Allen Iverson thanked a lot of people in his Hall Of Fame speech on Friday night. There’s a good chance if you name 10 people that pop in your head when you think of Allen Iverson, all 10 were given a “thank you” or “I love you” shout-out from AI: He thanked every member on his family tree; He thanked teammates and coaches from his childhood to the Nuggets (no Pistons or Grizzlies); He thanked legends that came before him like Dr. J (big shoes to fill); He thanked his fellow class of Hall of Fame members and the competitors (like Kobe) who pushed him to get here; He thanked the media (especially Stephen A. Smith); He thanked Michael Jackson and rappers Biggie, 2pac, Jadakiss and Redman for being his theme music (every hero needs his own theme music – Jack Spade); He thanked so many people with nicknames it started to sound like a Key & Peele or Dave Chappelle sketch and he actually brought up the Dave Chapelle show to talk about the first time seeing Michael Jordan on an NBA court.
“Man, I wanted to be like Mike. I remember the first time I played against him. I walked out on the court and I looked at him. And, for the first time in my life, a human being didn’t really look real to me. You know what I mean? I don’t know if you all watch the Chappelle Show, but he talked about in a certain incident where somebody’s seeing Rick James. Like I literally seen his aura. It looked like he was glowing. I’m sitting there and I’m saying, ‘Man, that’s Michael. And I’m looking at him. I can’t stop looking at him. I’m looking at his shoes and I’m like, man, he’s got on the Jordans! It was my Mike. It was my idol, my hero.”
He thanked the fans and when he was done thanking everybody he’s ever crossed paths with or crossed up on a court, he thanked “the guys that are not his friends anymore.”
If you haven’t seen the speech yet, then pull out a tissue and take a shot (or do 10 push-ups) everytime he says, “I love you” and enjoy watching Iverson — in a suit without a cap or any gold necklaces — enter the Hall of Fame the way you would expect a player who did everything his way, enter the shrine of greatness.