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Philly No Longer Has The Answer

Feb 19, 2006, 4:30 PM EDT

Sure I had various players’ jerseys as a kid, but as an adult, I’ve
only ever purchased one uniform of a professional athlete.  It’s a
retro red, white, and blue; it reps our city with PHILA on the front, a
number 3 and Iverson on the back.  I never wear my one jersey, but it
makes me feel like I’m a better Philadelphian for having it hanging in
my closet.

I never thought trading Allen Iverson would make me feel so
emotional.  When I think about my love for Philadelphia sports, there
are two guys that immediately come to the front of my mind: Allen
Iverson and Donovan McNabb.  Sure I have memories of my dad taking me
to watch Sir Charles and The Doctor, but it was Allen Iverson whose
entire career as a Sixer I followed from start to finish.

I was 15 in 1996 as I watched Pat Croce go nuts at the NBA Draft
Lottery show when the Sixers found out they’d get the rights to draft
the scrappy guard out of Georgetown.  The Sixers drafted Allen Iverson with the first pick,
and my hope in a championship coming to Philly was fueled by the
lightning quick skills of the barely six footer.  Basketball was my
first love back then, and The Answer was wearing a Philadelphia
uniform.  A.I. gave me hope.

It doesn’t matter right now what the Sixers got in return, although Bill King did alright.  Allen
Iverson no longer wears a Sixers uniform.  It’s a sad day for

My last chance to see Iverson in person
was a preseason game against the Knicks.  A.I. didn’t do anything
incredibly noteworthy, but a couple youngsters a few rows in front of
me chanted, "Allen.. Allen.. Allen" for pretty much the entire third
quarter hoping to get their glimpse of greatness.  Everybody wanted to
watch Allen.  My real last memory of watching A.I. play in person was
last season.  I was lucky enough to watch Bubba Chuck drop 47 in a hard fought victory over Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards
A.I. did one of those sick crossovers on Antonio Daniels, and the
excitement he brought to a half-full Wachovia Center sparked me to pen
a post titled Don’t Trade Allen Iverson, Ever.

I’ll remember the crossover on Jordan, the high arching kiss off the
glass, the step over Tyronne Lue, the cupped hand to the ear, the
sleeve, the tattoos, the MVP.  I’m not talkin’ bout practice, I’m
talkin’ bout the warrior.

Allen Iverson had his flaws.  Philadelphia loved him anyway.  Thanks for the memories.