Allen Iverson dropped a 6,000-word essay over at the Players' Tribune on Thursday that had lots of fascinating behind-the-scenes anecdotes about his life as a player and his life since leaving the court.
There’s a lot in it, from how he gave Larry Hughes a Bentley - only for Hughes to get stuck in West Philadelphia because he’d taken the car with an almost-empty gas tank - to his strong backing of the 76ers' building process and core of young stars.
Here are a few highlights:
- He’s a cartoonist. Literally, he likes to draw, including pen-and-ink caricatures of players and other people who he felt did him wrong.
- He was very conscious of how he dressed as a player, and even more conscious of how other people saw his attire. This was some of the most moving stuff in the essay. Here’s a little excerpt:
I got to the league, and so many things were complicated. So many things. But my clothes?? Are you kidding me?? Maybe I could afford stuff a little better ... and maybe the brands were a little nicer ... and maybe I got those new editions a little sooner. But nothing changed. And yeah I can be funny about it now, and yeah I’m laughing about it now. But back in the day? When all these people were telling me to switch out my clothes, or cover my tats, or cut my hair, and all of THAT?? Man, personally, to me?? That was like — they might as well have been telling me to change who I am.
They might as well have been taking one look at where I was from, and slapping it in the face.
They might as well have been saying that I could be anyone I want to in this league ... but I couldn’t be me.
- He trusts The Process. “It’s not how we did things back in my day,” he concedes, “but now it’s a different time.” And he believes the current 76ers team, with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, is more talented than his 2001 team that reached the NBA Finals.
- He’s conscious of his legacy, especially among younger fans, some of whom are young enough to have never seen him play. It’s been almost nine years since his last NBA game, after all. “For me, my main legacy - the one that I’m most proud of? It’s how I flipped people’s perceptions of what a young, rich, black athlete had to be like in order to find success in this game,” he says.