Few other players in the history of the NBA can say that he changed the culture of the NBA. Well, Sixers legend Allen Iverson is one of those guys. He took the league by storm the moment he arrived and he almost single-handedly started a revolution in the culture of not only the NBA but basketball in general.

Iverson recently sat down with Shaun Powell of NBA.com to talk about this particular aspect of his persona. One of the most iconic facets of the Sixers star was his trademark cornrows. Many consider Iverson to be the trailblazer that introduced this now-common hairstyle in the NBA. Back then, however, AI's unique self-expression was not exactly well-received:

“People were making a big deal about it, like it was a thug thing, but I was tired of (barbers) messing my hair up on the road. If I could get a cornrow, I wouldn’t have to worry about that.”

It wasn't just the ‘rows that made Iverson stand out. It was actually everything about him — his tattoos, the way he dressed, his lifestyle, and even the way he carried himself on and off the court. As much as the NBA tried to prevent it from happening, Iverson became a role model for the younger generation. Be that as it may, AI remains adamant that this was anything but intentional on his part:

“It wasn’t me trying to create a certain image,” he said. “It was me being me. There was kind of a certain way guys were coming into the league then. Everybody was doing the same thing. Not that it was a bad thing. Everybody was wearing suits and they were following suit because of the guys before them. And my whole thing was, I never wore no suit to the gym, to the courts. I was just wearing stuff to the place I was going after the game, you know what I mean?

“I think a lot of other guys always wanted to do that. I don’t know if it was fear or whatever that they didn’t. When I did it, it wasn’t a big deal to me. Like my tattoos. I would’ve gotten more tattoos before I got into the NBA, but I couldn’t afford ‘em.”

Iverson's reach became so widespread that the league literally tried to do everything they could to quell the storm, so to speak. The NBA enforced a league-wide dress code policy that required all players to come to games wearing suits. They were not having any of Iverson's avant-garde ways.

Fast forward more than two decades later and suddenly, the league was no longer enforcing its stringent dress code rules. The pandemic played a key role in this transition, which in Iverson's mind, is actually a little bit funny.

“Right? You know what I mean? But it’s bittersweet because I took that ass whipping for it,” Iverson said. “They beat me. And I was so young, what, 21 years old? I didn’t understand why people looked at me a certain way because of how I dressed. But obviously, it was so different then because nobody was doing it. I was dressing like the dudes I grew up with.”

Now at 46, Iverson has imbibed a whole new perspective. You can still catch him wearing the same outfits and you can probably use your fingers to count how many times this dude wore a suit. He's still the same guy who lived life with reckless abandon, but of course, the years have made the Sixers icon much wiser.