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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

Allen Iverson's Rich NBA Legacy Led the City of Newport News to Honor Him by Naming Local Street “Allen Iverson Way”

Allen Iverson. Photo/Instagram

Newport News, Virginia, honored former NBA star Allen Iverson by naming a street "Allen Iverson Way." Newport News' Mayor, Phillip Jones, said that although Iverson is from Hampton, the community sees him as an "honorary son" of Newport News, according to WTKR.

Allen was a dynamic NBA point guard drafted to The Philadelphia 76ers from Georgetown University in 1996. His checkered past almost cost him the opportunity to play in the league—in high school, he was arrested after people alleged that he hit a woman with a chair at a bowling alley during a race-related brawl. Although he denied any wrongdoing, the high school star was convicted on a felony charge of "maiming-by-mob" and drew a 15-year prison sentence, with 10 years suspended at 17, as reported by Yardbarker

He spent four months at the Newport News City Farm before Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder granted him a pardon. In 1995, the Virginia Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, citing insufficient evidence of his guilt, according to Yardbarker. Yet, it's reported that his mother, Ann Iverson, visited Georgetown University's basketball coach, John Thompson, during Allen's brief stint in jail. Coach Thompson shared, "She was the reason why I helped her child." AI's mother is likely his biggest fan; she told Andscape, "I knew he was going to be a basketball player and go to the NBA when I was carrying him." In spring 1994, Coach Thompson visited Iverson at Hampton's Richard Milburn High, a school that catered to at-risk students or students who already had dropped out of high school. "The visit was enough to persuade Iverson to come to Georgetown on a scholarship," said Coach Thompson, per YB." 

Allen's Mom (Ann Iverson) & Allen. Photo/Instagram

Despite his earlier circumstances, Iverson became Georgetown's leading scorer, setting the school record for having the highest points per game. Upon entering the NBA, he was recognized for his remarkable ability to score, eventually being named one of the most prolific scorers in the league. He won Rookie of the Year in his first season and was the number-one draft pick. His speed, defense, excellent scoring abilities, and "killer crossover" move earned him the nickname "The Answer." 

The Hampton, Virginia native garnered the attention of Reebok, earning a lucrative, lifetime shoe deal. The deal guaranteed Iverson $800,000 per year for life and a $32 million trust fund that he will have access to in 2030, according to  AFROTECH

Despite meeting more controversy regarding his image while playing in the NBA, Iverson had one of the most impressive careers in the league. The barely six-foot-tall player became a four-time scoring champion, a two-time MVP, an 11-time all-star, a seven-time all-NBA team, an NBA Hall of Fame inductee, and a two-time all-star game MVP; he also owns the second-highest scoring average in playoff history (29.7 ppg), trailing only Michael Jordan. Iverson led the NBA in steals in three consecutive seasons from 2000-01 through 2002-03 and ranks eighth in the league history in steals per game (2.17), according to the NBA. AI also became known as the "villain" of the NBA for wearing cornrows, having multiple tattoos, and what critics considered an excessively "urban image." Yet, he explained to Shaq during an episode of 'The Big Podcast with Shaq,' that he started wearing braids because he grew tired of traveling barbers who couldn't cut his hair right, while on the road with the NBA

In 2014, the league retired his number and considers him as one of the toughest players ever to play in the league. The Athletic said "Iverson is No. 40 on The Athletic’s rankings of the 75 greatest NBA players. But for millions, his value is immeasurable." Before retiring, Iverson also played for the Denver Nuggets, the Detroit Pistons, the Memphis Grizzlies, and played a brief period in Turkey before retiring from basketball. 

Today, Iverson serves as vice president of basketball at Reebok, alongside former NBA star Shaquille O'Neil, who is Reebok's president of basketball division. The former NBA stars signed LSU's Angel Reese to Reebok for a NIL deal. What a legacy!

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