Spotlight on Iverson as Sixers to retire his jersey

Allen Iverson, shown in an illustration, will be the eighth 76erplayer in team history to have his jersey retired.    
Allen Iverson, shown in an illustration, will be the eighth 76erplayer in team history to have his jersey retired.     (KERRY LASTER)
Posted: March 02, 2014

The 76ers interrupt this drab season to introduce a high level of excitement with the retirement of Allen Iverson's jersey during halftime of the game against the Washington Wizards at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Entering Friday, the Sixers were 29th out of 30 NBA teams in attendance, averaging 13,456.

Iverson is once again bringing out the fans. The Sixers said that only a limited number of tickets were available.

For a Sixers team that is 15-43 and has lost 12 in a row, an event with such a big-game feel will be a welcome diversion.

Among the former Sixers stars expected to attend are Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Dikembe Mutombo, and Theo Ratliff.

Even the current players are caught up in the hoopla.

"He brought a lot to the game, to the city. He is an icon. Every kid wanted to be like him with the braids, the headband, the sleeve," Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams said. "He definitely brought his own swag to the game and I am glad to be part of history [Saturday]. . . . Witnessing his greatness growing up was a special thing."

Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter, himself an eight-time all-star, spoke glowingly of Iverson last week when his team played the Sixers. Listed as 6-foot and 165-pounds, Iverson, now 38, was known for taking a pounding on the court and never backing down.

"He is one of the greatest to ever do it at his size - fearless," Carter said.

Iverson had two stints with the Sixers, the first lasting more than 10 seasons. He ended his NBA career playing 25 games for the Sixers in 2009-10.

Current Sixers power forward Thaddeus Young is the only player left on the roster who was a teammate.

"He is a legend," Young said. "He was great for me . . . because he sat next to me at my locker and was really helpful."

Iverson won the MVP award in 2000-01, the season he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals, where they lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

During his first 10 seasons with the Sixers, Iverson was selected to the All-Star Game seven times. He was twice the All-Star Game MVP with the Sixers.

As a longtime assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Sixers coach Brett Brown had the unenviable task of attempting to stop Iverson.

"From a skill perspective and toughness and competitive perspective, what a package," Brown said. "He was such a unique athlete, getting it done on the big stage with the body type he had."

The rookie of the year in 1996-97, Iverson finished with 24,368 career points. Iverson was and remains a huge fan favorite, even though his off-court behavior often drew the ire of his coaches.

According to Connor Gregoire, an analyst for, a search engine for tickets, demand has been extremely high for this game.

"In November, the day before the Sixers announced they would be retiring his number, tickets for this game were averaging $86 apiece on the secondary market," Gregoire said. "They are now averaging $163."

Gregoire said some people have paid about $2,000 on the secondary market for courtside seats.


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