“GOT IT AGAIN! HE’S WAY TOO GOOD!”
13 years ago, Allen Iverson was the baddest player in the NBA. Of course, in this instance, by bad, we mean good. Hall Of Fame good, actually, but bad as in badass. He single-handedly made David Stern change the NBA’s dress code, he turned then head coach Larry Brown‘s practice mandates into a joke that still reigns supreme in pop culture, and he was plastered on the walls of millions of teenage girls across America. It was fascinating.
In the 2001 NBA Finals however, A.I. and his band of (notoriously insufficient) brothers, better known as the 2000-2001 Philadelphia 76ers, ran into a Los Angeles Lakers squad in the middle of a 3-Peat run. Kobe Bryant, who had aggressively been garnering Michael Jordan comparisons, and Shaquille O’ Neal, quite possibly the NBA’s first literally immovable force, were focused on their quest to win yet another title, and Allen Iverson was determined to foil this particular attempt.
Now, the 76ers ended up on the losing side of this series, falling in 5 games to Kobe, Shaq, and soon-to-be Knicks coach (?) Derek Fisher, but in Game 1, with his team battling fiercely in OT against the Lakers on their home court, Allen Iverson crossed over the Lakers’ feisty defensive specialist Tyronn Lue, and hit a momentous shot that would be talked about for years to come.
And it wasn’t just the shot. After he hit the shot, he paused, turned to look down at Tyronn Lue (who had fallen to the court during his vain attempt at stopping A.I. from releasing his jumper) and stepped over him very, very deliberately.