PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: Former Philadelphia 76ers player Allen Iverson walks onto the court to deliver the game ball before the game against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
You might not have seen him for a while, but superstar guard Allen Iverson — best remembered as a Philadelphia 76er — stepped back into the spotlight Wednesday to officially announce his retirement from the NBA.
Iverson spent the last few years trying to breathe new life into his basketball career. Most recently, he played professional ball in Turkey during the 2010-2011 season, but left after undergoing calf surgery. (Via Eurosport)
Now that “The Answer”’s career is at its end, we’re left with a question: How will he be remembered? Well, you could start with a quotable moment…
“We talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We talking about practice, man.” (Via ESPN)
…or maybe his career stats. The 14-year veteran was known to pull the trigger… often. Iverson’s 42.5 percent field goal average could be considered one of the only black marks on his career.
But it didn’t exactly diminish his productivity. Iverson was an 11-time NBA All-Star, a league MVP and in the top-10 on a list of career 40+ point games, behind the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. (Via NBA)
His career scoring average was topped by only five people: M.J., Wilt, LeBron, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West — the man who inspired the NBA logo. (Via Sports Reference)
Of course, we can’t properly eulogize Iverson’s career without talking about his killer crossover.
Many an ankle were figuratively broken during Iverson’s playing days as the 6’0”, 160-something pound player brought a little street ball into the mainstream. (Via Philly Sports Live)
During his press conference Wednesday, Iverson talked about how watching Jordan play gave him vision and a desire to play basketball.
But M.J. was also victim of one of those crossovers. A.I. put M.J. on roller skates during a 1997 matchup against the Chicago Bulls, providing the then-up-and-coming star with a highlight for the ages. (Via NBA)
We can also measure Iverson’s impact by his affect on the culture of the NBA. Never before did a player rock cornrows, tattoos, baggy clothes or throwback jerseys like Iverson. (Via Flickr / Keith Allison, SLAM)
The Bleacher Report describes Iverson as a trendsetter that rubbed NBA Commissioner David Stern the wrong way: “Iverson's cultural impact was so dominant that Stern had to enforce a dress code on the league banning baggy jeans, doo rags, chains, throwbacks and other hip hop clothing, the same attire A.I. debuted when he came into the league.”
During his press conference, Iverson said he suffered consequences for that look, telling the audience: “I took an a** kicking for me being me in my career, for me looking the way I looked and dressing the way I dressed. … Now you look around the NBA and all of them have tattoos, guys wearing corn rows.” (Via CBS Sports)
If you’ve kept up with recent headlines about Iverson, you’d know that times have been hard for the basketball star.
The Washington Post reported in April about Iverson’s financial troubles and divorce from his wife, Tawanna, in 2012. Iverson was reportedly so broke, he shouted during the divorce proceedings, “I don’t even have money for a cheeseburger.”
Despite his shortcomings off the court, Iverson’s career is one worth celebrating. (Via USA Today)
According to The New York Times writer Harvey Araton, even LeBron James called Iverson “pound for pound” one of the best players to ever play the game. (Via Twitter / @HarveyAraton)
Iverson thanked his coaches, his family and teammates for their support throughout the years. According to ESPN, Iverson doesn’t quite know what the future holds, but is working on a documentary and plans to continue with his speaking engagements.