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On the day that the Villanova Wildcats won the 2016 College Basketball National Championship on the final shot against the University of North Carolina the 2016 Inductees to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame were also named.  Among the inductees are; NBA Referee Darrell Garretson, Legendary College Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, NBA three-time Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal, four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes, the first African American coach in a professional basketball league John McClendon and eleven-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson.  


“To have several icons of the game be recognized in the same year makes this class one of the most memorable to date” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  To be elected, finalists must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Hall of Fame.  “The Class of 2016 is big in stature, personality and impact,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Board of the Hall of Fame.


To see Allen Iverson’s name among the list of inductees in his very first time on the ballot is an accomplishment that can be shared with so many people.  I think of his former teammates from the Aberdeen Raiders Youth Football team and how proud they must be.  At the tender age of 9 years old this was his first time playing organized sports.  The greatest lesson that they all learned was what it meant to build a team and the importance of teamwork.  Any individual accomplishment of a teammate is an accomplishment in the overall success of the team.  The young Raiders became teammates for life. They also obtained a very high degree of self-confidence and believed that all things are possible and nothing is impossible.  So I’m sure that they join the many teams and teammates that Allen Iverson played on in high school, college or professionally who share the accomplishment from his name being included with those to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

I’m sure that his family, friends, fans and supporters all share in this accomplishment as well.  For those who thought that he couldn’t make it and doubted that he would even survive the struggles of life they too can share in the accomplishment.

I now know better.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in God with all thine heart and lean not unto our own understanding.  Unto all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths”.


When I first met Allen and brought him into our program, he was only 8 years old and all he wanted to do was play football.  He didn’t know what would come from the development of a dream that he had as a child.  When he discovered the gift and the opportunity that he had to play professional basketball in the NBA, again all he wanted to do was play basketball.  What started with a dream to play organized football and then basketball has turned into an induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.


Now I know for a fact that the Hall of Fame induction was not a part of the dream that Allen Iverson had to play basketball.  However, I also know that through the strong faith of a praying Great Grandmother named the late Ethel Mitchell, Allen does trust God in every way imaginable.  He doesn’t understand every that happens in life or even why it happens but he learned from her not to ever question God.  


It has been said that Allen did it his way or marched to the beat of his own drum but if I didn’t know then I do know now that it wasn’t all about him (Allen Iverson) but more about God and the direction to the path that would be taken.

Iverson Tribute

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