Larry Hughes likes to tell this story.
The story goes, it’s early in the season. Larry’s a rookie. We’re in the players’ parking lot, just one of those days after practice — making moves, you know, talking this that and the third. And then as we’re talking……. we walk up on my Bentley.
A Bentley, it’s nothing to me. You know what I’m saying? It’s just a car. But it’s funny, because it’s not like that for everyone. If you’re AI……. it’s a Bentley. If you’re not? It’s a BENTLEY.
So anyway for Larry, it’s like, O.K. — we’re walking up to a BENTLEY.
And he’s got this look.
I’m saying, Larry is standing there, and he’s in this…… daze. He’s in a Bentley Daze. Just looking at it…. and then looking at me…. and then he’s just, like, “Yo….. AI. I have to get me one of these.”
I don’t even hesitate. “Bro, you can have mine.”
I’ve never seen anyone so grateful.
Chris Covatta/NBAE/Getty Images
But then here’s the funny part. Well actually, check that, there’s two funny parts. First one: it’s gotta be Larry thinking that’s my only Bentley I own. Haha. Nah. I’d say I had, hmm, let’s put it at…… a couple Bentleys at that time? Come on — I’m nice, but I’m not THAT nice.
Second funny part — man, so imagine this. Larry takes my keys, throws his bag in the back seat, and he’s out. And you have to remember: Larry’s never had a ride like that before. So he’s got the car going, he’s feeling himself, and now he’s probably thinking, Alright, I’m taking the long way home today. You’re driving that BENTLEY for the first time, you know what I’m saying — and you’re not really trying to be on some HIGHWAY. You’re trying to be SEEN.
Anyway, the next morning at practice, I spot Larry, and I’m like, “Lil Bro — how was your ride?”
But he just looks at me like he’s seen a ghost. “Man you cold blooded.”
I’m like, “What you talking about?”
And Larry goes, “O.K. — I see how it is. This some rookie hazing.” The boy looks like he hasn’t slept a wink.
“What you talkin’ bout, rookie hazing?”
“NO GAS IN THE TANK.”
And this is what Larry believes, to this day: That I’d given him my car like I knew it had no gas left in the tank — and then like I knew he wouldn’t be able to read a Bentley’s gas meter. Turns out that Larry ran out of gas DEAD DEEP into West Philly. Just him and that Bentley……. parked out in West Philly at night. And my guy spent almost half the night out there before he got himself saved.
And it’s funny on top of that because Larry, man, we’re family — but now he has to go and tell this story to everyone. (He’s still telling it to this day!) And it takes on a life of its own, you know what I mean? It’s like one of those urban legends or something, where it becomes all open-ended. So half the people, they hear that story, and they’ll think to themselves, Oh, wow, AI orchestrated this whole thing — he’s a savage. And then another half the people, they hear that same story, and it’s like, Oh, wow, AI gave this rookie a Bentley — he’s a saint.
I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking about that story lately. Or not even that story, but maybe more what it represents. How it’s like — pretty much my whole life, I’ve never been just a person. I’ve never really been just myself. Some people, they love me. Other people, they hate me. But it’s like they all have their ways of projecting this baggage on me that’s not even always what’s real. It’s like — I’m larger than life. I’m a cultural icon. I’m a basketball myth. And my haters, they use that to pin all this stuff on me that has nothing even to do with me. And my fans, it’s all love….. but it’s almost like they’re guilty too sometimes!! Making me out to be a hero when that might not have been the whole story either.
But if there’s one thing that I’ve never really got to be in this life, it’s just………. regular. It’s just some normal person. It’s just human. Am I a good guy? Yeah, man, I think so — ask about me. Have I made mistakes? Man, who hasn’t? Of course I have. They’ll have to invent a whole new number to find out how many mistakes I’ve made. But it’s the balancing of those ideas, it’s somewhere in between my mistakes and my best self — that’s the real me. That’s the real AI.
And I don’t know if y’all have ever really known that dude.
Which is mainly what I had wanted to accomplish, I think, when I got this opportunity to do my thing and write an article for The Players’ Tribune. I’m not out here trying to write about Ty Lue, you know what I’m saying? I’m not out here trying to write about practice. I’m tired of these same old topics. Nah, man — to be honest?? I just want to write this as a regular person. It’s like….. “Here are some things about Allen Iverson that I want you to know, by Allen Iverson.” Let’s do that.
1. I love to draw.
A lot of people don’t know that about me.
See, I’m from the era where dudes would try to talk your ear off on the court: Gary, Reggie, KG, Kobe — that whole generation. And the reason they talked so much? It’s because that was their way of finding an edge.
And it’s funny, I guess, because I was never much of a talker like those guys……. but I still found my own way to keep that edge.
That’s right — I’d draw.
You’d do me wrong, say something I don’t like, get on my bad side? I’d be liable to cartoon you up. And yeah, it’s just what it sounds like: I would take my paper, my pen, that good ink — and I would straight-up bury you. I would draw you as a cartoon, man. And all your worst features, your worst whatevers, I’d just put them on blast. I’m telling you all, it was cold. Nobody out there was (or is!) wanting to be on the wrong end of my pen.
2. I remember the night that I found out Coach Thompson was no one to mess with.
We were playing Villanova at their place — had to have been the middle of my freshman year. Big rivalry game, plus a little something extra with both of us being ranked that season.
We come out of the tunnel and get in our warmups. All good — we’re ready. There’s some real energy in the building. But then suddenly one of our guys, he notices something…. and he points up to the crowd.
And I’ll never forget it.
There were four men, making some noise way up in the stands. And they all had on handcuffs….. and chains..…. and orange jumpsuits. Those kinds of orange jumpsuits. And I remember the sign they were holding up — clear as day. It said:
ALLEN IVERSON: THE NEXT MJ
But then it had “MJ” crossed out. And they had markered in “OJ.”
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
You have to understand….. I mean, I’m a grown man, now, writing this. But at the time??? I was 19. That’s near a child’s age. And it’s not like I was embarrassed about my past, or about where I came from — NEVER that. But on the same token, it was just, like, Damn. Damn!! Can your boy start fresh, like, ONE time?? Can I just go to college like a normal kid, and play some ball? I’ll tell you this: there isn’t a luxury in the world like being carefree. All these people, they’ll be out here chasing money, and happiness, and this that and the third. But there’s nothing on this earth better than carefree. And that’s the one thing that I realized some of these people out there were never going to let me be.
And what made Coach Thompson so special is he knew that, man. He knew that. Coach knew……. and he could see my heart just sinking in that moment. He knew he couldn’t protect me from everything that was in this world.
But he sure tried.
Here’s what Coach Thompson, MY coach, did for me on that night: He didn’t ask for their sign to be confiscated. He didn’t yell and shout and make a scene. No. See, what Coach did is he calmly walked over to us, player by player, and told us that — don’t worry about our things — we were leaving the floor. That’s it: We were leaving the floor. No big drama. Heads held high. We were there…. and then we were gone.
And then once we were off that floor, and it was just Coach back on the court? He calmly told those refs, he said, “Hey, no disrespect. No disrespect to y’all. But here’s what’s going to happen: If you don’t get those four pieces of sh*t outta here, and I’m talking immediately — we’re gonna be forfeiting this game. Understood?”
They understood, man.
3. I’m a real movie buff — which means I spend a lot of time watching all kinds of movies.
And one of my favorites movies ever I’d say is Heat. It’s this Al Pacino joint, where he has to do some detective work on these white boys because they’ve been robbing banks. These boys, I’m telling you — they’re robbing everyone!! You’ve got Robert De Niro running things, and Val Kilmer as his #2, and then Ashley Judd as his girl……. it’s a tight crew. The main dude, Robert De Niro’s character, he’s like, If you want to be about this life, then don’t have anything you can’t walk away from in 30 seconds flat. O.K., Bob. Man, it’s cold as ice!! Their whole crew is.
When I’m watching a movie, I like to pay attention to the details. I like to analyze them, and try to pick up on something new each time. And so check this out: Last time I’m watching Heat?? It hits me……. these dudes are SLICK! Want to know why?? Because they’re wearing suits. Like: these white boys, they put on a suit, they put on a tie, and now nobody ever suspects them of anything!! Because of all these stereotypes that we have about who should be out here wearing what. See what I’m saying? And so to me when you’re watching that, that’s the director — he’s trying to make a point right there. He’s trying to say, like, the things you do, they’ll never be as important as the things people think you do.
Like I said, it’s all about these stereotypes.
Man you would not believe, back in the day, how many times I would get told this and that about my clothes. AI, he’s a thug. His hair, it’s gang related. He don’t dress like a professional. Had to be a thousand different things people said. But it’s like — do they even get how this all works? Jewelry is just jewelry. Hair is just hair. Clothes are just clothes. Answer me this…… has anyone ever committed a crime with their HAIR? O.K., I’m young and I’m black, and I dress that way. But what am I doing — just ask yourself that. What am I doing? I’m getting out of my car…… to walk to my office…… to go to my job.
It’s crazy. Like — you don’t even know. You don’t even know! I would be out here, and let’s say it’s 2001, and I’m as famous as I’ll ever get. I’m probably one of the 10 or so most famous people in the country. And man….. I will tell you what. If I would be walking down some sidewalk? O.K., yeah, I’d get some autograph requests, I’d get some hooting and hollering, “WHAT’S UP, AI,” I’d get that love, 100%. But here’s what’s crazy: I’d STILL get some of these people, taking one good look at me, and sort of doing that..….. thing, you know what I’m saying? That “not trying to offend anyone, but I’m going to shuffle my way on over to the other side of this street” thing. It’s like some people, I swear — they feel safer around a white criminal, than they feel around a black famous person. Isn’t that messed up, for real?
4. I’ll tell you why I dressed like I dressed, though.
It’s this simple: If you’re from certain places, and if you’ve been raised a certain way — then one of the things that’s going to be most influential on you, growing up, is how the older kids in your neighborhood had dressed.
So for me, when we’re talking my style? That’s really what it came down to.
You have to understand — it’s not like there was ever a bunch of lawyers and bankers, walking around our neighborhood in custom-made suits. That’s just a fact!! No one was out here saying to themselves, When I get paid, I’m going to buy one of those skinny Armani suits. Like…. for what? What would you buy that for? Not for your job, that’s for certain — no one had those types of jobs where we were from. So yeah, maybe you get to a point where you can afford one of those suits. But it’s not changing anything, is it? It’s nothing to aspire to. I swear, best case scenario? If you handed me a nice suit, back in the day? In my mind I’d be thinking, Now I have something to wear for church every Sunday. For real!! Nah, I’m telling you right now, on my honor: that’s all a suit was to us. Suits weren’t status. They were church clothes.
So when I got to the league, it’s not like it suddenly became AI: Extreme Makeover. Why would it??? I wasn’t a changed man. “NBA me” wasn’t a new me — same-old me. I was still that same boy, Allen, from Newport News. And like I said: growing up, all I had wanted EVER was to dress like those older kids on my block. Those kids from my hood who had almost that grown swag, who had that “carrying around” type money, and who could buy themselves some real boots, real jeans, real sweatsuits, and this and that. It’s like — if you were rocking the right fitted, the right throwback, before anyone else you knew could cop it? O.K., now that right there is status.
But that’s what I did, man. I got to the league, and so many things were complicated. So many things. But my clothes?? Are you kidding me?? Maybe I could afford stuff a little better……. and maybe the brands were a little nicer……. and maybe I got those new editions a little sooner. But nothing changed. And yeah I can be funny about it now, and yeah I’m laughing about it now. But back in the day? When all these people were telling me to switch out my clothes, or cover my tats, or cut my hair, and all of THAT?? Man, personally, to me?? That was like — they might as well have been telling me to change who I am.
They might as well have been taking one look at where I was from, and slapping it in the face.
They might as well have been saying that I could be anyone I want to in this league…..…. but I couldn’t be me.
5. Alright, I have to weigh in on this GOAT conversation.
I have to. I’m hearing a lot of people these days fronting like they have LeBron over Mike!!
Man….. listen. First of all, I love LeBron. I have nothing but love for LeBron. That’s the best player of his generation, one of the best ever, a great husband, great father, great role model, and it’s even beyond that: What he’s doing with that school in Akron?? It’s a beautiful thing.
We’re talking about Mike.
We’re talking about Mike, O.K.??
We’re talking about Black Jesus himself.
And I don’t really have much more to say beyond that. Mike is the GOAT……. Mike is always going to be the GOAT. And please don’t even insult me with any of this “stats, AI!” business, like you have a chance of changing my mind.
Here’s my best Mike story — it’s not much, but it doesn’t have to be. So it’s 2003, and we’re all in The A for his last All-Star Game. And you know I’m Reebok for life….. but occasions are occasions. And I’m wanting to pay my tribute to the man. Pay homage. So I find one of those classic MJ throwbacks, then bring it home and cut out the little swoosh on it, and then I rock it — plus a Bulls fitted — on my way into the arena for All Star. And I’m proud as hell. So now I just have to find Mike.
I go into the front of the locker room. “Any of y’all seen Mike?” Nothing.
Go into another section of the locker room. “Any of y’all seen Mike?” Nothing.
Another section. “Mike?” Nothing.
Then finally I make my way to the coaches’ office. Figure they’d have to know where the man is. Open the door…….
But there’s no coaches in there.
It’s just Mike.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesIt’s just Mike, and man….. you wouldn’t even believe this. You wouldn’t even believe what I’m seeing. It’s Mike, and he’s got his uniform on……. and he’s in one of those reclining desk chairs, leaning back in that thing like he doesn’t have a CARE in the WORLD. In the world. Got his feet kicked up like he’s on some beach! And then to top it all off?? He’s smoking one of those big-ass Mike cigars.
And he just looks at me — looks over my fit for a second — and he smiles.
And then he goes right on back to puffing that cigar.
ARE YOU SERIOUS!! Man, I think I’m a cool guy. I’m alright. But Mike is the only person I ever — I mean ever — met who can be so effortless in his cool that he leaves this…. GLOW. It’s almost like I’ll remember the details about that moment and then I’ll get worked up from remembering it, just thinking about how cool that man is, you know what I’m saying?? I mean, he….. Y’all! Y’ALL. He’s smoking a CIGAR, with his UNIFORM on…… before the NBA ALL-STAR GAME. And man, he’s in the COACHES’ OFFICE. He’s in the coaches’ office. You’re smoking your big-ass cigar in the coaches’ office, in your damn uniform, with your feet kicked up like it’s nothing, before your very last All-Star Game?? Man — you run everything. You run EV-ER-Y-THING!!
Y’all I’m begging you, just stay humble on this one, and don’t question it. PLEASE.
Not when it comes to Black Jesus, that man, walking among us.
Not when it comes to Mike being the GOAT.
6. I’m down with the Process.
I won’t lie…. it’s not how we did things back in my day. Miss on the playoffs, for all those years?? O.K. — but you’re going to have to kill me first. That’s the only scenario where I’m planning on missing any PLAYOFFS, you know what I’m saying?
But man it’s a different time…. and anyway that’s the past. Those boys are winning now, I’ll tell you that. Those boys are winning, those boys are building something, and those boys are CRAZY crazy talented. More talented than we were in ’01 and those teams? Yeah — yeah, you know what, I’d say so. Joel and Ben and Jimmy…. that’s a Big Three, man. That’s a Big Three for the present and the future. It’s a moment in Philly now, for sure. And I’m loving every moment of being a part of it.
7. As a matter of fact, you know what I want to say in this article? I want to say how proud I am of Philly for the way they rallied around Meek. Real, real proud. Meek’s a brother to me — straight up. It’s like that. It’s a younger brother thing. And it hurt me to see him locked up.
It’s funny, I swear, because you know I had never considered myself a role model early on. But one time Meek and I were talking…. and he was telling me about all those years ago, back when he was growing up in Philly. And Meek tells me how, when things got dark, and you can bet they did — one of the things that he might think on, to take his mind off whatever? One of the things might be, Man. I wonder what AI is up to right now?
See, it was like that.
And hearing that from Meek had a deep impact on me. Knowing that just, me, just by living MY own life…… maybe I had been inspiring these other kids growing up rough in these OTHER tough spots??? Inspiring them to think about how, “O.K., hmm, this boy AI, he’s six-foot-nothing — but he’s a killer, he’s a warrior, and he got zero ounces of quit. And just off of that………. he made it?? He put our city on his back??” And then maybe by them thinking about that, thinking about my own story, maybe they’d see a way out?
I don’t even know, man….. it’s something heavy to think about. But if it had happened even one time, I will tell you, it’s an honor for real.
And I’ll also tell you this: What had happened to Meek? Not only is it wrong, and not even close to right — but it’s also happening too many times, way too many times, to people who aren’t Meek but they look like Meek, or they look like me. They’re just young and they’re black. It’s an issue, man. But you know something else?? Don’t mess with Philly. You mess around with Philly, they’re liable to turn a whole actual SUPER BOWL into a movement. #FreeMeek — that was the motto, right there, at the top of our lungs.
Was a proud day, a great day.
Philly I love you and I see you. ALWAYS.
Matt Slocom/AP Images8. What do y’all think about these Super Teams? Or should I say these Coward Teams?
HA! I’m just playing. I’m playing. Jokes, man, it’s nothing but jokes. I’m not going to be that cranky old vet who doesn’t want their sport to evolve. Plenty of ways to build a team.
Just me personally though….. I liked our way. I liked being that rock star, that little General — and then everyone else, welcome aboard, salute, they’re my soldiers. I liked our continuity we had. I liked how I was building these relationships with these dudes. And my dudes could PLAY. They could flat-out play! People, these days, they all forget that. We won 56 games in ’01. Had it cooking on both ends of the floor. But now everyone thinks they can just run some numbers, do some trade machine, and figure out how a team gets better?? Nah.
I’ll tell y’all about one time. They traded my boy Vernon Maxwell. They really went and traded my main man Vern. I walk into the building one day, and I’m like, “Where’s Max????? Where’s Max?????”
“He gone.” And then that was it!
Listen……… you did NOT want a piece of me that day. You did not want to look at me funny on the day they traded Mad Max. To this DAY I hate that trade! Why’d they have to do that to us? Some calculators said so? Man, forget these calculators! Alright — and then tell me this: Can these geniuses find the stat about how Vern’s tough as NAILS?? Or about how the guy had our back, every night, no matter what??
Straight up, no b.s., this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learned: Not everything has to be measured — and not everything was meant to be! That goes for hoop, or life, or whatever. Can’t wrap your brain around the whole damn universe.
Some sh*t, the way things work, it’s just a mystery on purpose.
9. ALL-TIME NBA STARTING 5 (EXCLUDING MYSELF):
TOP FIVE ALL-TIME MCs (EXCLUDING MYSELF):
TOP FIVE ALL-TIME MOVIES (EXCLUDING HEAT):
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
Gary Land10. I want to take it back to LeBron for a minute.
And by “LeBron” I mean this whole current generation of players. It’s funny, man, because I get asked this all the time: How you feel about this new NBA, AI? How you feel about these boys getting into FASHION? How you feel about this next big wave of players in the league REJECTING your style?
I really have to speak on this, huh.
O.K. — people are getting it twisted if they think these players showing love for fashion is about rejecting my style. Nah, man, that’s not it. All you have to do is go back and actually look at what I stood for, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s crazy….. people really are just out here saying that I stood for baggy clothes? Or that I stood for fitteds? Or cornrows? Or tattoos? Or throwbacks? Or anything like that? Nah, come on. What I stood for was something way deeper. I mean — to me, if I had to sum it up?
I’d say I stood for being yourself.
That’s it, man. And yeah, most definitely, during a certain time period, “being yourself” for me meant dressing a certain way, with the baggy clothes and whatnot. As a matter of fact, though — at that same time period? LeBron and his generation of players was all dressing that same way!! And don’t even take it from me — ask them! You go ask any of those dudes who their main style influence was, back in that era, and it’s simple. They’re going to answer, “AI.”
But like I said: at the end of the day, it’s not really about even any one style. And it’s not really about bringing any one thing into the culture. For me, my main legacy — the one that I’m most proud of? It’s how I flipped people’s perceptions of what a young, rich, black athlete had to be like in order to find success in this game.
Did I try to fit in? Hell NO I didn’t! I loved hip hop and I let everyone know it. I had these tats and I wasn’t about to cover them up. I could stay out late one morning, then drop 50 and 10 that next night, and I wasn’t even trying to hide it. I wasn’t some robot built to play basketball — you know what I’m saying? I was this real person, from this real place. And when I stepped out of the house, man….….. I put that on. I put ON that history. I carried it like it was written in a damn book. And to me, in a lot of ways, that’s what I’ve always been: an open book! And I guess I’m just the kind of book where it’s like…….. man. The words aren’t changing. I haven’t lied even once. Read me or don’t! But don’t skip the book and then try to speak on it.
And that’s really all I need to say about that. This league, this NBA, in this era right now? It’s not about trade demands, or super-maxes, or skinny-type suits. Nah. Nah, man! It’s about all these talented people — realizing together that they haven’t been successful IN SPITE of being themselves. They’ve been successful BECAUSE of being themselves.
Now y’all tell me whose legacy is that.
11. There’s that word again. Legacy. I think about it a lot, for real. We didn’t call my new shoe that by accident.
I remember in ’96, when it was time to choose between these offers for my sneaker contract, and I had this Nike offer on one side and this Reebok offer on the other side. And that Nike number, boy, you know it was lower. Much lower. Because that’s how it was to be Nike at that time. Y’all……. everyone was with Nike. Everyone!! And so they weren’t offering guys these big-money deals, necessarily. Because to them it was like: we’re offering YOU GET TO BE NIKE. Like that was its own reward, you know?
But I’m my own guy. Man….. I came from nothing!! And Reebok, just by signing with them, they gave me a chance to be the guy who’s his own guy. They gave me the chance to show this whole world, this world that wasn’t accustomed to someone who looked like me, and acted like me, that things didn’t always have to look a certain way, or be done a certain way. And that’s why it was so much more than a shoe deal for me at that time. It was like, those other companies, they wanted to introduce me to their culture. And whereas with Reebok, our whole thing was — these other people aren’t the culture. I’m the culture. We’re the culture. And so we built this image, you know, almost this movement, where it was like, O.K., y’all, I’m never going to please everyone. So I’m at least going to hold my head up high, and do me. Recognize that or don’t.
People respected it.
And I think eventually they wanted to be a part of it.
12. I remember this one time, back in the day? ISIAH THOMAS got in touch with me. Zeke! The legend. And he took me aside and we chopped it up some. He gave me all this advice, knew my strengths and my weaknesses inside and out…….. dude is a basketball genius. No lie, maybe the best piece of hoop advice I ever got, I got from Isiah. It was about learning when to take “one extra dribble” — I call it the Patience Dribble. You learn when to use that, and it’s like the whole game is slow motion.
But then I was thinking more about my conversations with Isiah the other day…. you know, just as far as where I’m at now, as a retired player on the other side of that coin — and as far as all these ways that I try to pay it forward to this next era of kids in the league. They’re always hitting me up for advice. Dennis Smith Jr., he reached out to me just the other day, wanting to pick my brain. So I’ve been thinking about what’s advice that I can give these guys that’s going to be the most powerful. Like, what’s that old-head WISDOM I’m carrying with me that’s going to change their life. What’s my version of Isiah’s Patience Dribble.
But honestly, the truth is? I think I’ve realized that the best advice I can give anyone on this NBA come-up — it’s not even about hooping exactly. It’s about life.
And I told Dennis what I tell all these guys:
Plenty of ways to get where you’re going — no one way to do it. So you’ve just got to find the way that works for you best.
Got to find a way that’s your own.
Gary Land13. If you ask me which of my five kids is the most like me, that’s obvious.
It’s my youngest daughter, Dream.
It’s funny, though, because — with her being the youngest? Dream’s actually the only one who was too young to see me play.
But man I’ll go ahead and tell you two things about that girl.
One, her crossover is already slick, so I know she’s been watching my YouTubes.
And two — and y’all this is the DEAD giveaway that she’s like her pops: Dream didn’t even want to dress up for my Hall of Fame ceremony!! I’m telling you, it’s the truth. We were like, Dream, baby, it’s Daddy’s big night, you’ve got to wear a dress, and we had it all picked out. And what’s Dream say? Nuh uh.
So then we’re like, Alright, girl, what are you wearing then?
And she goes into the closet. She’s ruffling through things, ruffling through things……… and then she comes out. And she’s holding one of her custom-edition Reebok sweatsuits — you know, one of the ones that says IVERSON down the sides.
And we’re just laughing, man. We can’t stop. It’s too much. It’s like, Oh, O.K. Hmmm. Someone who……… doesn’t want to dress up when they’re young? Someone who……… just wants to throw on a nice sweatsuit and they’re straight? Couldn’t be me!!
So then we ask her, though — we’re like, “Dream, baby, why you wanna wear a SWEATSUIT to your daddy’s big night?? We’ve got this beautiful dress here for you.” And that girl……….. she doesn’t even miss one beat.
She goes, “They’re what I like to wear. They have my name on them.”
Now don’t get me wrong — we made Dream wear that dress we bought her. (I’m not making the Hall of Fame twice.)
But I’ll tell you what…….
They’re what I like to wear. They have my name on them.
That made me proud, man. That made me proud. That has to be one of those moments where I might get emotional from now on, even just thinking about it.
My daughter in her hoop sweats and she’s proud of her name.
That’s legacy, to me.
Sam Maller/The Players' Tribune14. Alright so about that Larry Hughes story — I’m supposing I owe you the truth of what happened.
You’ve stuck around long enough in this article, that’s for sure. So I think I owe you for that.
But here’s the thing: I already TOLD YOU the truth!!! I already told you. I did, I swear — right up at the top. I said I was going to write this story just regular. Not as AI….. but as a regular person.
And with the Larry story, it wasn’t any different. Was I being some angel, some Oprah type — walking around practice, like, “You get a car! You get a car!” Of course not. Was I on some veteran power trip, hazing that boy a lesson? Of course not to that, too!
The real me? The real Allen Iverson? Man….. I’m just a guy. That’s the boring truth.
Y’all here’s what’s so funny about it: Ever since I started driving? I just don’t think I ever paid attention to gas in a car before! Like if I’m being real with you……. I’m not even sure I thought that cars NEED gas back then. Nah, I’m playing. I’m playing. I know cars need their gas. But then on the other hand?? It’s like…… I don’t know!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be driving home, and I’ll be hearing that beep beep beep beep beep — and I’ll just look down at it, and it’s like, Oh, word? I’ll have damn near 15 minutes to go…… and there’s barely even any miles left in my tank.
But I’ll tell you what — I’ll tell you two things: One, I have never, ever, ever, ever stopped for gas in those situations. And two? I always make it home.
So you tell me what the truth is.
Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say. If you made it to the end of this article then I sincerely appreciate you. I hope you got some insight into who the real me is, or at least who the real me is right now. I know I have this rep for staying on 100, but man……. the truth is, there’s no rep about it. There’s no staying on 100. There’s no staying on anything, I swear. We’re always changing — always growing!! We’re always just moving our way through life. And I suppose that’s the real me, the real Allen, more than anything else is, you know? I’m 43……. I’m retired……. but I still keep it moving.
Ain’t no beep beep beep beep beep — nah, man.
I ain’t on empty yet.