Somewhat lost in the shuffle of All-Star weekend in Toronto earlier this month was the NBA’s announcement of its 2016 Hall of Fame class, which will include Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, and Allen Iverson.
Shaq and Yao remain as much in the public eye today as during their playing days, yet Iverson, 40, has had a much lower profile since his official retirement in 2013.
Here are the most interesting takeaways:
Iverson played H.O.R.S.E. against Nelly drunk and lost:
“Me and Nelly played H.O.R.S.E. He’s a friend of mine. I remember one night we went to Jermaine Dupri’s studio and I had been drinking before I got there. We went into the gym and he beat my ass. Then he went on 106 and Park and bragged about it. So the next time we played, I made sure that I came prepared. I hadn’t drunk anything and beat his ass. And during that game he was saying, ‘You need to get him a couple drinks.’ I told him, ‘Nah. Not today. You ain’t going to brag on this one.’”
The Answer sees himself in Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook:
“His relentlessness, his heart, his energy, and the way he plays hard every night. That’s what he reminds me of. I wouldn’t say his game per se, but the way he’s always in attack mode and his effort remind me of myself.”
He’s still upset over the NBA’s dress code:
“But, the way that I feel about the dress code is, if they had a problem with what I was wearing, I don’t know how they don’t have a problem with what these guys are wearing. Good gracious. I ain’t ever see nothing like it. I’m sitting at home like they used to bother me about what I was wearing and these guys come in here…. [Shakes head.] You know what I’m saying.......
It’s funny to me. But, I just felt the NBA was just picking on me. That’s all. Other guys in the league at the time dressed like me. Guys is supposed to be able to be original and dress like how they want to dress. The NBA can’t dress no grown man.”
Iverson believes his draft class, 1996, is the greatest of all time:
“[The 1996 draft] is the best. No question about it. Ask anybody that knows about basketball and anybody that has a basketball mind and there’s no question. There’s too many Hall of Famers all throughout it.
He regrets how things turned out with his former coach Larry Brown but still maintains a good relationship with him:
“The only regret that I have is not buying into everything that Larry Brown was giving to me. I wasn’t accepting of the gift when I should’ve [been]. A lot more positive things would’ve happened if I had accepted the gift earlier. I’m glad I did accept it, eventually. Better late than never.”
He serves as a mentor to a few guys in the league
“Lou Williams and Michael Carter-Williams. That’s probably it. I love J.R [Smith]. I love Carmelo. I love K.D. Those are my guys. I love those guys.”