Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Three + Philadelphia = The Answer

If you don't know... shame on you

This past Saturday, March 1, 2014, many former Philadelphia 76ers and a sell-out crowd gathered at the Wells Fargo Center for a celebration they'd never forget and a Sixer's game they might soon wish to forget.  One might ask, what could the Philadelphia 76ers possibly be celebrating in a season where they are 15-45 and second worst in the entire NBA.  Great question, but the celebration had nothing to do with anybody playing in the game that night.

Instead Philadelphia sold out the building for one last moment on the court with arguably the most polarizing, captivating, philadelphian like athlete this city has ever seen, Allen Iverson. 

If you came here to talk about practice, then shoo!  Unfortunately for many fans, practice is the first thing they think about when hearing this man's name.  I'm choosing not to link to that video (you all know where to find it).

Having grown up very close to Philadelphia, AI was and still is so much more than that to me than that one snip-it of his career.  Memories of him crossing over Michael Jordan or doing it TWICE to Philly area native Kobe Bryant. Perhaps the greatest of them all was in the 2001 NBA Finals against Tyron Lue and the LA Lakers.  Sadly, that was the only game we won in that series, but that play is forever etched in my basketball memory. 

I did not attend Saturday's ceremony, but viewed on TV with a teary set of eyes as I watched as one of my childhood idol's jersey become immortalized in Sixer's history.  For me, Iverson was the reason I fell in love with basketball, maybe even sports in general.  My earliest memories of attending Philadelphia sports are Sixer's games he played in.  The next day following the game I could not wait to try and imitate the moves AI had shown in the game.  Was I ever close to executing such moves? Heck no, but I'd try none the less because he was my idol.

Fortunately I was not alone in such practice. AI became a role model for more than just those who rooted for the Sixers. A never back down attitude combined with dynamic play style had everybody trying to be the next AI.  LeBron James called him, "pound for pound, probably the greatest player who ever played".

The praise for AI does not stop there.  Numerous coaches, as well as current and former players share similar feelings about Iverson's play.  Saturday night finally put a positive note on the ending of Iverson's career. I among many, many Allen Iverson fans want to thank him for all that he has done for the game, and wish him the best from here on out.  If you missed the ceremony this past Saturday, I encourage you to watch below. Philadelphia will forever have nothing but love for you AI.


Cole Miller, from Haddonfield, NJ, is currently a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel. Over the summer, Cole volunteered for the 43rd SABR convention, a large convention with many speakers and other events for baseball fans who enjoy the new age statistics being brought to baseball such as WAR (wins above replacement ).   Cole is a huge fan of baseball, specifically the Phillies.

You can connect on Cole on LinkedIn here. 

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