Give Clippers coach Tyronn Lue some credit—he’s always been a good sport. It has been 20 years since the 2001 NBA Finals, when Lue’s Lakers faced off against the overmatched Sixers, led by league MVP Allen Iverson. While most remember that the Lakers dusted the Sixers in that series, winning all four games after losing Game 1, the one moment that sticks with NBA fans the most is the incident that happened between Lue and Iverson.
You know, when Iverson cold-bloodedly stepped over Lue during Philly’s upset opening win.
Lue deserves some credit because he knows that is probably at the top of most minds when it comes to his NBA career, despite the fact that Lue was only in his third season when the step-over happened and went on to play another eight seasons after that. Or the fact that he has built one of the best coaching resumes in the sport, with a 185-115 career record and an NBA championship, with Cleveland in 2016, to his credit.
Lue does not much mind that people see him that way. In fact, this month, it got him an endorsement deal with Iverson for the social media app TikTok, with the two former NBA rivals discussing the videos of popular Senegalese TikTok-er Khaby Lame.
“So, every video ends like this?” Iverson asks, throwing forward his hands in a pronounced shrugging manner.
Iverson Dominated Game 1 of the 2001 Finals
Iverson, remember, scored 48 points in the opener of the 2001 Finals, on 18-for-41 shooting, outdoing the 44 points and 20 rebounds put up by Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal. That outing marked the third straight game with 40-plus points for Iverson, having scored 46 and 44 in the final two games of the East championship round against Milwaukee.
It was also the only Finals appearance for Iverson, who averaged 35.6 points but shot 40.2% in the series to get there. The Game 1 loss was the only postseason L the Lakers took that year, and it came in an overtime thriller. It was in overtime, in fact, that Iverson crossed up Lue so bad that Lue tripped and went to the floor. Iverson made the shot as Lue went to the ground, setting up the fame step-over.
After that, Lue once explained, he did not much care for Iverson, but the two eventually became close. Iverson said he regretted the step-over in hindsight because Lue became such a good friend.
“We became really good friends after that,” Lue said back in 2016, per ESPN. “Like, after the Finals, probably four or five years after, we hated each other. But then after the careers went along, we became pretty close and had a good bond. He’s really a good friend of mine.
“It definitely created buzz. When I was going places it was, ‘Oh, that’s the guy Allen Iverson stepped over!’ Well, if you know that, then you know me. So that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that. He’s going to arguably go down as probably the best player under 6-foot in NBA history, so I don’t have a problem with that at all.”
Lue Was Happy to See Iverson Again
As for what Lue was doing turning up in a commercial for TikTok alongside his frenemy, he credited those around him for setting it up.
“I have some good people working for me who got man opportunity and I was able to see AI, which was great, it was great,” Lue said. “I haven’t been able to see him in a while so, for us, just being able to get back together, it was kind of fun. So I’m glad I did it.”