Some of the greatest players in NBA history have, at one time or another, been members of the Philadelphia 76ers. However, few have impacted the modern generation of ballers like Allen Iverson.
From his all-out, all-the-time mentality and his groundbreaking style to his penchant for producing highlight moments and gaudy numbers, the basketball gods clearly broke the mold when they made AI. Above all else, though, Iverson’s toughness may be his defining characteristic.
He was so tough, in fact, that his desire to play was the perpetual winner over the litany of injuries he incurred as a result of his playstyle.
The Hall of Fame guard was apparently so intent on suiting up when he was injured that one former Sixers general manager occasionally had to resort to extreme measures to prevent him from doing so.
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Billy King Went to Extreme Lengths to Prevent Injured AI From Playing
On Friday, former Philly GM Billy King was a guest on the Audacy NBA Show. Among the topics that were discussed was Iverson’s determination to take the court even when doing so wasn’t medically advisable.
Apparently, Iverson was so fierce in his efforts to play through the pain that King actually had to hide the 2001 NBA MVP’s jersey. Said King:
“When he was injured and we knew he couldn’t play we used to hide his jersey,” he said. “Because he would come to the locker room looking for his jersey, we’d lock it somewhere so he couldn’t get it.”
He went on to recount one of AI’s best attempts at circumventing a spot on the injury report:
“One time, in New York, he found his jersey but didn’t have any shoes,” King said. “He was trying to send the ball boy to the Foot Locker around the corner. He said ‘just give me a pair of their Reeboks. I can play in those.’ Then he pointed to an attendant, ‘what size are you, just give me those shoes,’ because he wanted to play so bad.”
More than a decade after Iverson played his last NBA game, his incredible legend continues to grow.
Iverson on the 1996 NBA Draft Class
Earlier this week, NBA TV teased an upcoming documentary about Iverson’s draft class — Ready or Not: The ’96 NBA Draft — which will air on the network this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern time. In the tweeted clip, Iverson didn’t mince words while sharing his feelings about the class.
In just a few words, he thinks it was the best-ever.
“People talk about the class that Mike (Michael Jordan) was in. People talk about 2003 LeBron and Wade, and Melo. And that’s a great class but the ’96 draft class, hands down the best. The people who went in ’96 are among the best to ever play the game. Definitely legendary,” he said.
“I don’t think there’ll ever be any class better than that class.”
In total, 10 players who were drafted in the first round that year became NBA All-Stars. Four of them — Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Ray Allen — have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.
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