Allen Iverson‘s impact on the NBA will never be forgotten. The bad boy label he received upon entering the league did nothing but fuel the fire that led him to be one of the smallest yet dominating point guards to ever touch the court. He kept the antics to a minimum but his personality was always on display, whether it be an entertaining press conference or crossing over your favorite player’s favorite player. He was the man and the answer.
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To celebrate his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, here are the ways Allen Iverson changed the game.
Ushering In The Dreaded Dress Code
In October 2005, David Stern changed the NBA’s dress code, and the new set of rules was often jokingly referred to as the “A.I. Rule.” Some thought the rules were racist or a slap in the face to the hip-hop community with XXXXL shirts, baggy jeans, Timberlands and oversized necklaces being banned. Iverson did usher in flashy dressing and soon became the scapegoat for the new rule.
The NBA’s Tattoo Wave
Did Iverson invent tattoos? Far from it. But the Philly legend shed light on the ink whenever he suited up for the 76ers. From the Chinese symbols on his neck to the full sleeves, Iverson always showed off his tattoos. Arms were mostly bare before his reign, and afterwards the tatted trend exploded. From fellow bad boy J.R. Smith getting a “Young Money” tattoo on his neck to Kenyon Martin getting lips tattooed on his neck, Iverson’s presence is still felt on the court every night.
Being A Flashy Player With A Killer Crossover
Allen Iverson put the team on his back and wasn’t afraid to let you know it. That crossover on Tyronn Lue might be one the most cringeworthy yet best plays to ever happen on the hardwood. Iverson had no problem dribbling circles around his opponents to step back and drain a long-range three. Or if he felt like it, he wasn’t scared to drive into the paint and draw contact while scoring an easy lay-up. Every night he played he left it all on the court and as a 76ers fan, there’s not much more you can ask for.
With the Michael Jordan reign coming to an end, many wondered which player would now have the hottest sneakers. While Reebok had previous athletes like Shaq, his line wasn’t the biggest success. But Reebok had a star on its hands with the Iverson collection. The shoes were versatile coming in high top and low top editions and embodied everything that was Iverson: sturdy and flashy. It was further proof that there was more room for more than just Nike in the athletic footwear world.
Press Conference Shenanigans
“Practice? We’re sitting here, I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice,” asked Iverson in one of the most entertaining post-game press conferences in sports history. The only person to rival his overall attitude with the press is Marshawn “‘Bout That Action” Lynch.
The NBA’s Obsession with Braids
The early 2000s led to trend of dudes having braids, much of which can be attributed to Iverson’s rise to the top of the NBA. Not only did this lead to some of your male classmates having awkward afros for months and walking around with picks for the better part of a semester. And while it was perfectly plausible to see one of your friends getting their hair braided on a stoop (word to R. Kelly) Iverson took things a bit further when his mother braided his hair during a game while A.I. sat courtside. Who else would have the audacity to do that?
Actually Being A Good Rapper (And An Amazing Athlete)
Please don’t forget that Iverson actually had bars and also don’t forget that his rap name is Jewelz. One of his best songs is “40 Bars” which has so many hot lines that it’s featured on Genius. With lyrics like “get murdered in a second in the first degree” A.I. is out to prove that he’s about that life. Iverson was definitely one of the best ball players-turned-rappers, with the exception of Kobe Bryant. Kobe comes out on top simply off of getting that Tyra Banks feature.
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