Allen Iverson held a press conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday hours prior to his official retirement event during the Philadelphia 76ers' home opener Wednesday night and reflected on his 14-year NBA career with media. During his speech he thanked Michael Jordan for providing him a dream to follow and had no regrets for staying true to himself despite taking a "beating" for it.
"I have to thank Michael Jordan for just giving me a vision. Without that vision I don't think it would have been possible. He made me want to play basketball. He basically showed me the way. He gave me that path that I wanted to walk on," he said of Jordan's impact on his life.
Iverson's impact on the court as a six-foot 165 lb. point guard who relentlessly attacked the rim is without question, but he also acknowledged his cultural impact. "I took an ass kicking for me being me through my career. For looking the way I look and dressing the way I dress. You look around and you see all the guys in the NBA and all of them have tattoos. All of them have corn rows."
"I took a beating for those type of things and I'm proud to be able to say I changed a lot in this culture and in this game. It's not about how you look on the outside."
Something else he took a beating on? The infamous"practice" incident. Iverson shed light on the event, stating the conference was being held to discuss the fact that the 76ers were not trading him and he was dealing with a personal tragedy that occurred earlier in the day and was upset when the subject turned to practice instead of the matter at hand.
"I thought that once this day came it would be basically a tragic day. I never imagined the day coming but I knew it would come," Iverson said. "I'm happy with my decision and I feel great. I'm in a great mindset."