My two favorite basketball players, Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson, are both products of John Thompson Jr’s Georgetown program of the 80s and 90s. Both went on to have hall of fame careers in the NBA and both were franchise players on teams that got close but never won an NBA championship. The thing Patrick and Allen have, more than anything else, is heart.
And Allen’s heart is on display in this rambling 30min acceptance speech he gave at the Basketball Hall Of Fame yesterday.
It’s about 25mins of him thanking people (his family, the people who shaped him as a child, his friends, his coaches, his teammates, his competitors, etc) and about 5mins of speech making. But in all of that are a few gems.
- the feeling of stepping on the court against Michael Jordan for the first time
- his relationship with the Philly fans
- his relationship with the media
- John Thompson Jr’s decision to recruit him to Georgetown and “save his life”
- how he learned the crossover
Allen is far from perfect, as a player and as a person (who is?), but what you see in this speech is how he managed to hold it all together throughout a chaotic career and life. His reputation is now “solidified” as he says at the end of the speech. I am very happy for AI.