Allen Iverson is a Philadelphia legend. After two seasons at the University of Georgetown, including a run to the Elite Eight in 1996, Iverson declared for the NBA Draft. He went first overall to the Sixers, who were coming off an 18-64 season. With their new superstar, the Sixers improved year-on-year until they returned to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade in the 1998/99 season. Two seasons later and they were in the NBA Finals, with Iverson winning MVP. It was the closest the Sixers got to an NBA title with Iverson on the roster.
However, a lack of consistent success frustrated Iverson, and in December 2006, he was sent to the Nuggets in a blockbuster midseason trade. However, Iverson only lasted 23 months in Denver, being dealt to the Pistons in 2008. After a brief stint in Memphis in 2009, Iverson rejoined the Sixers. However, he was forced to step away from the team in 2010 due to his daughter's health. After playing ten games in Turkey in late 2010, Iverson officially retired. However, despite their rocky relationship while he was there, it's clear that Iverson still loves the city that drafted him.
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Allen Iverson Speaks On Special Bond With Philly
"I became a man in Philadelphia. I was 21 years old when I got there...As far as an athlete and a fanbase, there's no other relationship like mine with the people in Philadelphia," Iverson told former Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin while attending the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. Furthermore, Iverson said he enjoys the sports memorabilia collection scene. According to Iverson, he views the memorabilia scene as fans at their most excited and most grateful to meet players.
However, Iverson's relationship could have been very different if not for backup Sixers center Matt Grieger. In the summer of 2000, the Sixers were part of a massive trade. Some sources report it as six teams and 24 players. Meanwhile, other sources report it as four teams and 12 players. Regardless of how big the trade was, Iverson was on the edge of being dealt to the Pistons before Grieger refused to waive his $1.2 million trade kicker. Who knows how that would have affected the NBA and more importantly, Iverson's relationship with Philadelphia.
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