by Tzvi Twersky | @ttwersky

When Reebok brought back the original Question in May the iconic sneaker sold out, almost literally, instantly. A few months later, back in early August, when they retroed the Answer IVs, stores’ stocks were depleted just as quickly. Now, as of this very instant, Reebok is ready to announce that they’ll be bringing back the Question, this time with a blue toe, on October 5, as part of a one-time release.

“The fact,” Allen Iverson recently told Todd Krinsky, Reebok’s Global VP of Entertainment and Basketball, “that everybody still wants [the Questions] this many years later is incredible.”

It doesn’t feel like that long ago, says Iverson, when he saw someone wearing the Question for the first time.

It was 1996, and Iverson was driving around, looking out the window aimlessly. That’s when he noticed a kid rocking the just-released Reebok Question. Now he had seen his friends and family donning the sneaker before, but he had never seen anyone he didn’t know wearing it. Iverson found the sight of it mesmerizing.  As he remembers it, he just stared out the window….and stared…and stared until the kid—and the Question—was out of view.

At that moment, says Iverson, “My whole world stopped.”

Of course, AI would go on to see the Question blow up into a sneaker behemoth. And, really, that is something he never got accustomed to. It wasn’t just one shoe, though; many, many iterations from Iverson’s signature Reebok collection blew up. Still, despite the Answer Lines ensuing successful releases, Krinsky will always refer to the Question, which will be retailing for $125, as “lightning in a bottle.”

Says Krinsky, who has been hands-on with AI since ’96 and more recently has been working with Swizz Beatz, Rick Ross and Reebok Classics, “The design inspiration around the Question, I think, was making something that was incredibly flashy, something that was gonna be seen on court, something that looked fast—even before AI wore ’em. And I think the Question does that.”

For Iverson, the fact that the Question is a timeless shoe, is about to be in stores (City Gear, Expressions, JJazz and Villa, among others) one more time, is cool. But what’s even more amazing to him is the fact that Reebok even gave him a signature shoe in the first place.

“I remember,” says AI, “I used to talk to my teammates at Georgetown and they would ask me, ‘Man, do you think you’re gonna have your own shoe?’ I’m like, ‘I dunno. Hopefully something like that would happen for me.’ But it was so far-fetched. I didn’t think nothing like that would actually come true.”

A lot of things came true for AI that he never even imagined possible. But right now, in the past six months or so, he’s learned the most amazing thing of all: Even though he’s three seasons removed from the NBA, fans still want him. Fans still want him, and his shoes.

“You know how it is,” Iverson says, “out of sight, out of mind. [But] I feel like what I contributed to the NBA and to basketball was so much, it can’t be forgotten. That’s one of the best things about it… When you see a 5-year-old kid, and I’m 37 years old, and they know who Allen Iverson is, that’s a great thing.”