KEY POINTS

  • Allen Iverson helped carry the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001.
  • Iverson played 12 seasons with the Sixers
  • The Sixers used to hide Iverson's jersey so that he wouldn't attempt to play when he was injured

Allen Iverson is without a doubt one of the most respected figures in the NBA. 

The former NBA MVP and 11-time All-Star was one of the most exciting and offensively-gifted players during his prime, and paved the way for today’s high-scoring guards such as Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving. 

While Iverson’s exploits on the court are still revered to this day, perhaps the most-talked-about aspect of his game is his heart. 

The four-time NBA scoring champion was known for his will and determination, and even carried a rag-tag Philadelphia 76ers team to the NBA Finals back in 2001. 

Simply put, Iverson loved to hoop so much, so that when he was injured, the team had to pull out all the stops just to keep him off the floor. 

Kobe-Bryant-Allen-Iverson Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson faced each other in the 2001 NBA Finals. Photo: Getty Images/Jesse D. Garrabrant

On an episode of "The Audacy NBA Show with Ryan McDonough," former Sixers general manager Billy King shared a story of how they used to hide Iverson's jersey so that he would not force his way onto the court when he was hurt. 

“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,” King shared. 

Obviously, Iverson didn’t mind playing hurt just so he could help his team out. Unfortunately, playing hurt often leads to injuries getting aggravated, and the Sixers needed to do everything that they could in order to keep their franchise star from missing more time than needed. 

“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,’” King continued. “Then he pointed to an attendant, ‘What size are you? Just give me those shoes,’ because he wanted to play so bad.”

Iverson played 12 of his 17 career seasons in the NBA with the Sixers. Throughout his career, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. 

In 2016, Iverson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.