Originally published in SLAM 31

Everybody talks about Allen Iverson’s crossover. You know—the one that made MJ look like he was playing D on lily pads. Twice. But what people don’t talk about enough is his leap. Kid doesn’t just jump, he springs. AI gets above the rim as quickly as he drives to it, and he picked the last game of the ’97-98 season to prove it.

Fourth quarter. Toronto is (on some bullshit) in a match-up zone. The shot clock hits 10 seconds, and Iverson is being guarded by 6-9 John Wallace (stop laughing). Ive begins setting up his move, and Wallace, knowing he can’t keep up, steps off. Doug Christie rushes over to double team, only to watch the rock get lobbed over his extended arms. Eric Snow makes the reception and immediately flies past Toronto’s Dee Brown and Gary Trent. Six seconds remain on the shot clock. Snow stops in the paint, feeling Trent’s presence on his hip, and unleashes a nervous jumper that bricks off the backboard square, then clanks off of the rim. Freeze.

Can you guess who seized the board? Good guesses would be 6-11 Toronto center Marcus Camby, or 6-10 Philly “center” Scott Williams. Other good possibilities included Wallace or Philly’s pair of 6-10 forwards, Tim Thomas or Derrick Coleman. That would be no, no, no, no, and hell no.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t anyone in the paint—it was the smallest man on the court, Mr. Iverson. That’s right. Kid crossover, sensing the brick is a-comin’, slips unboxed into the paint, leaps over Williams’ and then…BOOM! Ive slams down two of his game-high 26 points on top of Camby’s unsuspecting cranium. MC, realizing he has just been posterized, tried to flee the scene, but is slowed by the fact that Allen is still sitting on his shoulders.

Unfazed by having dunked on someone a foot taller than him, Allen just waits for Camby to let him down, then gets back on D and enjoys the rest of the Toronto massacre (107-78) finishing the game and season with a W, 26pts, (13-21 fg), 8 boards, 6 assists, and 4 steals.

Talk about going out.

Bonsu Thompson