From the rough streets of Hampton, Virginia to becoming one of the greatest NBA players of all time and after 14 years in the National Basketball Association, legendary baller Allen Iverson has officially announced his retirement from the league. Earlier today Wednesday (October 30), the 38-year-old gave his official retirement speech via a press conference at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where he starred for the 76ers.
In my opinion, A.I. broke down barriers and changed the league/NBA after first being drafted in 1996 by the 76ers. He also took an a$$-kicking for being himself, looking the way he looked and dressing the way he dressed. Now when you look around, a lot of the NBA players have tattoos and cornrows. A.I. took a beating for those types of things but it’s not how you look on the outside, it’s who you are in the inside and how good of a player you are on the court. He was 100% Hip-Hop and represented the streets/inner cities and I don’t think the NBA was ready for the kid.
I grew up in South Jersey, 15 minutes across the bridge from Philadelphia and A.I. was iconic. We looked up to him. I remember when he used to come to my junior high and high school in his Bentley. This is an emotional moment for myself and a lot of A.I. fans. I’m shedding a few tears as I watch A.I.’s speech.
In his 12-minutes emotional speech, A.I. thanked God for giving him the opportunity to be drafted, talked about his greatest moment being in the NBA which was being drafted, making it from Hampton, Virginia, always believing in himself and how his mother always told him that he can be whatever he wanted to be and he believed it.
He also thanked his coaches, Michael Jordan for giving him a vision (MJ made A.I. want to play basketball, showed him the way and gave him the path that he wanted to walk on), former teammates, the fans in Philadelphia and most importantly his family and friends. Watch the emotional speech below:
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Photo Credits: Don Bleek