NBA great Allen Iverson was honored at halftime last Saturday night (March 1) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The former Philadelphia 76ers point guard had his No. 3 jersey retired, making him the eighth player in Sixers franchise history to receive that honor. The current 76ers team was on its home court that night playing a game against the Washington Wizards; a game that the Sixers went on to lose 103-122.
Despite the home team’s loss, Iverson’s special moment provided onlookers with the highlight of the night. Iverson is now among rare company as he joined former NBA players such as Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Charles Barkley, all of whom have had their jerseys retired in Philly. Erving was also in attendance for the ceremony.
Former Detroit Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks is also among the few players to have had their numbers retired by the Sixers. Like Iverson, Cheeks was a point guard for the Sixers during his playing days. Iverson had a short stint with the Pistons during his time in the NBA. Although his All-Star career was already in a decline by the time he got to Detroit, he did not leave the Motor City without first leaving his mark. Iverson’s short-lived stint as a Piston is when he went on his now infamous practice rant in which he repeatedly said the word “practice” while addressing media concerns about his work ethic and leadership.
Iverson spent his first 10 NBA seasons as a member of the Sixers. He was taken by Philadelphia with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. At the conclusion of his first five seasons with the Sixers, Iverson had been the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, the MVP of the All-Star Game, and the NBA MVP. The Philadelphia 76ers were the Eastern Conference champions in 2001 when Iverson led them to the NBA Finals. There they lost in five games to the Shaquille O’Neal-and-Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA champions. Iverson, nicknamed “The Answer,” also won four scoring titles while playing in Philly.
Iverson has also played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets and the Memphis Grizzlies. He last played in the league during the 2009-10 season when he returned to Philly for a 25-game stint. During his heyday, he was an inspiration to many current NBA All-Stars, including LeBron James of the Miami Heat and John Wall of the Washington Wizards. Iverson was, and remains, one of the greatest NBA players of all time.