Allen Iverson was one of the most exciting players ever to grace the NBA. With dazzling moves and a sweet jump shot, he played the game unlike anything we’d ever seen. In honor of The Answer’s birthday, we’re going to count down AI’s top five moments in his career.
Number 5: The 2001 NBA All-Star game
The NBA All-Star Game is one of the most fun basketball events the league has to offer. The best players gather on two teams and show off their skills and just generally have fun. If a team goes up by a lot, the losing team throws in the towel, and let the other team show off their skills in front of the crowd. Not Iverson. Trailing 95-74 with less than nine minutes left on the game, Iverson and the East went on a tear. From that moment on, Iverson scored 15 and led his team to an improbable comeback, with Stephon Marbury hitting two clutch threes in the final 53 seconds, one coming with 28 seconds to go that would prove to be the game winner. The East won the game, 111-110. Allen Iverson won the All-Star Game MVP, the regular season MVP, and brought the Philadelphia 76ers to the finals. Quite a year.
Number 4: Rookie Iverson Drops 50 points on Cleveland Cavaliers
The 1996 draft class may go down as the greatest of all time, and definitely the greatest for guards. Players such as Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury, Steve Nash, and Iverson were drafted that year. People will argue and debate over who was the best player to come out of the draft, but the Sixers definitely got great value out of their Number 1 pick.
Iverson broke a 37-year-old record set by the great Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt had set the record for most consecutive 40-point games by a rookie with three in a row in 1959. Allen Iverson broke that record, scoring 40 points in five consecutive games as a rookie, including the game where he scored 50 points against the Cavaliers. The 20,000 people in attendance gave him a standing ovation when he walked to the sideline. He finished 17-32 with five three-point baskets, and went 11-18 from the line. For his efforts that year, he was awarded the 1997 Rookie of the Year. That was one of the first on his long list of awards.
Number 3: “The Crossover”
Players did not want to end up guarding Allen Iverson. He had blinding speed and the killer crossover that nobody could guard. So when his 76ers played the eventual champions, the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan, Iverson wanted to let the world know that he was coming. So, Iverson received the ball at the top of the key when Bulls’ coach Phil Jackson signaled for Jordan to guard Iverson. Jordan was considered the league’s premier perimeter defender and had already been selected for the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times. Iverson had the ball and went to work. He used a small crossover to see if Jordan would bite, then pulled a fast one and pulled up to drain the jumper. It was a quick signal to the NBA that Allen Iverson was ready to take over the league.
— All Sport News (@All_SportNews) March 7, 2017
Number 2: Scoring 60 points at home
Many games where players score 50 or 60 points are not without fault. When Kobe scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, he missed 18 shots and only had 2 assists. When Wilt Chamberlain had his famous 100-point game, he took 63 shots and missed 27 of them. However, when Iverson dropped 60 against the Orlando Magic in 2005, he did everything well. He had 60 points, six assists, (More than Kobe and Wilt combined) and four rebounds. He shot 89-percent from the charity stripe, 40-percent from downtown, and 47-percent from the field. There have not been many performances as electrifying yet all around amazing as this one.
Number 1: 2001 NBA Finals Game 1
The 2001 NBA Finals were Iverson’s first, and he did not disappoint. In Game 1, he lit up the scoreboard for 48 points and six assists. He scored from everywhere, and try as they might, the Los Angeles Lakers could not find a solution to Iverson’s game. This game also paved the way for one of the most iconic moments in NBA history.
With the game close in the final moments, Iverson was in the corner, guarded by future Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. He hesitated, then drove in and pulled the killer crossover. He drained the jumper that would put the game away for good. Lue tripped, and rather then go around him, Iverson decided to step over Lue, creating the iconic moment known as ‘The Step-over,’ It would be recognized in future years as one of the most memorable moments in NBA history.
ON THIS DAY in 2001 — Allen Iverson pulled the ultimate disrespect move with the step over of Tyrone Lue pic.twitter.com/oF8hOLGgP4
— Troy Hughes™ (@TommySledge) June 6, 2017
So those are our picks for Allen Iverson’s top 5 career moments. What do you think?