Two decades later, Iverson’s stepover remains one of the most iconic images of his career. Lue, a journeyman guard who now coaches the Los Angeles Clippers, eventually sought revenge … and his enemy had no interest.
Tyronn Lue challenged Allen Iverson after the famous stepover
Tyronn Lue didn’t want to let Allen Iverson get away with disrespecting him in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
On June 6, 2001, Iverson pulled off a crossover and drilled a jumper over Lue, who fell to the ground. With the Lakers’ guard still on his back, Iverson stepped over him on his way back down the court.
GQ profiled Iverson in 2007, and Lue was among those who spoke about the All-Star guard. The journeyman point guard recalled a conversation he and Iverson had during the 2001-02 season when Lue was in his first season with the Washington Wizards.
“I came right up to him and said, ‘You keep talking that s— about how you’re gonna give me fifty—well, here I am, m—————er.’ And he was like, ‘I don’t even know who you are. Who are you?’ I was like, ‘I’m the same person who won the championship ring last year.'”Tyronn Lue
Because Iverson did not dress in the first 76ers-Wizards game that season, Lue may have been talking about the team’s matchup on November 28, 2001. Iverson scored 40 points and grabbed six rebounds in the 76ers’ 94-87 loss at First Union Center in Philadelphia. Lue, a reserve guard, scored nine points on 12 shots and dished seven assists.
“I’ve got a problem with people who play scared,” Iverson said in the GQ interview. “Tyronn Lue took it as a challenge, like a man.”
Lue had a more productive career than people remember
Although Lue will forever be remembered as the victim of Iverson’s stepover, the journeyman guard had a better career than fans may remember.
The 23rd overall pick in 1998, Lue averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 assists in 554 career games and 173 starts. He added 2.3 points in 21 career playoff games, 15 of which came during the Lakers’ run to an NBA Finals victory in 2001.
He ended his career with two championship rings, both as a member of the Lakers. According to Basketball-Reference, he also earned over $21 million in his career.
Lue retired after the 2008-09 season and joined the Boston Celtics’ front office. He added a third ring to his collection when he won the 2016 NBA Finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach.
The stepover remains an iconic play in both players’ careers
Iverson entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, and Lue had three championship rings to his name as of June 2021. But their legacies are forever intertwined by one simple step.
Neither has escaped the iconic image and clip. Iverson even told the All The Smoke podcast in September 2020 that he isn’t a fan of the play and how often he’s reminded of it.
“[Lue] was giving me so many problems, man, harassing me, just straight dog,” Iverson said. “What’s so crazy is I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t know I did it. You don’t know when you’re gonna do something.”
Well, Iverson did something, and both former players are still living with it two decades later.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.