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76′ers Honor Allen Iverson With Jersey Retirement

Allen Iverson Jersey Retirement

By Ben Golliver of SportsIllustrated – The Sixers honored 11-time All-Star guard Allen Iverson by retiring his No. 3 jersey during a ceremony at halftime of a game against the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

“You have to show me the fool that says dreams don’t come true,” Iverson said. “Because they do. I love you, Philadelphia. I love y’all for accepting me and letting me be me. Letting me make my mistakes, letting me be human, let me learn from them. Just embracing me and making this my home forever.”

Wearing a black jacket, black pants, black glasses, a black hat and gold chains, Iverson addressed the crowd at center court in front of a line of his old jerseys. He was welcomed by the Philadelphia crowd with “M-V-P” chants.

“And now it’s time to party,” Iverson said, concluding his speech.

The ceremony culminated with a red banner bearing Iverson’s name, the Sixers name and logo and the No. 3 in white being raised to the rafters. Tina Turner’s “Simply The Best” played as the banner proceeded upwards.

The Associated Press reports that the Sixers went all out for the ceremony.

The Sixers may as well have turned the arena into an AI museum. Four banners greeted fans at the main concourse entrance, and photos of him were plastered all around the arena. The merchandise stands sold Iverson jerseys for $130, and lower level tickets were going for as much for $1,280 on Stubhub about an hour before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

The Sixers wore special ”Iverson Forever” patches on their jerseys and Iverson’s 3 on their pre-game warmup shirts.

”It’s a great example of how this city responds to somebody that they clearly think the world of and brought such exciting times to the city of Philadelphia,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance for the ceremony.

”Allen was a special player,” Silver said, according to the AP. ”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.”

The Sixers announced back in November that Iverson would have his jersey retired. The honor was only a matter of time, as he served as the face of the franchise that he carried to the 2001 Finals. Philadelphia selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft and he spent the first 10-plus years of his career in the City of Brotherly Love. After stops with the Nuggets, Pistons and Grizzlies, Iverson then took a brief homecoming victory lap with the Sixers in 2009-10. The Sixers have previously honored Iverson with his own bobblehead night and they played host in October when Iverson formally announced his retirement from basketball.

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