Retired NBA player Allen Iverson took to the court Saturday to bid farewell to fans, friends and colleagues as the Philadelphia 76ers held a ceremony to retire his No. 3, ESPN reports.
He reportedly cupped his hand to his left ear in a request to hear his favorite tune for the last time. And on cue, an estimated 20,000 cheering Philadelphia 76ers gave the player the standing ovation he earned by becoming one of the team’s “all-time greats.”
His banner will be wedged between Maurice Cheeks’ No. 10 and Charles Barkley’s No. 34 at the Wells Fargo Center court.
“They all wanted me to talk about how much y’all loved me,” Iverson said, according to ESPN, “but trust me, the feeling was mutual.”
He retired in October after playing his last game in 2010. He helped the Sixers win four scoring titles and was the 2001 MVP when he led them to the team to the NBA Finals. While he never won a championship, it will likely be the single omission in a career destined for the Hall of Fame.
“I am Philly,” Iverson said, according to ESPN. “It’s always going to be that way.”
Iverson, who mixed hoops and hip-hop on the court like no other before him, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft and spent his first 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He also played for Denver, Detroit and Memphis before returning to the Sixers in 2009-2010 for a 25-game stint, ESPN writes.
“Allen was a special player,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the game, according to ESPN. “The great things he did for the league far outweigh the occasional headache. I always thought even at the time of Allen Iverson’s prominence in the league, he was representative of his generation.”