from the sixers.com
His emotion was raw. His words were real. He was who he is.
What else would you expect from Allen Iverson, especially on the night he appeared at The Center for the first time since being named a member of the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class?
“It brings back a lot of memories,” said Iverson of standing in the building where he played all of his home games during a Sixers career that spanned parts of 12 seasons. “It gives me chill bumps. This is me. This is my environment. This place made me a household name. This is the place that little kids fell in love with me.”
On Monday morning in Houston, Iverson was formally elected to the Hall of Fame. His enshrinement will be made official in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, September 9th. Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Tom Izzo, and Sheryl Swoopes are among the other inductees.
Friday, amidst some tears and laughs, Iverson spoke from the heart about this latest, and arguably most distinguished, individual honor. Because Iverson tells it so well, so passionately, and so deeply, the main objective of this article is to simply provide context to many of the Answer’s comments from Friday, and let them stand as they were delivered during a 20-minute press conference.
“This is a tribute to everybody that helped me accomplish it,” Iverson said. “My family, my friends, my fans, everybody that stuck with me through my ups and downs. The ride definitely wasn’t perfect. I made a whole bunch of mistakes just like people make. But people look at us like we’re not human, and don’t understand that we bleed just like them, and we have feeling, just like everybody else.”
At one point on Friday, Iverson got choked up when talking about the pride he feels when family and friends express how proud they are of him.
“I want so much for the people that stuck with me through the whole time, I want them to feel good about it. I want them to feel like they’re Hall of Famers. I want everybody that had an impact on my life, and that had an impact on me trying to get to this goal right here, I want them to feel good about it. Everybody that was with me throughout the ride, I want them to be proud of themselves for helping me get to such a high level.”
The highlights and achievements that the six-foot guard from Georgetown racked up while playing the game of basketball are plentiful, and well documented. It would be unrealistic and unjust to attempt to recap them all in a single article.
Iverson, however, did point to one particular ritual that stood out to him the most among all of the memorable experiences he created and lived through while on the court, or “dance floor,” as he put it, in Philadelphia.
“Probably when I put my hand up to my ear, the response that I got from doing it,” Iverson said. “I knew how those people on that side of the court would respond, and that was one of the like greatest moments for me that sent chills all through my body, because I knew that they felt like I was feeling. If not more, they were excited like I was. That’s one of the greatest moments as far as that court, but just that court period. In Philadelphia, period. Just me giving everything I had night in and night out to those fans, these fans, because I know they were there supporting me for 48 minutes.”
Such interplay exemplified the seemingly unshakable, entirely natural bond that was built, and continues to exist, between Iverson and the city.
“It’s a relationship that we might not ever see again, besides with [Michael Jordan], and his fans in Chicago,” said Iverson, a native of Virginia Beach. “It’s a long lasting relationship. We connect. They love me because I gave everything I had, and they honor that, and I love them for what they gave me. It will never be nothing like the relationship like I have with the fans in Philadelphia. I don’t think it’s possible. I don’t think it will happen.”
In addition to repeatedly stressing his appreciation for supporters and fans throughout Friday’s media gathering, Iverson wove another prominent theme into his remarks. He believes he has undergone substantial personal growth and development.
|Category||: Basketball Hall of Fame|