Allen Iverson’s Hall of Fame (HOF) Enshrinement Speech Transcript
Allen Iverson delivers his speech when being inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 9, 2016. Read the transcript of the speech here.
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Ahmad Rashad: (00:01)
Welcoming Allen to the Hall of Fame are Larry Brown, Julius Irving and John Thompson. Ladies and gentlemen, Allen Iverson.
Allen Iverson: (00:09)
Man, wow. I love you all too. Wow. First, I just want to thank God for loving me and blessing me. I thank him for blessing me to be the man that I am and have no regrets on being the guy that I am and the person that my family love, and my friends love, my teammates love, my fans love.
Allen Iverson: (01:29)
I want to thank Mr. Colangelo and the Hall of Fame for honoring me in such a great way. It’s truly a blessing and I’m humbled by it. I want to thank Coach Thompson for saving my life, for giving me the opportunity. I was recruited by every school in the country for football and basketball. And an incident happened in high school and all that was taken away. No other teams, no other schools would recruit me anymore. My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance and he did. And that’s crazy to think that you’re the best football player in the world, which I did, and to be sitting up here as a Hall of Famer in basketball, you tell me God ain’t good.
Allen Iverson: (03:23)
After I left Georgetown, I was an all right basketball player. I had talent. But once I started to listen to Larry Brown and take constructive criticism, I learned how much of a great, great, great coach that he is. Once I started to listen to him the way I was supposed to and was coached by him, that’s when I became an MVP. That’s when I became an All Star. That’s when I made First Team All NBA, once I got the message from him and I followed his lead all the way. Man, Dr. J. Those shoes. Some big shoes, literally. But I got to Philadelphia and, man, those were some big shoes to fill with a size 10 foot. And he was always supportive of me throughout my career. Always gave me words of wisdom. Just a great, great man. Handsome old school dude too.
Allen Iverson: (05:39)
I remember coming home from school one day and my beautiful mom said, “You’re going to basketball practice.” I said, “I ain’t going to no basketball. Basketball is soft. Do you know what I mean? I play football. I’m a football player.” She said, “Well, you’re going.” And I remember I cried and I screamed and kicked and clawed and had to be dragged to practice. I got to practice and I saw all the guys that played on my football team there. So from that point, I played basketball. So I have my mom to thank for that. My dad, man. This is what you created, Daddy. This what you made. And I’m so proud of you for being that person that I looked up to and being a dad to take care of his kids, showing me the way, showing me about taking care of family. And when you passed that torch to me, I was gracious to take it and run with it. And I appreciate you and I love you, man.
Allen Iverson: (07:09)
My aunt, greatest aunt in the world, hands down. I love you so much. You’re a perfect aunt. And my uncles, Steve and Greg, I really look up to you all, man. And you mean so much to me and taught me a lot. Steve, you taught me so much about family. I know Nana is up there looking down on me and I just hope she proud of me. Man, my babies. My oldest, Tiaura, Honey Booboo, AKA Daddy Send Me Some Money. My son, Allen Iverson II, Deuce, I love you and I’m proud of you. Isaiah Iverson, man. The man is so smart we call him The Professor. I need him around the house. When something needs to be done or fixed, his mom would say, “Go ask Isaiah. He’ll show you how to do it.” And you smart, man, and I’m proud of you. And follow your dreams and keep doing what you’re doing, man. I’m proud of you. Messiah…
Audience Member: (08:54)
We love you, AI.
Allen Iverson: (09:03)
… Messiah, AKA [Boo Hoo Boobie Boo 00:09:11], I love you. You’re so great. I’m so proud of you. I love you so much and you make me so happy. Dream, hi. How you doing? Fine?
Allen Iverson: (09:34)
Okay. [Yubbie Yub 00:09:39], I love her so much. Ever since she was born, she got to sleep with daddy. Got her own room and her own bed, but got to sleep with daddy. But I thank y’all for being my crutch in my career. When I had hard losses, didn’t play well, the media treating me like they did throughout my career, I always came home and forgot about all of that once I saw y’all. Thanks for being my crutch and I love y’all so much.
Allen Iverson: (10:25)
I have to thank this man, because without his vision, I promise you, there wouldn’t be no Hall of Fame Allen Iverson standing at this podium if it wasn’t for this guy. He gave me the vision, man. And you want to be fast like Isaiah and you want to shoot like Bird. Rebound like Barkley. Pass like Magic. Be dominant like Shaq. But man, I wanted to be like, Mike.
Allen Iverson: (11:09)
I remember the first time I played against him and I walked out on the court and I looked at him and for the first time in my life, a human being didn’t look real to me. I don’t know if y’all watched The Chappelle Show, but he talk about a certain incident where he seen somebody seeing Rick James. And I literally seen his aura. It looked like he was gone and I’m sitting there and I’m saying to myself, like, “Man, that’s Mike.” And I’m looking at him. I can’t stop looking at him. I’m looking at his shoes and I’m like, “Man, he got on the Jordans.” I mean, it was Mike. He was my idol. He was my hero.
Allen Iverson: (12:07)
And I remember just hating the Knicks so much and the Bad Boys were beating them up the way they did. I used to watch him and sit on my mom’s dresser. And she used to tell me, “Boy, if you don’t get back from that TV before you go blind, you better.” I wanted to be that close to him just watching him. Man.
Allen Iverson: (12:33)
My sister, Brandy. I love you. You’re the greatest. I love you for all the times daddy gave you a hundred dollars and you would give me 95 of it. I love you and I thank you for everything you did for your big brother. I appreciate you. I love you. For those that’s no longer here with me, smiling down on me, my Nana, [Raw 00:13:07], [Troop 00:13:08], Jim, Uncle Ronald, [Teresa 00:13:10], [Huddy Combs 00:13:12], Anthony Wolf Jones, I hope you’re proud of me. My friends, X, Thriller. I love you guys. My man, [Cai 00:13:33] and [Tejuan 00:13:36], I love y’all man. [Dobby 00:13:38], [Gerard 00:13:39], [Damon 00:13:40], [Day Day 00:13:40], Larry, [Jug Head 00:13:45]. What’s up, Jug?
Allen Iverson: (13:53)
LeBron and his family. Rich Math, Randy, Chris Paul and his family, Mani Williams and his family. [Stanky Wanky 00:14:02] out there. Man. [Abe 00:14:07], Kelly Rogers, [Molly G Stum 00:14:08], [Man Thompson 00:14:08], we’re going to do a lot of laughing tonight, Jack. Big bro Kev in Philly. My main man, Reggie. Love you. 10-4. Leon Rose, Super Agent. I call him [Arlis 00:14:25].
Allen Iverson: (14:28)
Gary Moore, man. Where can I begin? Start from eight years old. I love you bro. And I thank you for the guidance throughout my career and all the help that you’ve done. Thank you for when I’d get in trouble in school for coming to make sure I got detention instead of getting suspended. For teaching me in sports. If it’s me or you, it’s me. I love you, man. I can’t thank you enough.
Allen Iverson: (15:16)
Boo Williams, man. We won nationals 17 years old. Damn, I’m still waiting on the shoes that you promised us and our ring. Maybe I’ll get it one day. [Wanda Arrell 00:15:35], thank you for everything. Peewee, hold your head. Be strong. Bobby Mays. Mace, Cam’ron, Jim Jones, [Fab 00:15:47].
Allen Iverson: (15:49)
I want to thank Biggie Smalls, Red Man, Jadakiss, Tupac and Michael Jackson for being my theme music throughout my career.
Allen Iverson: (16:14)
Not too much longer. Aberdeen Raiders. I became a true athlete playing for those guys. Bethel High School. Mike Bailey. Mike Bailey was the first to teach me how to play basketball. My high school coach. I love you. I love your family. Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. Tony Rutland, my partner in crime in high school. My teammates that I played with in school. Man, my Georgetown family. Y’all know the great center’s already, but I love those guys. [Kim Day 00:17:06], Patrick, Lonzo. tough act to follow buddy.
Allen Iverson: (17:17)
I love Ms. Michael so much. Ms. Finley, if you’re watching right now, I love y’all. [Boubacar 00:17:25], Al, George Butler, Irvin Church, Ya Ya, Brendan Gone, Otezla Harrington, John [Jocks 00:17:32], Kevin Melon, Eric Miles, Jerry Nichols, James Reed, Don Reed, Jihadi White. Love you bro. Jerome Williams, I love you bro for everything you’ve done for me. Damon Jackson, [Guy Winewenjie 00:17:45], Victor Page, James Reed, Joe [Tuamo 00:17:50] and Dean Berry. Maybe I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for Dean Berry teaching me the crossover. A walk on. Man …
Allen Iverson: (18:03)
A walk on. The man didn’t even have his name on the back of his jersey. But at practices, he used to hit me with it so much that I just put my pride aside and said, “Okay, you’ve got to teach me that move.” And I stayed after practice with him every day to learn that move. And all these years later, Allen Iverson is known for the crossover. I have to thank Reebok. Man, I’ve got to think Reebok. A lifetime contract? Woo, man! Paul Fireman, Tom Shine, Todd Cranston, [Bili 00:18:59], Que Gaskins, man, my man, my friend. The NBA, the NBAPA, David Stern, Adam Silver, Billy Hunter, Chrysa Chin, oh my God, I love you so much. Thanks for all the support. Leah Wilcox, Pat Croce.
Allen Iverson: (19:40)
The only thing that I can say when I think about him is love and belief. He believed in me. He believed that I could be that guy to carry a franchise on my shoulders. It was hard. I had my ups and downs, but, obviously, I pulled it off. I love you, Pat. Billy King, Al Lumpkin. Love you, Lump. Jim, Laura, Mike Creston, Lenny, Marc Zumoff, the best commentator, the world’s best commentator hands down. I’m making that a point. I want to see him on the big networks doing it too. Scott Rigo, Dr. McPhilemy for keeping me healthy, well, almost, throughout my career. [Karen Francone 00:20:46], I love you. Kevin, Mike Goings, I love y’all. To the media, the love/hate relationship that made me stronger, I want to thank Phil Jasner. I know he’s looking down at me. We went through our wars, but I love you and I know you respected me as a man.
Allen Iverson: (21:11)
Stephen A. Smith, my brother. He was there with me throughout it all and you’re always going to be my big brother. I’ll always love you, bro. You don’t suppose to not talk about when I do make mistakes. That’s your job, even though I am your little brother, but you always kept it 1,000 with me. You always was honest and told it like I needed to hear it, and I love and respect you for that. Thank you, [D. Linem 00:21:59]. The fans, the fans worldwide in China, I love my fans in China. They love me so much and I love them for respecting my grind. And I go to China every year and I’ll continue to for the rest of my life. Philly fans…
Speaker 1: (22:32)
MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP!
Allen Iverson: (22:57)
Philly fans, the only relationship that I feel a player has with a group of fans is probably Michael Jordan and his fans in Chicago. But my relationship with the fans in Philadelphia is like no other. Thank you and thank you all for the support over the years. Y’all let me grow. Y’all let me make my mistakes. Never jumped off the bandwagon, continued to support me like true fans are supposed to. 76er teammates, Doug Overton, I love you. Clarence Witherspoon, Lucius Harris, Matt Geiger, Roger Bell, Dikembe, George Lynch, I love you. Todd McCullough, Kevin Ollie, turned out to be a great coach. Why do point guards always ended up being coaches? They’re just used to telling everybody what to do. Nazr Mohammed, Jerry Stackhouse, Derek Coleman, love you. Mark Davis, Don McLean, [Sam Delenber 00:24:21], Jermaine Jones, Tyrone Hill, Vernon Maxwell, my protector when he played for us. You know he was always willing to fight. Theo Ratliff. Larry Hughes, I love you, my brother. Aaron McKee, Eric Snow.
Allen Iverson: (24:50)
My brothers, man. Definitely my brothers from another mother. I’m so proud of the men that they turned out to be, the fathers that they are, the family men that they are. I have a lot of respect for y’all and I appreciate you, definitely. The Denver Nuggets, the fans, George Karl, Stan Kroenke, Josh Kroenke, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, Chucky Atkins, Melo, I love you. JR Smith, DJ, Gerd, Rex Chapman, Steve Hess. My competition, man. I remember my first game that a man literally destroyed me and I hadn’t been killed like that before in my career, in my lifetime, basically. And I remember Mo Cheeks telling me after the game, I sat in the locker room and I was crying, and Mo Cheeks said, “Don’t worry about it, AI. One day you’ll get somebody 36, 9, and 9.”
Allen Iverson: (26:05)
And I can remember, I love Lou Williams, and I always think about one day at practice I scored 10 in a row on him and Lou was about to cry, and Mo Cheeks said, “Man, hold your head up. Don’t cry. He do that to everybody.” Man, I can’t leave without bringing up Shaq. I love him so much as a person. Obviously, the most dominant big man we’ve ever seen ever. Man, Kobe, true competitor. I know that he’s retired now, he’s going to go on and do even greater things. He’s a great man and I love him and I respect them.
Allen Iverson: (27:03)
He’s a great man and I love him and I respect him, but he brought everything out of me on the basketball court, and I appreciate him for that. So Ronn Lou, I remember after that series, he went to Washington and got paid, so somebody was at the free throw line and I said, “Look, man, if you don’t stop fouling me like that we’re going to be fighting out here.” And he was, “Whatever, whatever.” And I said, “Only reason you got that little five million a year is from running around after me.” And the man looked at me and said what I would have said, “Thank you.” And we’ve been like this ever since. The ones that stuck by me throughout my journey, I love y’all and I love the fact that now y’all can walk around and stick your chest out and say y’all Hall of Famers.
Allen Iverson: (28:12)
And all the barbershop talk that my family and all the arguments my friends have with people in the barbershop, in the hair salon, now you can say, “Well, look, my man is solidified.” You know what I mean? And they’ll come back with, “Well, my man will be a Hall of Famer one day.” Well, we’ll have that conversation then when he gets enshrined. And I’m going to try to get through this part right here, I know it’s going to be difficult for me and I’m going to end on this note, because it’s one of those last but not least thing. My number one person in the world, hands down, Tawanna Iverson. 24 years, ups, downs, real love. I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. Not just my career, yeah, obviously, you enabled me to go to work and you took care of home, but for loving me the way you do and caring about what type of person I am and what type of person that I need to be the said example for our babies.
Allen Iverson: (30:08)
You’re just the best of me. I love you so much. I’m looking forward to spending two more decades with you. And I want you to be proud of yourself and I want you to walk around and understand that you are a Hall of Famer. I just want to say, thank y’all, and for all the people, every one of you that supported me throughout this tough journey, I really love y’all for that, because you didn’t happen to support me. And for all of the men and women that advised me on certain things and helped me, I love y’all. And I want to thank the guys that are not my friends anymore. I’m glad that you blew your cover for me to recognize that you wasn’t any good to my family or me. And I appreciate y’all for that. So if I make any more new friends, I know the signs. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (31:36)
MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP!