allen iverson

Originally published in SLAM 19

Allen Iverson.

All season long, people been askin’ questions about the brash rookie who’s been catchin’ wreck out in Philly. All types of questions that have nothing to do with basketball.

One more question was tossed Iverson’s way in late March. One from his own teammate, Jerry Stackhouse: “Why ain’t I getting more touches?” In other words: Hey Allen, the shooting guard needs to shoot, too.

It seems Iverson and Stack decided to settle their differences in public. They got into it during a practice, and Iverson, he got into the headlines again. But before the articles even hit the papers, the two had kissed and made up. Or at least that was how it seemed a little over a week later.

March 28, first quarter. The Celtics’ David Wesley walks the ball up court. As he reaches the stars on the Spectrum wood just past half court, he pitches the ball into the paint. Bad pitch.

Playing the passing lanes, Stack swipes the ball and takes off. Racing down the floor on the fast break, Stack crosses the three-point line, Wesley right with him. As he nears the baseline, Stack needs to do something. Seemingly without a glance, Stackhouse, one of the best finishers in the game, flips the ball behind his back, where it floats and waits.

Intercepting the hovering sphere at the free throw line, Allen Iverson launches, his body vertical, and sends it home with one hand. His knees rise to his waist as he hangs, the ball bouncing off his head. If not for his bum shoulder during All-Star Weekend, Iverson would have given Kobe Bryant a run with this kinda power.

No matter how many questions, this is always the Answer. All the drama off the court doesn’t count between the lines.

The dunk, with 39:22 remaining in the game, was just two points in a game between two teams headed straight for the lottery. But on that night, it was two of the 18 Iverson scored. And judging from the crowd’s reaction, he should have gotten more.

—Jeramie McPeek