"I am what I am. Your going to love me or hate me. I don't want nothing in between. This is how I look. This is how I dress. This is how I act. These are my family. These are my friends. This is my life. I am what I am" said Allen Iverson (video.google.com/videoplay?). Allen Iverson is an individualist. He has the confidence to be himself. He is comfortable in his own skin. He refuses to be fake. He does not pretend that he is squeaky clean. He has been a lightning rod for controversy. Therefore, he has been labeled as an NBA bad boy. He also has had problems with authority figures throughout his career. He had problems with the NBA commissioner David Stern and a few of his past coaches. Thus, Allen Iverson is a rebel without a cause.
Allen Iverson is the anti-Michael Jordan. He is seen as an anti-hero. He does not have the squeaky clean or non-threatening image that Michael Jordan had in his career. He is one of the first NBA superstars to wear cornrows. His hair style was seen as too ethnic by the media and the corporate world. He likes to wear skull caps and doo rags too. The NBA did not like that he wore a skull cap to the rookie of the year award presentation. The NBA refused to make the pictures from the award ceremony public. He has over nine tattoos. There is a deep meaning behind every one of his tattoos. His tattoos have led to issues in his career. For instance, the official NBA magazine Hoops magazine put him on their cover of their magazine. But, they airbrushed his tattoos. He thought this was ridiculous. Allen Iverson said: "if they do not like my tattoos, why don't they just pick another player" (www.alleniversonlive.com/tattoos/). The tattoos are not about being a bad boy. It's another way for him to express himself.
Professional athletes are becoming more politically correct. Athletes are being groomed by their publicists and agents on what to say. Nonetheless, Allen Iverson keeps it real. He is politically incorrect. He speaks his mind. He addresses his critics directly. David Stern in 2005 issued a dress code in the NBA banning clothing associated with hip-hop culture." Iverson criticized Stern's dress code, saying that "It would not change a person's character regardless of what type of clothing they wore and that associating hip hop styles of dress with violent crime, drugs, or a bad image is racist"(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_iverson). He is sick of defending himself. He got to the point of realizing that you're going to accept him or you're not going to accept him. He recently explained why he was not having a great season with the Detriot Pistions. He recently said that "I'd rather retire before I do this again. I can't be effective playing this way. It's harder than I thought it would be. I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It's tough for me. I'm struggling with it. I'm not used to it. It's tough for me both mentally and physically. I just have to find a way to get it done" (sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4035415).
Allen Iverson playing style is relentless. He is a great penetrator and he attacks the perimeter. He is only six feet tall and about 165 pounds dripping wet. He plays fearlessly. He is not afraid to take it to the hoop against men twice his size. He is extremely bold on the court. He in a game during his rookie year against the Chicago Bulls challenged Michael Jordan to an one on one match-up. Iverson faked to his left, then crossed over to his right and blew past Jordan before sinking a jumper. This led to a standing ovation from the crowd. Besides, he is a very tough player. USA Today on February 18th, 2004 named him the No.2 toughest athlete in professional sports (/www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/sixers). Likewise, he is considered pound for pound toughest player in the NBA. He played in games with various injuries. He had over 30 different types of injuries throughout his career. His injuries include to name a but a few tailbone contusion, right shoulder dislocation, right kneed synovitis, and fractured left hand. He is also considered best scoring little men in the history of the NBA.
Iverson has always stirred up controversy because he refuses to be something he is not. He
does not want to be a puppet for the corporate world or the media. He believes in speaking the truth and he likes to stand up for his beliefs. He is a rebel and he is an NBA legend. Today's
generation of NBA fans will be telling stories about him to their kids. Iverson is a unique person. He will be missed when his career is over. No one knows what team he will be playing for next season. Nonetheless, he will be satisfied with his career when it's over because he did it his way.
9 May 2009 <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1536099151531505830>
9 May 2009 <http://www.alleniversonlive.com/tattoos/>
9 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_iverson>
9 May 2009 <http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4035415>
9 May 2009 <http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/sixers/2004-02-18-iverson-toughest_x.htm>