February 12, 2016
Allen Iverson, who spent 12 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and last played professionally in 2011, has been named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
The first-overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Georgetown product was named Rookie of the Year for the Sixers, went on to win MVP honors in 2001 and was named an all-star 11 times, twice being named the game’s MVP. With 26.7 points per game, Iverson ranks seventh in NBA history in scoring average and 23rd in total points (24,368). He is also 12th all time in steals (1,983) and made free throws (6,375) and ranks 43rd in assists.
Last month, ESPN ranked Iverson as the 46th best player of all time, which many — including our own Rich Hofmann — thought was too low for one of the toughest and most exciting players to watch of all time.
The Answer only made it to the NBA Finals once in his career. That was in 2001, when the Sixers lost to an unstoppable Lakers team that featured Kobe Bryant and another 2016 HOF finalist, Shaquille O’Neal.
Other finalists include Yao Ming, who could also be voted in by the International Committee, and a slew of college coaches, including Chester native Bo Ryan, whose Wisconsin team lost to Duke in the National Championship last year. Tom Izzo, Eddie Sutton, Lefty Driesell, and Muffet McGraw are some of the other coaches up for induction.
Originally, Iverson was not expected to be eligible until next year, but a recent rule change made him, along with O’Neal, eligible for the 2016 class. The full class will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in April.