Sixers Blew It In Not Recognizing Iverson’s Return

Allen Iverson

Shame on the Sixers organization — and also the Wachovia Center — for downplaying Allen Iverson’s return to Philly.

The doors didn’t open until 6 p.m., their usual opening time, but for a game of this magnitude and thousands of fans outside the arena 45 minutes earlier, standing in the rain, an exception should have been made. There was also no pre-game video tribute for the most electrifying player in any sport in the history of Philadelphia.

To have Iverson announced first was another slap in the face towards the player and the fans. It was obvious that PA announcer Matt Cord was given instructions to announce the next player after one minute. The crowd was still roaring and booed when Cord proceeded to the next player.

No signs showing support for Iverson were shown on the arena screen. A sellout crowd was on hand to pay tribute to the “Little Man” but the Sixers’ idea of a tribute was to ignore the fact that Iverson played every minute, while wearing the Sixer uniform, in typical blue collar fashion, throwing his body around like there was no tomorrow and playing every game like it was his last.

Allen outclassed his former organization when he kissed the Sixer center-court logo and made sure that he acknowledged the fans in every part of the building during his introduction. The Sixers may have won the game but lost the respect of this Philadelphia basketball fan for more than 50 years.

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THE LITTLE MAN RETURNS

Former Sixer star Allen Iverson will return for the first time as an opposing player at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday, March 19. The much anticipated arrival of one of the greatest Sixers of all time should fill the South Philly building for one of the few times during this NBA season. “The Little Man,” as this author calls him, is without a doubt the most exciting player in the NBA. 

Say, what you want about Kobe or whomever, but I’m a Philly fan and the ‘Little Man’ played here, so therefore he’s the man. In fact, other than Wilton Norman Chamberlain, who’s the GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME, Allen Iverson is the greatest ’76er second only to Wilt.

I know, I know, a thousand times, I know. What about Dr. J, you ask? Well, notice I said Sixer, not player. Philadelphia got cheated when Julius Erving came to Philadelphia in 1976. Cheated? What’s this nitwit talking about? I’m talking about a player coming over from the ABA., where his real high wire acts took place. I saw Julius when he was with the Nets. The things he could do then were truly spectacular.However, when he arrived in the City of Brotherly Love, Mr. Erving came limping in with two bad knees. Sure he played at a high level with the Sixers, but not as high as his ABA tier.  Thus, he takes a back seat to Allen Iverson as the third greatest Sixer of all time.

For those skeptics who claim Iverson never won a championship and you can’t win with him, I say, you’re wrong. Why? Because first of all, Iverson wasn’t surrounded with great players, even in the 2001 Championship Series with the Lakers. Now, how about this FACT that people forget to mention. Everyone does know that the Sixers won Game One out in L.A. How about Game Two? Well, in Game Two the Sixers were leading by two points with 70 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. Aaron McKie took a 3-pointer from the right baseline that rimmed the basket and came back out. If that ball goes in, Philly goes ahead by five. They could have conceivably been up 2-0 against the Mighty Lakers. Now, that’s not to say that L.A. wasn’t capable of coming back from a two-game deficit, but the facts are facts. The Sixers could have returned to Philadelphia just 2 games away from a  World Championship.

Now, the other incredible thing about The Little Man: his height. There’s no way that he is 6 feet tall. I had the privilege to stand beside him. I am 5’6’’. The man, is just a few inches taller than me. His weight/ About 150 lbs. Now, how in the hell, night after night, and beating after beating is this man still standing up? Let alone still playing at a high level. This guy spends half the game literally on the floor. However, he bounces right back up and continues to play no less than 110 %. 

If there is a tougher athlete in any sport, I have yet to see him.

Thanks Allen, for giving me some of the most exciting sports moments in my 50 years of  following athletics.