It’s undoubtedly one of the greatest moments in basketball history, regardless of what era you want to talk about. From grade school to old-man pick-up games, everyone wanted just one opportunity to do it. Hell, it’s still on my bucket list to this day. I’m talking of course about the signature step over Allen Iverson did to Lakers guard, Tyronn Lue, in game one of the 2001 NBA Finals. It was textbook from the get-go with Iverson flawlessly conducting another ankle-breaking highlight by grabbing the ball in the corner, taking Lue baseline, then proceeding with cutting back by going through the legs and pulling up for the long two. Everything was perfect. From Iverson’s smooth move, to the way Lue fell behind him. Hollywood couldn’t script it any better if they tried and not even the greatest of actors could of played it out any more perfect. After Iverson drained the shot, he turns around to run back on defense and sees Lue lying right in front of him. What else do you do? You give the coldest stare you’ve ever lain on anyone and you go slow motion over them.
The days of insult to injury are pretty much done in the league nowadays, unless you’re willing to pay a fine and get a technical for taunting. But that was vintage A.I. I can’t even fathom him doing anything else. The funny thing is, when Iverson returned to Philly last year and welcomed the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, he was present in the same building as Lue, who was an assistant with the Celtics. In an interview with SLAM Magazine a short time after, Iverson said that him and Lue were actually, “The best of friends.”
“I was just into the game at that point,” Iverson said, setting the scene for the way he recalls his unforgettable crossover, jumpshot, stepover, of Tyronne Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 Finals. “We were battling during that game, me and him. Basically every time we played against each other, he always took a challenge when it came to me and tried to give his team what it needed to help them win. He stepped up to the plate, and I was hyped up at point. Once I hit the shot, he was right there and it was just a reaction. The strangest part about that is, me and him were big-time enemies when we played against each other; now we’re the best of friends.”
It’s hard to believe that, that happened over 12 years ago. If there were to be a player to do that nowadays, who do you think it’d be?