It was an amazing night for Allen Iverson, his family, the Sixers and of course Iverson’s fans. They came out in droves, packing the Wells Fargo Center to capacity to see one of Philadelphia’s favorite sons honored during a halftime ceremony against the Wizards on Saturday. Even close to the 7:30 tipoff I saw tickets selling on StubHub for over $1,000 a piece.
I was fortunate to be there to see it. And, it was a truly amazing night. Iverson, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, said Michael Jordan was among the players that inspired him. He admitted he was nervous amid the fanfare but that didn’t’ stop him from showing plenty of love for Philly that night with fans cheering loudly from the floor up to the rafters who showed that love right back.
“I love you, Philadelphia. I love y’all for accepting me and letting me be me,” Iverson said.
He spoke to his fans and basketball legends including Julius Irving from center court with an impressive collection of his old jerseys behind him. The ceremony – complete with fireworks, chants of “M-V-P” and Tiny Turner’s song “Simply The Best” – resounded as a banner with Iverson’s renowned No. 3 made its way to the rafters. In the press conference that followed, Iverson complimented the Sixers and paid homage to his coaches for helping to develop him into such an explosive and dynamic player.
I asked the former No. 1 pick selected by the Sixers in the 1996 draft about his life outside the sphere of basketball. Asking him about the program recently launched by President Obama called, “My Brother’s Keeper” to help at-risk young men and boys of color and how might he consider helping in such an initiative. Iverson, who has had his own share of ups and downs, told me, “I have a story, I have a lot I can share with kids and I would love to do something like that.” Perhaps the explosive player called “The Answer” has some truly important answers to problems that impact young men who aspire to be like him and have a life that is something to be proud of on and off the court. Check out some of my pics from the momentous night with A-I (including a selfie!) …I know, don’t give up my day job, right?
– Jennifer Lewis-Hall :)