Allen Iverson loved the game of basketball… maybe not all the practice, but he loved the game.
So much so that the Hall of Famer and legendary competitor often played through injuries — which he had plenty of considering his maybe 6-foot frame, and a style game that sent him barreling full speed into the forest of NBA big men in the paint. He sacrificed his body, and there was a price for that.
Former 76ers general manager Billy King went on The Audacy NBA Show with former NBA GM Ryan McDonough (hat tip Sixers Wire and CBS Sports) and told the story about how, when Iverson was truly injured and needed to sit out, they used to have to hide his jersey.
“When he was injured and we knew he couldn’t play we used to hide his jersey. Because he would come to the locker room looking for his jersey, we’d lock it somewhere so he couldn’t get it….
“One time, in New York, he found his jersey but didn’t have any shoes. He was trying to send the ball boy to the Foot Locker around the corner. He said ‘just give me a pair of their Reeboks. I can play in those.’ Then he pointed to an attendant, ‘what size are you, just give me those shoes,’ because he wanted to play so bad.”
That sounds like Iverson.
Iverson’s legendary fire and competitiveness endeared him to both Philadelphians and a generation of fans across the league — he helped changed the NBA and brought in hip-hop culture with his game. Not everyone loved it at the time, but Iverson was the future.
And nobody could question his passion or love for the game.