The 2000 Finals. Iverson staring down a scrappy Ty Lue a few feet away from the corner. A dribble to the baseline, where Iverson was expected to go for a smooth layu-WAIT! Iverson somehow altered the laws of motion, hit reverse, and found the basketball suddenly in his other hand with Lue nowhere to be found. Lue tripping over his own feet after the ball swished through was the icing on the cake.
Iverson stepping over the blur of purple and gold on his way back up the court? The proverbial “cherry on top.”
Iverson made a living off of that move, his slick crossover. Part Jackson Pollack-painting, part Mozartian Concerto, all poetry in motion. And that very move was honored recently by Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report.
“Iverson may have borrowed from or been influenced by Hardaway for his crossover, complete with the hesitation (or carry, if you’re so inclined), but that doesn’t make it any less filthy,” Bailey wrote on September 8.
“On the contrary, few players in the history of the game handled the ball with as much style as Iverson. That and his unrelenting grit are what made him one of the most influential players of all time.”
Not only did Iverson’s move earn high praise for changing up the game, but it was ranked the second filthiest signature move in modern NBA history, behind only Michael Jordan’s legendary fadeaway. That Iverson bested other legendary moves, including Dirk Nowitzki’s one-footed shot, Steph Curry’s pull-up three, and Hakeem Olujuwon’s “Dream Shake,” speaks volumes to the Sixers guard’s impact on the game today.
Did Allen Iverson Steal His Signature Move?
Not everyone sees the signature shot as uniquely Iverson’s, though. As Bailey explained, Tim Hardaway noted the similarities between his sweet cross and Iverson’s.
“I’m going to tell you this and everybody this: Allen Iverson carried the basketball,” Hardaway said in a 2017 interview with Scott Howard-Cooper. “I had the original killer crossover and people are doing my move… They’re still trying to perfect my move as the killer crossover, and it’s my move, all right?”
But Bailey wasted no time making sure that the credit for Iverson’s crossover was where it deserved to be.
“With all due respect to the legend,” Bailey remarked, “the game changed (in part because of both ball-handlers), and AI’s crossover felt like the natural evolution of Hardaway’s. It’s something that has happened many times throughout the history of the sport.”
Hardaway shouldn’t feel too cold about the strong stance. After all, Bailey rated his crossover the No. 3 signature move, right behind Iverson’s.
New Eagles Acquisition AJ Brown Pays Tribute to Iverson
Iverson’s popularity stretches beyond the hardwood, as well. Last week, Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown was spotted showing up to training in an Allen Iverson throwback jersey.
In fact, it’s the same jersey that Iverson was wearing the night he put Lue on skates with the unbelievable crossover. Though while Iverson made the Finals, the Sixers ultimately fell short against the Lakers, dropping the series 4-1. Brown will hope that he and the Eagles can replicate Iverson’s success in that uniform, and maybe then some.