Former NBA player Theo Ratliff recently appeared on the HoopsHype Podcast and spoke about his time playing with Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson. The shot blocking specialist, who became teammates with Iverson on the Sixers for nearly four seasons, admitted he still couldn’t believe how the former league MVP’s competitive fire pushed him to play through tough injuries at some point in his career.
The 6-foot-10 center also spoke highly of Iverson’s leadership and how he made his teammates, including Ratliff, better. Ratliff enjoyed the best year of his career in the 2000-01 season, where he became an All-Star.
However, Ratliff suffered a season-ending injury just prior to the All-Star game. With their defensive anchor done for the year, the Sixers had no choice but to trade him in a package for another shot-blocking specialist in Dikembe Mutombo.
Philadelphia, led by Iverson, who won league MVP that season, secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 56-26 record. They made it all the way to the NBA Finals and faced the juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers, which entered the Finals with no losses so far in the playoffs.
However, Iverson and the Sixers spoiled what could have been a perfect 2001 postseason for the defending champs by pulling off a Game 1 upset at Staples Center. The Lakers eventually won the next four games and their second straight title, but no one can discount Philadelphia’s special run that season.