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Allen Iverson .

Happy Birthday Allen Iverson - Here are his top five NBA moments

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Allen Iverson was deservedly enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame class of 2016 earlier this year after an unbelievable career in the NBA.

The former point guard made a name for himself with the Philadelphia 76ers after spending 10 seasons with the franchise that drafted him in 1996. After going down as one of the best players in 76ers history, the team duly retired his number three jersey.

A.I. transcended the game both on and off the court and introduced a culture into the league that still exists today having influenced a generation of players.

He was the star of the 2000s with his iconic tattoos and cornrows and was idolised by many of the current players in the league today.

The Answer gave us many memorable moments throughout his playing days and after turning 41 today, there isn't a better way to wish him a happy birthday than by looking back over the five best moments of his career.

52 points against the Toronto Raptors

With the Eastern Conference semi-finals series tied at 2-2 between the 76ers and Raptors, Iverson exploded for 52 points, along with seven assists and four steals, to put his team 3-2 up after an epic battle with Vince Carter.

It was already a special night for the Sixers guard as he was presented with the 2001 MVP trophy before the game and he confirmed his greatness by putting on a clinic in front of his adoring fans.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson (R) blasts

This was also his second 50-point performance in the series having dropped 54 in game two, joining Michael Jordan as the only player to score 50 points twice in a playoff series.

The accomplishment was made even sweeter by the fact that Toronto's Charles Oakley said Iverson wouldn't score 50 points again in the series. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain are the only other players to put up 50 points more than once in the playoffs.

2001 MVP

As mentioned above, the 11-time All-Star was named as the MVP in 2001, becoming the first Sixer to scoop the award since Moses Malone in the 1982-1983 season.

He averaged 31 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals in that term, which were remarkable for a man that stood barely six feet. He was a deserving recipient of the award and proved it by continuing his impressive play into the postseason by guiding Philly to the NBA Finals, more on that to come.

Allen Iverson Accepting MVP With Mother

Under the guidance of head coach Larry Brown, Iverson led the 76ers to a 56-26 record and was a monster on the offensive end.

Michael Jordan crossover

There are a number of ways to introduce yourself in the NBA, but Allen Iverson probably chose the best of them all. Throughout his career, he took a fearless approach onto the court and he displayed this as a 21-year-old as he went toe-to-toe with the G.O.A.T.

In his rookie season in 1996-97, a young, short and brash point guard produced a mean corssover on Michael Jordan and nailed an 18-foot jumper when Philly took on the Chicago Bulls.

It was the moment the league stood up and took notice and it signalled the beginning of a new era in the NBA. A.I. went on to average 23.5 ppg in his rookie campaign, but this bucket meant more than any other.

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan (R) reacts as Philade

It is still one of the most iconic moments in the game's history as he made the greatest player of all-time look vulnerable. It was the emergence of a special talent.

"Practice"

For all the magic he created on the hardwood, one moment he'll be remembered for for as long as he lives involves arguably the best interview ever conducted in sports.

After being bounced in the first round of playoffs in the 2001/02 season, Sixers coach Brown criticised Iverson for missing team practices. His response in that press conference on May 7, 2002 will never be forgotten.

"We're sitting here, I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice," he said.

Philadelphia 76ers Allen Iverson addresses reporte

“We talkin’ bout practice, not a game, we talkin’ bout practice, how silly is that? … How in the hell am I supposed to make my teammates better by practicing?”

The rant included the word "practice" about 15 times and is still referred to today and will always be associated to Iverson.

Tyronn Lue step over

So as promised, it's time to refer back to the 2001 NBA Finals between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. The four-time scoring champion already picked up the MVP award in this campaign and came into the Finals in scintillating form, which the Lakers would find out from the off.

Going up against a dominant Lakers team that featured the deadly duo Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the Sixers were massive underdogs but Iverson wasn't having any of that.

Philadelphia 76ers Allen Iverson (3) jumps to scor

The men from the City of Brotherly love stunned the basketball world by taking game one at the Staples Center in a 107-101 overtime victory in which their superstar balled out.

He recorded 48 points, five rebounds, six assists, and five steals in the win. His highlight play saw him produce his traditional crossover and drain a step-back jumper over Tyronn Lue.

To add insult to injury, Iverson stepped over Lue and stared him down on his way back down the court to create yet another classic moment to add to the Hall of Famer's endless list.

This was in L.A. and in the Finals which gave the Philadelphia faithful hope that they could win the championship. That wasn't to happen, however, as Shaq and Kobe led the Purple and Gold to the title winning the next four games.

NBA Finals X Iverson

In the world of basketball, Allen Iverson will always be revered. He inspired many of the players who entertain us on the floor today. The NBA is what it is today because of him.

Happy Birthday, A.I.

Topics:
NBA
Western Conference
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division
Kobe Bryant
LA Lakers
Pacific Division

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