Thursday, June 20, 2024

Heart of a Champion: Allen Iverson had a special flair that should be remembered

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

I think Allen Iverson should be in the Hall of Fame as an all-time great. Personally, I was never a fan of Iverson, or the Philadelphia 76ers, as my favorite player during that time was Shaquille O’Neal.

But rarely comes a time, when you see a Hall of Famer playing in your backyard, less than an hour away from where you’d grow up. While one could question his small stature, no one could question his heart.

Former NBA player Allen Iverson drives with the ball against George Hill against the San Antonio Spurs during the game
Allen Iverson drives with the ball against George Hill against the San Antonio Spurs during the game (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

His heart, almost every single game, was larger than his so-called 5-foot-11 frame. Yet, he would outshine others night in and night out with his skill and heart. That same heart, which would keep pounding larger and larger each game, would not allow him to give up and quit on his team, especially when he was the leader of the 76ers for nearly a decade.

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He would have injuries throughout his career – that would keep many normal human beings out, as they healed – yet he would still want to play. And, in my opinion, that’s a heart of a champion.

He may not have won the 2001 NBA Finals, which was his only shot at an NBA Championship, but he won over the hearts of fans all over the country. To many fans, that was more important than winning that championship with the favorite Los Angeles Lakers, who went 15-1 in that playoffs, which is an NBA record.

With the fans, his jersey would rise into a best seller within the NBA for many years. Plus, once Michael Jordan retired for the final time, in 1998, he would be the face of the NBA.

The NBA would not admit it, but it was well-known that he was the best player in the game for several years, as new superstars emerged. It’s hard to believe that the face of the league would be a tattooed and corn-rolled player from Georgetown, but it’s true.

He held the torn for several years, before Kobe Bryant and LeBron James started to emerge, as the leaders of the future. At just below six feet tall, or so they say, he was known for his incredible passion for the game, as well as his competitive spirit.

He was always driving through the middle, before getting pounded and fouled by larger players, as he would go to the foul line and attempt to make both shots. Shots were nothing new for him, as he shot more than 50 times on most nights, it seemed like.

He was all the 76ers had at the time, and if he wasn’t scoring, they weren’t winning. Yet, he should not be remembered, as a ball hog, or the player, who failed to rekindle his magic later in his career.

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He attempted to hang on to hopes of returning to the NBA after last playing in 2010, with the 76ers, but the interest was not there to bring him back. While that could hurt other players, as well as an unsuccessful stint in Turkey in 2011 that should not be held against this man.

He should be remembered, as the player, who scored 26.7 points per game, along with 6.2 assists and 2.2 steals. In addition, he won the NBA MVP in 2001 and played in 71 playoff games.

Except for 9 games with the Denver Nuggets, he played the rest of the playoff games with the 76ers.

He changed the game by the way he played, much like Jordan did with his greatness. Iverson’s greatness came from his great crossover, which is arguably one of the best in NBA history, as he would cross people over left and right. He also had a flair with his game, as well, that would never be repeated.

Since he left the game, this flair has never been repeated – and likely never will. As the end is expected this week with his retirement from the NBA, one should not forget his glory years with the 76ers after being their first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft.

Or, the lackluster times with the Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Detroit Pistons in 13 years, as a change maker for the NBA.

“He loves his fans more than anyone,” says the source to SLAM Magazine. “He loves how they ask for his return constantly, on the streets and on the internet. But now that they know it’s not happening, he can just focus on his future endeavors.”

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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