Allen Iverson honored by Sixers with sculpture outside practice facility

Sixers Iverson
Former Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball player Allen Iverson poses for photos next to his statue at the teams training center in Camden, N.J., Friday, April 12, 2024 (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Friday, April 12, 2024, ahead of their matchup against the Orlando Magic, the Sixers honored one of the greatest players in their franchise’s history, Allen Iverson. Known by many names, A.I., The Answer, and Bubba Chuc, Iverson was one of the most polarizing players, not only of his time but in the history of American sports.

A trailblazer in the sport in terms of ability and attitude, Iverson was simultaneously one of the most controversial figures in the league and the most beloved in Philadelphia. That love was apparent as fans arrived in droves to the closed ceremony in an attempt to see or be seen by Iverson.

Fans were practically climbing trees to see Iverson

While the star-studded event, which included appearances by Terrell Owens, Jimmy Rollins, and many of Iverson’s past teammates, was closed to the public, fans still arrived in droves, looking even to gain a glimpse of the legendary player.

Calling out his name from behind iron gates, cheering him on along with those in attendance, and even trying to buy their way into the event, Philadelphia’s fans showed a true sense of determination in hopes that the Sixers’ legend would feel the love they hold for him.

While fans were unable to sneak into the festivities, the player they had all come to see, the Answer himself, certainly felt their love. In his speech ahead of the unveiling, he recognized his coaches, teammates, fans, friends, family, and everyone else he could name.

Among the people Iverson spoke highly of was current Sixers head coach, Nick Nurse. According to Iverson, Nurse offered him an open-ended opportunity to guide and mentor the current roster, an opportunity Iverson had been interested in for years.

Sixers Iverson
CREDIT: Zach Ciavolella/PSN

Nurse spoke to Sixers media ahead of the game that would follow in the coming hours:

“I think that, and again I said this over there too, you can’t take for granted the nights when you get to put on that jersey. And then go and give it everything you got I think is what you should be and who you should always try to be and that’s what he was.

That, to me, is more of the message that I want. You know when when I met with with Allen earlier this season, I said man, I’d really liked to have you be around a little more and try to get that message to the guys… I think it’s it’s an incredible honor privilege to coach in this league, obviously to play in this league, and it zooms by so fast.”

To give it everything you have, that core piece of the person Iverson was and is a large part of the reason the city was enamored with him as a player. While his practice habits were questioned at times, which Iverson joked about comparing it to today’s ‘load management’ culture, there is not one person who can say that Allen Iverson did not put his heart, body, and soul on the line for Philadelphia every minute he graced the court in a Sixers jersey.

Before, during, and after the Sixers’ ceremony, Allen Iverson was all smiles as the team that gave him his first and most memorable home in the NBA honored him for what he had contributed to the franchise over his two stints with the team.