kids in 20 years.

I remember when Iverson returned to Philadelphia for a brief stint during the 2009-10 season. He looked rusty at times, but it didn’t matter, Bubba Chuck was playing ball in a Sixers uniform. Above all, it was fitting that he ended his basketball career in a 76ers uniform.

While most people agree that Iverson deserved another shot, it never came. He finally retired this year and put his career to rest. Thankfully, we can just enjoy what Iverson was instead of worrying about him trying to make another comeback. The city of Philadelphia can be defined by heart, just like The Answer could.

As Allen Iverson turns 39 today, everyone should sit back and just watch YouTube video after YouTube video of his great career. He never backed down from who he was and never let anyone change him. While he didn’t always have the best reputation, there could be a lot learned about the way Iverson carried himself. Say what you want, but the man always did things his way. In a generation of conformity, looking back at Iverson’s career is a breath of fresh air.

He will forever be the mecca of basketball in Philadelphia. His name will always hang in the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center, where it belongs. No matter who comes along, no one will ever be able to do what Allen Iverson did for this city. Don’t you agree?

Happy 39th birthday to the immortal Allen Iverson.

 

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