Allen Iverson formally announces retirement from NBA
Former Sixers guard Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement from the National Basketball Association on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I’m gonna always be a Sixer, ‘til the day I die,” A.I. said, thanking the fans of Philadelphia. "These fans are me. I am Philadelphia. When you think Philadelphia basketball, you think Allen Iverson. And I fought for that. I earned that."
An emotional Iverson took the stage to announce that his NBA days are over, and he has no regrets. "Not one thing," he exclaimed. Not even ranting about practice.
"Saying practice again and again, I wouldn’t take that back. They had no idea that my best friend just got killed. They had no idea what the press conference was about," Iverson said. "You never heard anything about the reason why I was upset. That press conference wasn’t about practice. I thought it was about me being traded from the Sixers."
The one thing Iverson would change if he could do it all over? "I would have gotten on [Interstate] 76 at 4 o’clock instead of getting on 76 at 5," he joked.
"The Answer" had a lot of people to thank as he said goodbye to playing professional basketball. First name mentioned, arguably the best basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan.
“I have to thank Michael Jordan for just giving me a vision,” Iverson said. “He made me want to play basketball. He basically showed me the way, he gave me that path that I wanted to walk.”
Iverson went on to thank Michael Bailey, his high school coach, John Thompson, his coach at Georgetown, and Larry Brown, who coached him with the 76ers.
“Once I took hold to everything [Brown] had to share with me as far as the mental aspect of the game, that’s what took me from there to here, to MVP status,” he said.
A.I. then thanked his former teammates, giving special attention to Aaron McKie.
“Without my teammates none of this, the accomplishments that I’ve had in my career, they would have never happened without those guys. They rooted me on the whole way and allowed me to become a household name,” he said.
“I’ll always feel a certain way about Eric Snow and Theo Ratliff. That’s never gonna go anywhere. But Aaron McKie was just a different teammate that I had,” Iverson said, overcome with emotion.
“He was my teammate, he was my friend. Helped me with a lot of personal issues that I had, things that were going on in my life. It was different from just being a teammate.”
Most importantly, Iverson said, he wanted to thank his children.
“My family and my kids and [his ex-wife] Tawanna, they took a lot of pressure off me,” he said. “When things were not going so bad at work, when I was able to come home and see their faces and forget all about it. I love them for that.”
Before leaving the podium, Iverson had one more person he needed to thank.
“[Former Sixers owner] Pat Croce. I love you man, I hope you’re watching.”