Allen Iverson had a renowned, 14-season NBA career. But controversy trailed him both on and off the court. The athlete often had a me-first attitude that rubbed teammates the wrong way. This could be one reason he was traded twice and played for four teams while in the NBA.
More recently, “The Answer” tried to prove his loyalty in a story for The Players’ Tribune. The article demonstrates how he may have been a better teammate than he gets credit for.
‘Bro, you can have mine’
The former Georgetown University athlete made more than $150 million in the NBA, so he can buy any car he wants. Back in 1999, Iverson drove a Bentley, which impressed Larry Hughes. The then-rookie told A.I., “I have to get me one of these.” This was all Iverson had to hear because, as he tells the story, he didn’t hesitate to respond, “Bro, you can have mine.”
This seems like the ultimate generous gesture, but Hughes didn’t know that Iverson had more than one Bentley at the time. He also didn’t know the problem that would arise from accepting the gift.
When Iverson asked the rookie about his new ride the next day, Hughes’ response puzzled his teammate. Hughes called Iverson “cold-blooded.” When Iverson asked what he meant, Hughes replied that he thought this was “rookie hazing.” This confused Iverson further.
Hughes explained that he thought there was no gas in the tank on purpose. The evening before, Hughes ran out of fuel outside of Philadelphia. He spent half the night stranded before being rescued. Iverson calls the story an urban legend that keeps growing because Hughes continues to tell it.
The truth, according to Iverson
In Iverson’s version of the story, he writes that he wasn’t “being some angel” who was “giving cars away.” But he also states that he wasn’t on a “veteran power trip” to haze a rookie. A.I. maintains that he never paid attention to the car’s gas level, so he didn’t realize the tank was low. He wrote that even when he was near empty with 15 minutes to get home, he never stopped for gas — and he still made it home every time.
Iverson is not a horrible teammate
Despite his reputation, Iverson wasn’t a terrible teammate. Sure, some players didn’t like him. But some did — perhaps none more so than teammate Aaron McKie. He wrote a Players’ Tribune piece about Iverson, titled My Teammate. In it, he describes finding out he was being traded to the Sixers in 1997. The small forward thought his career was over because he was going to “a losing team … a team with a bunch of knuckleheads.”
McKie didn’t know Iverson yet, but he’d “heard things about him.” He got to know Iverson during his first year in Philly,” and the two became good friends. McKie ended the column — written upon Iverson’s 2016 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame — with a simple message to his former teammate: “It was an honor playing with you.”