Allen Iverson Discusses Breaking Michael Jordan’s Ankles 20 Years Later (Video)
As much as any in his career, the last 6 months have been a victory lap for Allen Iverson. In September, the 6 foot warrior was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. His raw and honest acceptance speech was one for the ages, and all the way Hip-Hop, as he thanked several of his favorite rappers. In January, A.I. joined Ice Cube in announcing that he was making his return to the court, as part of Cube’s BIG 3, 3-on-3 league for retired NBA players. Iverson revealed that he would be a player-coach in the league.
This week, Iverson was a guest on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss the 20th anniversary of one of his most legendary plays–the crossover that left one Michael Jeffrey Jordan frozen on the court like he was hit with a stun gun. The play took place on March 12, 1997, and still stands as one of the league’s greatest highlights, in part, because of what it symbolized. By that time, Jordan was on his way to GOAT status, as he would win his 5th NBA championship that year, and a sixth in 1998. Jordan represented the old guard– genteel, well-heeled and very much a company man. Iverson was in-your-face, brash and, as stated a true Hip-Hop ambassador. The play was both a changing of the guard, as Iverson, the rookie, was ushering in a new era, and just a downright filthy move.
During the SC6 interview, Iverson was asked which of his plays was more memorable, the crossover or when he stepped over Tyronn Lue after drilling a 3-pointer in his face during the 2001 NBA Finals. Initially, Iverson’s response was neither, as he cited his soaring dunk against Toronto on a putback of a missed shot. However, in re-visiting the question, he chose the crossover.
“You gotta say it was the Mike joint, ’cause it was MIKE. I mean the greatest player to ever play the game,” said Iverson. When asked whether he ever talked trash to Jordan about the move, he said no, but then recounted that MJ made it clear that he still remembers the play. “I went to a Charlotte game. I live in Charlotte,” said Iverson. “Me and him was in the back and we was talking. I was telling him how much I loved him and admired him, and telling him how much he was my hero. And, he was like ‘Well, I couldn’t have been too much of a hero to you, if you crossed me like that,'” Iverson said with a smile.
Elsewhere in the interview, Iverson talks about recent comments Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made about Iverson being one of his 2 favorite players, the current state of the Philadelphia 76ers, and more.