Allen Iverson’s Hall Of Fame Speech Is Raw, Real & All the Way Hip-Hop (Video)

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From cornrows to tattoos, style to swagger, Allen Iverson ushered a new era into the NBA that was undeniably Hip-Hop. Last night (September 9), Iverson carried that same attitude right into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame.

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In a speech that was raw, emotional and deeply authentic, Iverson thanked everyone who had helped him get to this point, both in his career and life. On the verge of breaking down several times, a teary-eyed Iverson celebrated his family, friends, teammates, coaches, competitors, reporters, basketball idols and fans. Regarding his Georgetown Hoya coach John Thompson, he said “I want to thank Coach Thompson for saving my life.” He also told a detailed story of the awe he had for Michael Jordan saying there was no question he wanted to “be like Mike.”

While those types of salutations are standard at these types of speeches, AI deviated from the typical script in a way that was perfectly symbolic. Just as he brought Hip-Hop to the NBA, he took it with him into the Hall Of Fame, by thanking some of the artists responsible for inspiring him as a player. “Ma$e, Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Fab…I want to thank Biggie Smalls, Redman, Jadakiss, Tupac and Michael Jackson, for being my theme music throughout my career.”

In addition to an extra layer of toughness and grit, the HOF just got a lot more fun.