It has been six years since The Answer has retired from basketball but in all honesty it seems as if it was just yesterday when he was stepping over Tryonn Lue. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame said Allen Iverson has made it to the finale selection process and it’s possible he will be allowed into their exclusive club. However there has been talk that A.I. damaged the integrity of the game while he participated in his 14 year career. A nine-time NBA All-Star (2000-06, 2008, 2009), he averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game. A three-time All-NBA First Team selection (1999, 2001, 2005), he led the league in scoring average four times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005), steals per game three times (2001-03) and minutes per game seven times (1999, 2001-04, 2006-08). Iverson was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1997 and NBA MVP in 2001. The Virginia native attended Georgetown University (1994-1996) where he set the school record for career scoring average and earned consensus First Team All-America honors (1996). The dude was the definition of MONSTER.
Growing up with Allen Iverson I was able to see him everywhere. He was on the sports pages, the TV, he was all over the mall, he was on busses, and he was on every kids shoe. If you didn’t have a pair of Jordan’s or Iverson’s you just weren’t a basketball fan…These shoes were my pride and joy. I remember making sure I worked extra shifts at the ACME stacking grocery carts and bagging old ladies items just so I could have new sneaks for my middle school traveling team. And if your like me back in the day you just had to get the weather proof spray & foam spray shoe cleaner when you bought a new pair. The point being not only did A.I. completely shape middle america in terms of branding, he also revolutionized the basketball scene. Gone were the days of shorts being two inches above your knee barely keeping your package hidden from the public and in where the loose fitting longer shorts. A lot of people will say it was MJ who brought the NBA around to modern times and he was a HUGE part of it, as was the Fab 5 out of Michigan. However if you ask super starts of todays game like Chris Paul, it was A.I. who helped accentuated the movement with his swagger and defiance of David Stern / Larry Brown.
With all of this being said I can’t figure out how Allen Ezail Iverson could be left off the first ballot Hall of Fame list. There has never been someone like him, the combination of his small stature and long list of achievements are parallel to none in my mind. He took a hip hop culture and brought it to TV sets every night he took the court. He made that same culture a regular everyday part of middle class american society too! He was a modern day Rocky Balboa in terms that he legitimately came from nothing and was never given anything, he had to consistently work for everything he got.
Did he always make the best life choices, did he always do what a role model was supposed to do?? No, and at times he was the anti role model. That isn’t what the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is though, the Hall of Fame is for the best of the best, it’s for the special people who transcend the game and take it to new heights. Iverson did that and more, before there was King James or KD even before Kobe Bryant became The Black Mamba, there was The Answer. The scoring acclimates and the MVP’s alone should put him in a class of hall of famers, but honestly ask yourself if you can name players who did as much for the game as AI did. Ask yourself to list players who took the NBA from blah to WOW…. Who would you say? Magic, Bird, MJ, Wilt, Kareem, Dr. J, Dominique….ect ect ect. The point being all these men are first ballot hall of famers and Allen should join them, it’s only right.