I have to thank Lang Whitaker for this amazing piece on Allen Iverson, after hearing of The Answer’s retirement. During my final year in middle school and through out my high school basketball days, I looked up to Iverson. I was a tiny guard with quick speed and a deep affinity for hip hop and none conformity.
I played basketball at a school that was ran by a coaching staff with who loved short shorts and their white players. My freshmen year I was one of two players on an all white squad and I did not fit their conventional playing.
I would later end my play with the team towards my second half of high school as I found myself on the bench. I know for sure this was not because of lack of skill or effort. It was because I did not fit their construct and vision.
I would continue to play ball at the parks and gyms in Southern California, emulating Iverson’s tough play and attitude that no one could take me down. To this day I still sport the baggie shorts and “crazy” hair.
For me, like others, Iverson was someone we could all identify with, but the NBA couldn’t. He was MVP in 2001, a repeating NBA All-Star, win scoring titles, and even drop a rap album. In a time when Michael Jordan left the game, Iverson became the common man’s superstar.
Thank you Allen Iverson for the years. Many will criticize your “shortcomings” on and off the court, but that is who you are. Dynamic player and a dynamic individual, you are living Iverson’s story and no one else’s. No player will ever be like you.
Here is too a good retirement, your game, your style, and your will to survive will live on through the stories I share with friends, family, and my future generation.
Peep Lang’s blog