Athlete of the Decade #3 Allen Iversonby Eric Schwartz
For many Philadelphia fans Allen Iverson is Sixers basketball. When Iverson left, the Sixers left with him. And in a way that is true because when Iverson was traded to Denver Nuggets during the 2006-07 season any chance of the Sixers being relevant in the city or the NBA also left.
Then after a sudden twist – or stop in Memphis – ”The Answer” was back in Philadelphia and all was right in the NBA-world again.
Love him or hate him, Allen Iverson – who is our No. 3 Philly Athlete of the Decade – will always be remembered as a Sixer. From his rookie year, to the crossover he put on Michael Jordan, to putting the team on his back and leading them to the 2001 NBA finals, Iverson has provided more highlights than any fan could ask for. Here are a few of the accomplishments:
* Iverson has averaged over 30 points in a season five times this decade, four with the Sixers.
* While Iverson takes a lot of heat for throwing up every shot he gets his hands on, he has also been a good facilitator. Following the 2001 season, Iverson has averaged over 5.0 assists every season. His highest output came in 04-05 when he recorded 7.8 dimes a game.
* Three times this decade Iverson has won a scoring title, the only player in the NBA that can make that claim.
* Representing the Sixers as an All-star, Iverson was the game’s MVP twice this decade.
* Sixers fans can thank Matt Geiger for keeping the Superstar in town for so long
For anyone who is confused by the Geiger reference, let me explain: Prior to the start of the 2000-01 season the Sixers were looking to shop Iverson, who was in the process of creating his first rap CD, which included controversial lyrics. It was also thought at the time that he and Larry Brown could not co-exist.
In what was a multi-layered trade, the Sixers would have shipped away Iverson and Geiger and brought in Eddie Jones, Glen Rice, and Jerome Williams. The trade fel apart in the last minute, though as Geiger would not forfeit a trade kicker in his contract that was worth $5 million.
It was after that offseason that the old school school coach (Brown) and the new-school, hip-hop guard put their differences aside and formed a bond that remains strong today.
It is unknown if this will be Iverson’s final year in the NBA. If it is, it is fitting that he is back home, even if it may not make sense from an organizational standpoint.
Allen Iverson was and is the Sixers.
Oh, and we didn’t forget about the 2003-04 season which brought ou the infamous “practice” press conference. No iverson tribute will ever be complete without this gem: