007nites Presents: Allen Iverson
Full Name: Allen Ezail Iverson
Born: June 7, 1975 in Hampton, Virginia
High School: Bethel (Hampton, Virginia)
College: Georgetown University (1994-1996)
Drafted By: Philadelphia 76ers, 1st Pick Overall, 1996 NBA Draft
Height: 6-0 ; Weight: 165lbs
Position: Shooting Guard
Nickname: The Answer, AI, Ivy
Career Statistics - NBA (1996-2010)
G - 914
FG% - .425
3PFG% - .313
FT% - .780
Points - 24,368
PPG - 26.7
Rebounds - 3,394
RPG - 3.7
Assists - 5,624
APG - 6.2
Blocks - 164
BPG - 0.2
Steals - 1,983
SPG - 2.2
Honors: 2000-01 NBA MVP, 4 x All-NBA First Team, 3 X All-NBA Second Team, 1 x All NBA Third Team, 4 x NBA Scoring Champion, 1996-97 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2000-01 NBA All-Star Game MVP, 2004-05 NBA All-Star Game MVP, 11 x NBA All-Star, 1995-96 First Team All-American, 1995-96 Big East Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie Tournament First Team.
Allen attended Bethel High School, where started as quarterback for the school football team, while also playing running back, kick returner and defensive back. He also started as point guard for the school basketball team. During his junior year, Allen was able to lead both teams to Virginia state championships, as well as earning The Associated Press High School Player of the Year award in both sports.
Iverson was soon recruited by coach John Thompson from Georgetown. Though Georgetown typically recruited defensive-oriented big men such as Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Iverson's future teammate Dikembe Mutombo with full scholarships, Coach John Thompson could not pass up the opportunity to recruit a talent like Iverson's. Iverson kept up the Georgetown tradition of defense by averaging three steals per game and winning the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award in both of his two years at the University.
In his first season at Georgetown, Iverson won the Big East Rookie of the Year award and was named to the All Rookie Tournament First Team. That season, Iverson led the Hoyas to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, where they would lose to North Carolina.
In his second (and final) season at Georgetown, Iverson would lead the team to a Big East Championship and all the way to the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament, where they would lose to the University of Massachusetts. He ended his college career as the Hoyas' all-time leader in career scoring average, at 22.9 points per game. Iverson would be named as a First Team All American.
Following the conclusion of his sophomore year, Iverson declared for the NBA Draft. He would be the first player to leave Georgetown early for the NBA under Coach Thompson.
After two seasons at Georgetown, Iverson was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft. Listed at just six feet tall, Iverson became the shortest first overall pick ever, in a league normally dominated by big men.
Coming to a Philadelphia team that had just finished the previous season at 18-64, Iverson was only able to help the Sixers to a 22–60 record. He was however, named the 1996 Rookie of the Year and was also a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, after averaging 23.5 points per game, 7.5 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game. Iverson continued to help the 76ers move forward the following season, as they improved nine games to finish 31-51.
The lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season would mark great improvement for the 76ers. Iverson averaged 26.8 points (which led the league, earning his first scoring title) and was named to his first All NBA first team. The Sixers finished the season at 28-22, earning Iverson his first trip to the playoffs. He started all ten playoff games and averaged 28.5 points per game despite being hampered by a number of nagging injuries. Iverson led the Sixers to an upset over the number two seeded Orlando Magic in four games, before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round in six games.
Prior to the next season, Iverson signed a six-year, $70 million contract extension. That year, the Sixers would continue to improve under Iverson's leadership, as they finished 49-33, once again qualifying for the playoffs (this time earning the fifth seed, one spot higher than the previous year's sixth seed). In the playoffs, Iverson averaged 26.2 points, 4.8 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Philadelphia would advance past the Charlotte Hornets in the opening round, but was eliminated by Indiana in the second round in six games for the second straight year.
That season, Iverson was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time of what would be 11 straight selections. He was the only player other than Shaquille O'Neal to receive a MVP vote that year. In the 2000 off-season, the 76ers actively tried to trade Iverson after his numerous disagreements with then-coach Larry Brown, and had agreed to terms with the Detroit Pistons before Matt Geiger, who was included in the deal, refused to forfeit his $5 million trade kicker. When it became apparent that Iverson would remain a member of the Sixers, Iverson and Brown put their differences aside to make another attempt at a NBA Championship.
During the 2000–01 season, Iverson led his team to wins in the first ten games of the season, and was named starter at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, where he won the game MVP. The Sixers also posted a 56–26 record, the best in the Eastern Conference that season. He also averaged a then-career high 31.1 points, winning his second NBA scoring title in the process. Iverson won the NBA steals title at 2.5 a game. Iverson was named NBA Most Valuable Player; at 6 feet and 165 pounds, he became the shortest and lightest player to win the MVP award. He had 93 first-place votes out of a possible 124. He was also named to the All NBA First team for his accomplishments. In the playoffs, Iverson and the Sixers defeated the Indiana Pacers in the first round, before meeting Vince Carter-led Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Semifinals. The series went the full seven games. In the next round, the Sixers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, also in seven games, to advance to the 2001 NBA Finals against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, featuring the duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
Iverson led the Sixers to their first finals since their 1983 championship. In game one of the 2001 NBA Finals, Iverson scored a playoff high 48 points and beat the heavily favored Lakers 107–101; it was the Lakers' only playoff loss that year. In the game he notably stepped over Tyronn Lue after hitting a crucial shot. Iverson would go on to score 23, 35, 35, 37 in games 2–5, all losing efforts though the Sixers were not swept like many predicted. Iverson enjoyed his most successful season as an individual and as a member of the Sixers during the 2000–01 NBA season.
Iverson began using a basketball sleeve during this season during his recovery from bursitis in his right elbow. Other players, including Carmelo Anthony, and Kobe Bryant, have adopted the sleeves as well, as did fans who wore the sleeve as a fashion statement. Iverson continued wearing his sleeve long after his elbow had healed. Some believe that the sleeve improved Iverson's shooting ability, while Steven Kotler of Psychology Today suggested that the sleeve may act as a placebo to prevent future injuries.
Fresh off their trip to the Finals, Iverson and the Sixers entered the 2001-2002 season with high expectations, but were plagued by injuries, and only able to muster a 43-39 record to just sneak into the playoffs. Despite playing in only 60 games that season and being hampered by injuries, Iverson averaged 31.4 points per game to earn his second consecutive scoring title. The 76ers lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs 3-2 in the five game series. After the defeat, Brown criticized Iverson for missing team practices. Iverson responded by saying, "We're sitting here, I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice," and went on a rant that included the word "practice" over twenty times.
The 2002–2003 season started off poorly for the Sixers, who had just traded defensive-standout Dikembe Mutombo to New Jersey, and saw a decrease in both offensive and defensive production from Aaron McKie and Eric Snow, all three of whom were key components to their Finals appearance two years prior. Iverson would once again put up stellar scoring numbers (27.6 points per game) however, and the Sixers regrouped following the All-Star break to make the playoffs with a 48-34 record. They were able to defeat Baron Davis and the New Orleans Hornets in the opening round of the playoffs, before being eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in the second round after a 6-game series.
Head Coach Larry Brown left the 76ers in 2003, following the playoff loss. After his departure from the 76ers, both he and Iverson indicated that the two were on good terms and genuinely fond of one another. Iverson later reunited with Brown when Iverson became a member and co-captain of the 2004 United States Olympic men's basketball team. In 2005, Iverson said that Brown was without a doubt "the best coach in the world".
Randy Ayers became the next coach of the 76ers, but failed to develop any chemistry with his players, and was fired following a 21–31 start to the season. During the latter part of the that season, Iverson bristled under the disciplinarian approach of the Sixers' interim head coach Chris Ford. This led to a number of contentious incidents, including Iverson being suspended for missing practice, fined for failing to notify Ford that he would not attend a game because he was sick, and refusing to play in a game because he felt "insulted" that Ford wanted Iverson to come off the bench as he worked his way back from an injury. Iverson missed a career-high 34 games in a disastrous season that saw the Sixers miss the postseason for the first time since the 1997 season.
The 2004-2005 season saw Iverson and the Sixers bounce back under the tutelage of new head coach Jim O'Brien, and additions of their first round draft pick Andre Iguodala, and All-Star forward Chris Webber who was acquired in a mid-season trade. A rejuvenated Iverson won his fourth NBA scoring title with 31 points and averaged 8 assists for the year, and helped the 76ers climb back into the postseason with a 43-49 record. They would go on to lose to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons in the first round, who were led by Larry Brown. In the series, Iverson had three double-doubles, including a 37 point, 15 assist performance in Philadelphia's lone win of the series.
Despite O'Brien helping the team back into the postseason, disagreements with players and management led to his firing after just one season. He was replaced by Sixers' legend Maurice Cheeks, in a personnel move Iverson praised, as Cheeks had been an assistant coach with the team when they reached the finals in 2001. During the 2005–2006 season, Iverson averaged a career high 33.0 points per game. The Sixers however missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.
On April 18, 2006, Iverson and Chris Webber arrived late to the Sixers' fan appreciation night and home game finale. Players are expected to report 90 minutes before game time, but both Iverson and Webber arrived around tipoff. Coach Maurice Cheeks notified the media that neither would be playing and general manager Billy King announced that Iverson and Webber would be fined. During the 2006 off-season, trade rumors had Iverson going to Denver, Atlanta, or Boston. None of the deals were completed. Iverson had made it clear that he would like to stay a Sixer.
Iverson and the Sixers began the 2006-07 NBA season at 3-0 before stumbling out to a 5-10 record through 15 games. Following the disappointing start, Iverson reportedly demanded a trade from the Sixers (although he would deny that). As a result, Iverson was told he would not to play in any more games. During the following game against the Washington Wizards, which was televised nationally on ESPN, Sixers Chairman Ed Snider confirmed the trade rumors by stating "We're going to trade him. At a certain point, you have to come to grips with the fact that it's not working. He wants out and we're ready to accommodate him."
Iverson ended his 10-year Philadelphia tenure with the highest scoring average in team history (28.1), and is second all-time on the points list (19,583), and the Sixers did not win another playoff series after his departure until 2012.
On December 19, 2006, the Philadelphia 76ers sent Iverson and forward Ivan McFarlin to the Denver Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-round picks in the 2007 NBA Draft. At the time of the trade, Iverson was the NBA's number two leading scorer with new teammate Carmelo Anthony being number one.
On December 23, 2006, Iverson played his first game for the Nuggets. He had 22 points and 10 assists in a losing effort to the Sacramento Kings. In Iverson's first year as a Nugget they made the playoffs. They won the first game and lost the next four to the San Antonio Spurs.
On November 3, 2008, Iverson was dealt from the Denver Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons for guard Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess and center Cheikh Samb.
Iverson, who had worn a number 3 jersey his entire NBA career, switched to number 1 for the Pistons. The number 3 was being worn by Rodney Stuckey, and although Stuckey stated that he would be willing to give up the number, the NBA ruled that a change in numbers could not take place until after the season.
Iverson scored at least 24 in four of his first five games with Detroit (They won 3 of the 5), and would score 20 or more and 6 or more assists on a consistent basis, but as the season wore on he would lose playing time to Rodney Stuckey.
On April 3, 2009, it was announced by Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars that Iverson would not play the remainder of the 2008–09 season. Dumars cited Iverson's ongoing back injury as the reason for his deactivation, although two days prior Iverson stated publicly that he'd rather retire than be moved to the bench as Piston's coach Michael Curry had decided.
On September 10, 2009, Iverson signed a one-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. Iverson stated that "God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career," and that "I feel that they are committed to developing a winner."
However, Iverson again expressed his displeasure at being a bench player, and left the team on November 7, 2009 for "personal reasons."On November 16, the Grizzlies announced the team terminated his contract by "mutual agreement". Iverson played three games for the Grizzlies.
On November 25, 2009, commentator Stephen A. Smith published on his blog a statement attributed to Iverson announcing plans for retirement, which also said, "I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level."
Less than a week later on November 30, Iverson and his representatives met with a Philadelphia 76ers delegation about returning to his former team, and accepted a contract offer two days later. General manager Ed Stefanski declined to go into the terms of the agreement, but an unnamed source told the Associated Press that Iverson agreed to a one-year non-guaranteed contract at the league minimum salary. Iverson would receive a prorated portion of the $1.3 million minimum salary for players with at least 10 years of experience, and the contract would become guaranteed for the remainder of the 2009-10 season if he remained on the roster on January 8, 2010. Stefanski said the team made the decision to pursue Iverson after starting guard Louis Williams suffered a broken jaw and was expected to miss at least 30 games.
On December 7, 2009, Iverson made his return to Philadelphia, garnering a thunderous ovation from the sold-out crowd, in a loss against his former team, the Denver Nuggets. He finished the game with 11 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, a steal and no turnovers. Iverson's first win in his return to Philadelphia came one week later, in a 20-point effort against the Golden State Warriors, ending the Sixers' 12-game losing streak. (which stood at 9 games before Iverson returned).
On February 22, 2010, Iverson left the 76ers indefinitely, citing the need to attend to his 4-year-old daughter Messiah's health issues. He had missed five games earlier in February and missed the All-Star Game after he was voted in as starter. On March 2, Ed Stefanski announced Iverson would not return to the 76ers for the rest of the season.
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