A Question about ‘The Answer’: What is the legacy of Allen Iverson?

Allen Iverson

Who was Allen Iver­son Really?

With his offi­cial retire­ment last night, this ques­tion comes up once more. And there are so many con­trary views. But that is the real ‘Answer’ (sorry, bad pun). Para­dox­i­cal & Polar­iz­ing. There is no way to view Iver­son & his legacy in a sin­gu­lar light of judge­ment. Rather he is the sum of all the good & all the bad, not either or. And that is what makes him great. He is THE Flawed Super­star. And that is why he will always be rel­e­vant, always be loved.

He is respon­si­ble for sin­gle hand­edly ruin­ing a gen­er­a­tion of play­ground ballers, each one try­ing to adopt his me first, take every shot, brand of bas­ket­ball that is great fun for the player, but unbear­able for the team. Play a pickup game with any­one who grew up around that time, and you’ll find your share of such play­ers, the guys who may have more than ade­quate skill, but no one really wants on their team.

He is the rea­son tiny play­ers can play the game fear­lessly, and really believe they SHOULD be dom­i­nat­ing games and intim­i­dat­ing much larger players.

His is the legacy of cham­pion. He may never have won an actual ring, but his 2001 MVP sea­son, where he car­ried a team with almost zero offen­sive tal­ent, all the way to the Finals. And there he crowned him­self at the cost of the mighty Lak­ers, unde­feated in the play­offs until that point. The coro­na­tion being his famous shake­down of Tyronn Lue to seal the game in overtime.

AI Lue


I still remem­ber it vividly today. The Six­ers had the game in con­trol. Then the Lak­ers set the feisty Lue on Iver­son, who had been torch­ing them all night. The lead dwin­dled. It went to over­time. I looked like the Lak­ers would stay unde­feated. & then AI decided to change the nar­ra­tive. The crossover. Shakes Lue off. Wet jumper. Lue on the ground. AI, in dis­gust, steps over him. GAME. That game was phe­nom­e­nal. Still is. That is the game to remem­ber him by.





As Michael Jor­dan once said,

There’s no I in ‘team’, but there is an ‘I’ in ‘win’.

And some­times all it takes is one win to see great­ness manifest.

Dev Kabir Malik has a clinically alarming dependence on basketball and spends most of his time watching, analyzing, writing and even playing a little pickup (and some 2K too). In the little time he has left, he dabbles with design, art & music.