The night was March 300, 1997. In the red corner you have His Royal Airness himself, Michael Jordan. Jordan was set to make an appearance at the brand new Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. In the blue corner you have the young rookie, whom we know as “The Third- Degree,” aka “AI,” aka “The Answer,” aka “Me, Myself and Iverson,” but most commonly addressed simply as Allen Iverson. It’s every young hooper’s dream to make it to the League and compete against those whom they look up to, with the hopes of even teaching THEM a thing or too. Unfortunately, the only time 90 percent of us can “live” that dream is when we turn on our game systems. But for Iverson, this night would provide AI with the opportunity to showcase one of the greatest moments in basketball history.
The initial hesitation-stutter crossover exposed MJ’s lack of balance in comparison to the much quicker AI. After Mike regroups himself, Iverson then gives Jordan one more crossover, plus a sidestep and then pulls up for a free-throw line jumper…SWISH!
Now, naturally, being a Bulls fan and a lover of all things Jordan, I felt like my ankles had been broken in spirit with MJ. But nonetheless, this play capped off a tremendous rookie campaign for this Rookie of the Year. Who would have thought such a simple one-two crossover can leave such a memorable impression?
Now, we have all heard word by now about AI OFFICIALLY announcing his retirement this past week (despite being absent from any global roster since the 2010-’11 season). Even though this potential/possible/”questionable” (all pun intended) HOF inductee may not have been able to afford a burger last year, he answered the questions of all doubters and left rich moments that will forever be remembered.
Cheers to Allen Iverson!