Allen Iverson is perhaps the most under-appreciated superstar in the history of sports. Let us talk about five ways make him stand out:
1. Iversons had the most impressive MVP season of all time: Iverson won an MVP during the prime or close to prime of Shaq, Kobe, Tim Duncan, and KG. He drug a crappy Sixers team all the way to the NBA Finals where the snuck one game from the juggernaut that was the Lakers . Look at that roster. Ty Hill, Mutombo, Eric Snow, George Lynch. No one else on that team had any remote business or capability averaging over 10 points a game. That roster was borderline tanktacukar if it wasn't for Iverson lugging them on his back to the Finals. I doubt there has been a crappier lineup to start an NBA finals game . He made that team a contender through his own bloody will and force. That season will forever be etched in my mind. As well as the first game . He took down one of the mightiest teams of all time. That's not even including the iconic Ty Lue step over.
2. The iconic Ty Lue step over: I highly doubt there's anyone 30 and under who hasn't replicated that sequence/move at least 1,000 times in their life. The way he walked over him with disdain and arrogance, a combination of smug and defiance will forever be etched in our brains.
3. Iverson was just as if not more influential to the culture than Michael Jordan: The headband, tattoos, arm sleeve, that derived from Iverson. If you've ever seen someone air dribble, the act of simulating dribbling and crossing an imaginary opponent that's Iverson. Michael Jordan was a brand, a machine for the masses to accept and buy. Iverson was a movement. He pushed out DNA forward and changed it forever .
4. The practice rant: The most honest press conference you will ever see. Words can't do it justice. Watch it below:
5. The dress code: The NBA is the most well dressed pro league thanks to Iverson. Because Iverson used to come to games in throwbacks, fitteds and gold chains, the NBA instituted a dress code. Thus we are in a fashion renaissance in the NBA with each post game conference looking like a catwalk. Iverson changed that. He wore du rags to games . Simply unbelievable .
Allen Iverson is not the best player I ever saw. As a person, he's made some terrible mistakes things no one in their own good conscious could defend. But Iverson was the champ. He got more love than probably any player of his era because he was unapologetically and sometimes frighteningly him. He played the game his way for better or worse. The ending was ugly but the rise was too. He was never someone easy to swallow and fully embrace from a mass audience point of view. But there a generation of kids, largely African American , who will defend him to the end of time because of his impact on the culture and for being the defining image of an era.