Today, Allen Iverson turns 40. (Peep the hashtag #40DaysofIverson if you haven’t already). Although he might not be the law-abiding, clean-cut, success that Michael Jordan or Jay-Z is, Iverson is the one true hero for a generation of basketball playing, hip hop loving, outcasts. Twitter kids may think that “giving no f*cks” and “YOLO” is a new thing, but AI was the guy that gave those of us, that knew we were never going to be the best in the world at basketball, a different kind of hope with an unwavering commitment to being himself (even when it meant not smiling for pictures, apparently).
For me, Allen Iverson represented a mindset. A mindset that if I stay true to myself, I may not be able to be Michael Jordan, but I could be the guy that embarrassed him. Maybe it’s the stickittothemanneosis, because I’ve had a bad case of it all my life, but I’d rather be the guy wearing sneakers and a fitted than the guy who gives in to the societal pressures and wears a suit and tie, hating himself as he works his way up the food chain. Love me or hate me, I am what I am, that’s Allen Iverson.
Whether dunking on Marcus Camby or crossing over MJ, Allen Iverson was the guy you had to take seriously. No matter how you felt about him, he made you respect him on the court. So as Iverson hits the big 4-0, let’s take a look back at what made the Reebok Question, Reebok Answer and Allen Iverson, The Answer, with Allen Iverson’s Greatest Sneaker Moments (in no particular order).