By AJ Gordon Views 18221

When thinking of words to put together to describe Allen “Bubba Chuck” Iverson, it is a challenging feat because there is so much complexity to describing such a legend.  The term legend is thrown around often in the world of sports and entertainment to describe an individual or group of individuals who were transcendent, before their time, and often unknowingly heavily influenced a culture or community.

“It was all a dream” was the historic first line from one of the most critically acclaimed rap song of all time by Christopher “Notorious BIG” Wallace. This was also a song that was played and felt by every kid in the inner city as they dreamed about a better life one day, and exactly how they would celebrate once they made it “out”.  Iverson was the poster child for making it out and he carried the torch for the fusion of the 90’s hip-hop scene with basketball, on all levels.

B.I.G as a rapper was an embodiment of AI as a ball player for he was the living example of staying true to who you are, (on your journey from being “ashy to classy”) and achieving enormous success. Though the journey does not come without obstacles, most everyone can identify with the sometimes secret desire of being authentic to yourself while doing something you love to do as a career and achieving success. This is not to suggest that B.I.G and AI were the first (and only) in popular culture to carry this torch for individuals in their community, but with all things, timing was paramount to both.

AI’s small stature made it easy to root for him. After all, as humans we identify with those who look like us, who experience similar things and we can relate to.  AI definitely influenced most every kid growing up in Hampton Roads ,“the 757”  (as it's affectionately called) to believe in themselves, their ability, and to believe that dreams do indeed come true. They witnessed it before their eyes. 

Not only did AI show them this but he actually TOLD them in person every summer when he returned home for his annual charity events, the Allen Iverson Celebrity Summer Classic. He showed them what was possible if you nurture your talents and love what you do. And above all, NEVER let someone tell you that you can’t do something. He gave them the Answer, literally and figuratively. Legendary.

But it’s deeper than that with Iverson. He has had the same effect on kids in Philadelphia, DC, China, Japan, Spain, Turkey and Indonesia as he has as on the kids back home in 757.  Iverson’s influence has no barriers. The old, young, rich, poor of all cultures can all identify with him in some capacity. Everyone has felt like an underdog, having to search internally for the strength to overcome all obstacles in order to be successful. AI did that better than most his entire life.  He gave you the answer. Legendary.

To quote another bar from Notorious B.I.G- “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it and live the phrase Sky is the Limit”.  I vividly remember Iverson in his rookie season listening to this song over and over again as he danced in the living room of his first condo in Philadelphia. Joking tirelessly with friends but reciting every word to BIG’s song “Sky Is the Limit”. Funny, if you know him personally, you are probably saying you remember him dancing the same way in his room at Georgetown University or on the bus in high school on the way to a game. From age 8, Iverson told everyone he knew that he was going to become a professional athlete one day.  He was the #1 pick in the 1996 NBA draft. The shortest #1 pick in the history of the NBA. “It was all a dream…” Legendary.

Below (in no particular order) are some “keywords” that come to mind when attempting to describe Iverson. Take note as to how many of the words you can use to describe yourself.  You may have more in common with Iverson than you think.

Attitude, Hope (Against all Odds), Imperfect, Human, Artistic, Complex, Gifted, Charitable, Underdog, Witty, Loyal, Tough, Loving, Big heart, Successful, Influential, Swagger, Passionate, Transcendent, Dreamer, Legend ?

To be continued…… it's time to cue up...the next chapter....#FromAIWithLove