Allen Iverson reflects on career, time with Sixers

Allen Iverson reflects on career, time with Sixers
March 30, 2013, 10:00 pm
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He was wearing his road No. 3 jersey in Chicago, a game the Sixers lost with Allen Iverson scoring 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

The day was Feb. 20, 2010.

That was the last of 914 NBA games Allen Iverson had played in. Saturday night Iverson came back to the Wells Fargo Center, the house he built with his sensational play in the late 1990s through 2006, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets.

It was Allen Iverson bobblehead night and despite the combined wins of the Sixers and Bobcats being 46, fans turned out in droves for the game and a peak at one of their heroes.

“That’s Philadelphia,” Iverson said, having as much appreciation for this city and its fans seven years removed from calling Philadelphia home as he did when he was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

After Denver there was a stop in Detroit, one in Memphis, 25 games in a second stint with the Sixers, basketball in Turkey and two exhibition games in China. The former scoring champion and MVP who led the Sixers to their last NBA Finals appearance in 2001 wishes the ride wouldn’t end, but reality is creeping into his inner thoughts.

“I put it in God’s hands. He has done so much for me and given me so much,” Iverson said. “The NBA has given me so much obviously, making me a household name, and I have accomplished a lot in the NBA. And if the road ends here, then it does and I am not bitter about it. I don’t feel no type of way because I understand that he helped me accomplish so many things in the NBA and so many things that people thought that I couldn’t do.

“At some point it comes to an end regardless, however it comes, whether it is retirement or injury, at some point it comes to an end,” Iverson continued. “I am happy and content with everything that has gone on in my life and I am just looking for the next phase, and if I get a chance to play again I would love the opportunity, but if not I will continue to just be happy.”

Iverson was being whisked off to other obligations, so finding answers to how he spends his time and where did not come to fruition. He will be 38 years old in June, and when a player is five years removed from playing in the NBA, he is eligible for the Hall of Fame.

Iverson has first-ballot Hall of Fame credentials. His 24,368 points scored ranks 19th all-time in the NBA. He is 12th all-time in steals and 11th in free-throws made. And he reached those numbers weighing 165 pounds and standing 6-feet tall.

“I think about it all the time,” Iverson said of his Hall of Fame possibilities. “My friends let me know about it. My family let me know about it and me being, I wouldn’t say arrogant or cocky, but confident as I am, I expect that to happen and I am looking forward to it.

“I think that would be the best as far as putting an exclamation point on my career,” he continued. “Being drafted was the best but going down as one of the best ever to play the game would be the exclamation point.”

During the Sixers' tilt with the Bobcats, the organization showed a moving video tribute to "The Answer," and unsurprisingly, all eyes were captivated. It’s been a tough basketball season and people wanted to remember the feel-good times.

Iverson wanted to remember the same, for his own reasons.

It is appropriate that Iverson spent a decade in the city that loves to love you back because he and Philadelphia danced that dance well.

“I go out in the world and when I am in different cities everybody thinks I am from Philadelphia,” Iverson said, sporting his magical smile. “I am from Virginia but everybody thinks I am from Philly because Philly is me and Philly is always going to be me because it is in my heart. That is who I am.”