I love Allen Iverson. Everyone I know who grew up around the same time I did also loves Allen Iverson. I’m sure we all have our own reasons for loving Bubba Chuck; I mean he did cross up Jordan as a rookie- not once but twice in the same play! But for me his legacy is so much deeper than being
good GREAT at basketball. His game drew me in, but who he was as a person left a lasting impression on me.
Last night the Sixers retired Iverson’s iconic #3 jersey and rightfully so. All I could think as I watched the ceremony was, “what a career, man, what a legacy.” However, a female friend in the room proceeded to point out how inappropriately he was dressed for the occasion. “Why didn’t he wear a suit?” “No tie?” “Why are his clothes so baggy?” “Are those sneakers?” She asked these questions with a genuine look of confusion on her face. I tried to ignore her with a genuine look of annoyance on my face. Why couldn’t she look past that and see a king being honored for his reign? Why couldn’t she see a successful black man in America who touched a lot of people’s lives, thus meaning a lot to said people? Does she not know what this man did in the NBA at only 6’0, 165lbs soaking wet? What do his clothes matter?
Then it dawned on me, in that moment my friend was a clear reflection of what made Iverson so great in my eyes. Most players in that situation would have worn a suit (there is nothing wrong with wearing a suit, if that’s who you are, a suit wearer). Allen Iverson is not a suit wearer. His over-sized coat, sneakers, and baggy pants are why I love AI. This man is the EPITOME of being true to oneself. His style of dress, his braids, his tattoos, the jewelry, are ALL REAL EXPRESSIONS OF WHO HE IS…It’s not a fad, he doesn’t want to fit in. By not trying to be cool, he automatically is. I don’t play basketball anymore, so I no longer try to copy his crossover like I did when I was 16, but what he taught me about staying true to who you are will FOREVER be with me. He’s not trying to please you or me, he simply WANTS, but doesn’t NEED you to accept him for who he is, a real human being that wants the SAME exact thing we all want, my home girl included…Love.
Watch his jersey go up to the rafters below: