Episode 29: IVERSON: Chapter 1
Nicknamed "The Answer," Allen Iverson was an eleven-time NBA All-Star, won the All-Star game MVP award in 2001 and 2005, and was the NBA's MVP in 2001. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
However, Iverson's rise to prodigious success and influence was a long, winding, complicated road with peaks and valleys. From Hampton, VA to Bethel HS; Circle Lanes Bowling Alley to John Thompson and Georgetown; Prison to #1 Overall Pick; ROY to MVP; The Crossover, The Stepover, The Sleeve, The Finals, The Cornrows, The "Practice" Rant, The Dress Code, The Rap Album, The Marital and Financial Troubles—talking about Iverson's place in basketball history and impact on culture is an incredibly nuanced, complicated undertaking.
Ben Craw joins the pod for our most ambitious deep-dive yet, The Life and Times of Allen Iverson, an on-going series examining the impact of one of modern sports most influential figures.
Origins of the AI podcast (5:00), Steve James, No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson (8:00), Joyce Hobson, Hampton, VA (11:30), race, privilege, cultural differences and social perspective (13:00), first memories of Allen Iverson (15:40), St. John's vs. Georgetown (16:20), Iverson's incarceration as a national media storyline (20:00), Ray Allen and UConn vs. AI's Georgetown (23:15), admiring AI from afar, growing up in the tri-state area (27:00) and Iverson's incredible style of play as a representation of his life (32:15).
The beginning: Ann Iverson (33:30), upbringing in Hampton, VA (36:00), Michael Freeman (38:30), childhood trauma, violence (40:00), Ann forces Allen to play basketball and football (43:40), Gary Moore (44:30), Iverson wanted to play in the NFL, not the NBA (47:45), AI was arguably a superior HS football player to Michael Vick (49:00), imagining Iverson playing football at FSU and inheriting the mantle from Charlie Ward (51:00), AI's personality being more suited to football vs. basketball (52:00), Iverson's poor school attendance, obstacles in his early adolescence (56:00) and coaches bending over backwards to help AI (57:30).
Enjoy the show? Wanna share an Allen Iverson memory? Got an angle or story you'd love to hear covered on the pod? Let us know!