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Allen Iverson's Top Moments

Allen Iverson turns 42 today, so we thought it would be appropriate to relive a few of his most memorable career highlights.  

ESPN lists A.I. on their "Top 50 All-Time NBA Rankings," and he is constantly regarded as one of the best point guards to ever play.  However, beyond his ability on the court, he served as one of the most exciting personalities off the court as well.  (Hint: "Practice?!")

Entering the league in the 1996-97 season, "The Answer" was just that.  He was "the answer" to all of the Philadelphia 76ers' questions. Such questions included "When will we be good again?" and "When will we ever see another superstar on our roster?"  By picking A.I. with their first selection of the 1996 NBA Draft, the 76ers not only chose a player that ended up helping to answer those questions, they drafted a franchise icon.

Iverson made his presence known immediately. He earned Rookie of the Year honors behind 23.5 PTS, 7.5 AST, and 4.1 REB per game.  Despite the 22-60 record Philadelphia saw that season, it marked a change of direction for the franchise.  

Prior to the 1998-99 season, the 76ers hadn't made the playoffs in eight seasons.  The Answer went on to guide the team to six playoff appearances in nine years.  This included a 2000-01 Finals showdown versus the mighty Los Angeles Lakers, whose roster featured Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and (current Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach) Tyronn Lue. 

Throughout Allen Iverson's career he led the NBA in scoring four times and steals three times.  He was an 11-time All-Star (and All-Star MVP in 2001 & 2005), and the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2000-01.  In 2014, his jersey number - 3 - was retired by the 76ers organization after he retired as their second highest scorer in franchise history. 

The Crossover:

Without a doubt, the notorious "Iverson Crossover" has inspired a generation of kids who grew up watching his quick drives to the hoop.  As a result of all the confusion he has tormented defenders with, there is a whole lot of film of Iverson crossing them in all directions... including, most notably, the time he infamously crossed up His-Airness, Michael Jordan:

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Top Plays:

Iverson's crossover was the starting point.  From there, he utilized his incredible athleticism, and energy to become the floor general for his team.  His tenacity to make things happen and attacking hoop while being guarded by the league's best defenders is what separated him from the rest.  Here are some of the best plays of his career:

 

"Practice?!"

Iverson was criticized for missing several team practices, and he responded by saying, "We're sitting here, I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice." In the interview, he went on to say the word "practice" fourteen times!

 

"Practice?!: Revisited"

The Atlanta Braves released this March, they brought back to life his famous "practice" press conference by parodying it with their "parking" situation. They used the video to promote the newly constructed Atlanta Braves field: 

Beyond anything, he transformed the game of basketball by adding his own flair, energy, and tenacity.  For that, we thank you... Happy Birthday, Allen Iverson.