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Allen Ezail Iverson (born June 7, 1975, in Hampton, Virginia)[1] is an American professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association. As the first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft for the Philadelphia 76ers, Iverson became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, despite his small (6'0") stature. His career scoring average of 27.7 points per game is third all-time behind Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. Iverson was also the 20002001 NBA Most Valuable Player and lead the 76ers to the NBA Finals that post-season.
----------   Early Life   ---------
As a high school junior, Iverson played quarterback for the Bethel High School football team,[2] leading the team to the state championship.[3]
On February 14, 1993, Iverson and several of his friends became involved in an altercation with a group of white teenagers at the Circle Lanes bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia. Iverson's crowd was raucous and had to be asked to quiet down several times, and eventually something of a shouting duel began with another group of youths. Then shortly thereafter, a huge fight erupted, pitting the white crowd against the blacks. During the fight, Iverson allegedly struck a woman in the head with a chair. He, along with three of his friends who are also African-American, were the only people arrested. Iverson, who was 17 at the time, was convicted as an adult of the felony charge of maiming by mob, a rarely used Virginia statute that was designed to combat lynching.[4] Iverson and his supporters maintained his innocence, claiming that he left the alley as soon as the trouble began. Iverson said, "For me to be in a bowling alley where everybody in the whole place know who I am and be crackin' people upside the head with chairs and think nothin' gonna happen? That's crazy! And what kind of a man would I be to hit a girl in the head with a damn chair? I rather have em' say I hit a man with a chair, not no damn woman."[5]
After Iverson spent four months at Newport News City Farm, a correctional facility in Newport News, Virginia, he was granted clemency by Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, and the Virginia Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 1995 for insufficient evidence.[5]
----------   College Years   ---------
In spring 1994, Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson visited Iverson at Hampton's Bethel High School.
Iverson said of Thompson, "Coach was like a father figure to me, right off hand...it just clicked... Ninety percent of having a relationship with him is things that occur off-court. He helped me through last year. I didn't want to come here and just do anything. Any problems that I have, I can go to him and he'll sit down and listen. It is a lot more than player-coach between us. I don't think I could have made it through last year without him."[cite this quote] Thompson said of Iverson, "He did all I expected him to do last year. When he didn't, we sat down and talked."
At Georgetown, Iverson won two Big East Defensive Player of the Year awards, a Rookie Tournament 1st Team, and a gold medal for his win at the World University Games in Japan in 1995. Iverson led all USA players in scoring and assists, averaging 16.7 points per game and 6.1 assists per game. He was also the Hoyas' all-time leading scorer.
As his family situation worsened, Iverson needed to turn pro early, which meant leaving school before graduating.[citation needed] Iverson was the first of just two basketball players, Victor Page being the other, to leave Georgetown early for the NBA under Thompson.
----------   NBA Career   ---------
Philadelphia 76ers - After two seasons at Georgetown, Iverson was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft. He played with the Sixers for 10 years. During his tenure he was Rookie of the Year, League MVP, 2x All-Star MVP, and led the league in scoring for four years.
1996-2000 Franchise Players - After his rookie season, during which he led the 76ers in points, assists and minutes, Iverson was named the 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year and was a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
After the 19981999 season, during which he averaged 26.8 points and earned his first scoring title, Iverson made his first trip to the playoffs. He started all ten playoff games and averaged 44.4 minutes per game despite being hampered by a number of nagging injuries. Iverson led the Sixers to an upset over the Orlando Magic, before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.
Prior to the next season, Iverson signed a six-year, $70 million contract extension.[7] That year, Iverson averaged 28.4 points and again led the 76ers into the playoffs. In the process, Iverson was selected to the Eastern Conference All Star team for the first time of what would be 9 straight appearances. In the playoffs, Iverson averaged 26.2 points, 4.8 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, with a high of 40 points in the first round opener at Charlotte on April 22, 2000. Philadelphia advanced past Charlotte, but was eliminated again by Indiana in the second round. That season, he was the only player other than Shaquille O'Neal to receive a NBA Most Valuable Player vote, and he was named to his first All NBA first team.
20002001 MVP season - In the 2000 off-season, the 76ers actively tried to trade Iverson, and had agreed to terms with the Detroit Pistons before Matt Geiger, who was included in the deal, refused to forfeit his $5 million trade kicker.[8]
That season, Iverson led his team to wins in the first ten games of the season, and was named starter at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game, where he won the game MVP. The Sixers also posted a 56-26 record, the best in the Eastern Conference that season. He also averaged a then-career high 31.1 points, winning his second NBA scoring title in the process. Iverson won the NBA steals title at 2.5 a game. Iverson was named NBA Most Valuable Player, and named to the All NBA First team for his accomplishments.
In the playoffs, Iverson and the Sixers defeated the Indiana Pacers in the first round, before meeting Vince Carter-led Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Semifinals. The series went the full seven games. In the next round, the Sixers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, also in seven games, to advance to the 2001 NBA Finals against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Iverson led the Sixers to their first finals since their 1983 championship. In game one of the 2001 NBA Finals, Iverson scored a playoff high 48 points and beat the heavily favored Lakers 107-101. In the game he notably stepped over Tyronn Lue after hitting a crucial shot.[9] Iverson would go on to score 23, 35, 35, 37 in games 25, all losing efforts though the Sixers were not swept like many predicted. Iverson enjoyed his most successful season as an individual and as a member of the Sixers during the 200001 NBA season.
Denver Nuggets - On December 19, 2006, the Philadelphia 76ers sent Iverson and forward Ivan McFarlin to the Denver Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-round picks in the 2007 NBA Draft. At the time of the trade, Iverson was the NBA's number two leading scorer with teammate Carmelo Anthony being number one.[17]
On December 23, 2006, Iverson played his first game as a Nugget. He had 22 points and 10 assists in a losing effort to the Sacramento Kings.[18] In Iverson's first year as a Nugget they made the playoffs. They won the first game and lost the next four to the San Antonio Spurs.[19] Iverson returned to Philadelphia on March 19, 2008 to a sell-out crowd and received a standing ovation in a 115-113 loss.[20]
Detroit Pistons - On November 3, 2008, Iverson was dealt from the Denver Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons for guard Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess and center Cheikh Samb.[21]
Iverson, who had worn a number 3 jersey his entire NBA career, switched to number 1 for the Pistons. The number 3 was being worn by Rodney Stuckey, and although he stated that he would be willing to give up the number, the NBA ruled that a change in numbers cannot take place until after the season.[22]
* Courtesy of Wikipedia
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