‘The Answer’ Finally Ready to Call it a Career

*This post also appears on TheWooderCooler.com

“We sittin’ in here, I suppose to be the franchise player, we in here talkin’ about practice. I mean listen, we talkin’ about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game…WE TALKIN’ ABOUT PRACTICE.” -Allen Iverson, 2002

Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com.

Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com.

That particular line has lived on in Philadelphia sports lore for the last 11 years and at the time no one expected a typical end of the year press conference to produce a line that still to this day is used by a number of people.

That was the power that Allen Iverson had. He took the ordinary and made it unforgettable. On that day he showed it at the podium, but he displayed that same skill on the basketball court every night.

On October 30th, the Sixers will take on the Miami Heat in their season opener. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that on that night, Allen Iverson will officially announce his retirement from the NBA. Iverson, 38, has not played in the NBA in 3 years and the former MVP seems ready to come to grips with the fact that he never will again.

Iverson will leave the game in the city where it all began and Sixers fans will get an opportunity to say goodbye to the greatest Sixer to ever play the game, the greatest little man to ever play the game and arguably one of the greatest players to ever play pound for pound.

Iverson racked up 11 All-Star appearances while in the NBA. He also took home the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and the NBA MVP award in 2001. Iverson also was named to the 2004 USA Olympic Basketball Team.

He was the NBA Scoring Champion four times and the steals leader three times. He was also a three time first team selection and three time second team selection.

Iverson ranks 19th in NBA history in total points (24,368) and is 6th in points per game (26.7) only behind Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Lebron James, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West.

The numbers clearly speak for themselves and they will more than likely deliver Iverson to the NBA Hall of Fame, despite the off the court blemishes to his overall legacy. However, it is the intangibles that did not show in the box score that will ultimately define ‘The Answer’.

Photo Courtesy of NBA.com

Photo Courtesy of NBA.com

Iverson played with injuries that would have sidelined many other players. He had a cultural impact on the game unlike any player before him. He was one of the last superstars to truly put an entire team on his back and led them to within 3 wins of an NBA title.

Iverson’s ultimate legacy may be that of a tragic hero. His greatest enemy at times was himself, but his passion for the game was undeniable. From the crossover of Michael Jordan to the step over Tyronn Lue, Iverson defined an era of Philadelphia basketball that has not yet been duplicated.

On October 30th, we’ll all get a chance to relive those years for a few moments. While no details have been released for the evening, it would only be fitting to see #3 raised to the rafters with the other legends of the Sixers’ past.

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