All it takes is a classic pair of kicks to get Allen Iverson’s memory churning.
On this occasion, a recent photoshoot in Atlanta, the kicks are a black/rivet grey/excellent red colorway of the Reebok Answer IVs. And the memories, spurred by the site of the throwback colorway, are of the 2000-2001 NBA season.
“Certain games, certain series, you don’t ever forget,” Iverson says. “You know what I mean, especially when you’re in the moment.”
On this day, Iverson isn’t eyeing the Reeboks just for nostalgia’s sake. In fact, he’s posing with the black/grey/red IVs, which he wore during the ’00-01 season, because Reebok Classics is re-releasing them on Friday, January 11, for $125, at Champs, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Jimmy Jazz and Reebok.com.
Still, no matter the reason for the reunion between AI and this particular colorway, the memories of the magical season they represent rush back.
The 10-0 start to the ’00-01 regular season comes first. Then, the midseason trade for Dikembe Mutombo. And the All-Star Game, and All-Star Game MVP award. Larry Brown’s Coach of the Year award, Aaron McKie’s Sixth Man of the Year award, and Iverson’s own Most Valuable Player award come to mind quickly as well. So do the Playoffs, the Pacers, the Raptors, the Bucks; the Finals, the Lakers.
“You definitely remember those things,” says Iverson, momentarily emerging from his memories.
While Iverson sat, eyeing the black/grey/red IVs and a pair of flat grey/rivet grey/excellent red IVs, which are a first-time release and are also set to go on sale on the 11th, he broke down five of his favorite memories from the 2000-2001 season.
1. Finally beating the Indiana Pacers, who the Sixers had lost to in consecutive postseasons, in the Playoffs…is something he remembers fondly:
“Beating Indiana that year was one of the biggest things in my career. That’s why I felt like we was gonna win it all. I felt if we could get past them, we could win it all. That’s what, I think, gave us the confidence that we could do it.”
2. Beating the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and averaging 33.7 ppg in that epic series…is something he remembers fondly:
“The series against Toronto, those were definitely some memorable moments. I remember a whole bunch of plays from that one. Certain games, certain series, you don’t ever forget. That’s like fans—I’m a fan too (laughs). You know what I mean, especially when you’re in the moment. You definitely remember those things.”
3. Playing against the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals…is something he remembers fondly:
“The Finals sticks out to me from that season. Us being so banged up that once we got to the Finals everybody was hurt and in the training room all the time, getting there before practice and staying in there after, just trying to heal up. And then, going out and battling knowing we’re nowhere near 100 percent, but still giving everything we got. I remember all that.”
4. Growing closer to Coach Larry Brown throughout the season…is something he remembers fondly:
“I think both of us (Larry Brown) wanted to get along and accomplish what we needed to accomplish. I think that season it was more of me having to try to stop pushing away from him, and instead get close to him and have him want to be able to trust me. That’s when I really felt good—when I felt like he felt that he could trust me that season to do everything I had to do for us to be successful.”
5. Being named MVP of the League…is something he remembers fondly:
“Winning the MVP was big. To be called the best player in the whole world? That’s a lot, especially coming from somewhere where nobody thought that I would even be playing in the NBA. Then, to be the best player in the world, that’s something. That’s something my [oldest] son knows, but that’s for all my kids to know that their daddy was the best basketball player in the world one year. That says a lot.”