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Allen Iverson says he took the ‘a– whooping’ so players can be real

Allen-Iverson

During his storied NBA tenure, former Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson became a polemical figure in the professional league due to the way he dressed and even styled his hair. His demeanor turned off more conservative viewers and officials in the NBA, and in an interview published on Friday, the Hall of Famer said he took an “a– whooping,” trailblazing the way for players coming in after him.

Per The Players Tribune via Uproxx:

“I took the ass whooping for guys to be who they really are,” Iverson said. “I’ve made a billion mistakes. I’ve done things right a billion times. I’m human, and that’s that. I don’t read no comments. I got too much to live for, too much love around me.”

Allen Iverson was the first overall pick out of Georgetown in the legendary 1996 draft class. He won the Rookie of the Year and later became the league’s MVP in 2000-01. The diminutive floor general was a scoring champion and led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals, losing in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the latter’s second of three-straight titles to start off the millennium.

Despite making mistakes, as Iverson confesses, he has been lampooned and lambasted by his detractors, only for players entering the league after him to be who they want to be.

Iverson had strong critics while he was playing for thirteen seasons, retiring in 2010. Due to his rocky history before he entered the league with run-ins with the law, the way he talked and dressed, the Hampton, Virginia, product always had a target on his back.