Thursday, March 20, 2008

Weclome Home AI

No matter how much I try and fight it- and I do fight it- my favorite Philadelphia player ever is the guard from Georgetown: Allen Iverson.

I know, I know… but what can I say? The guy tried and defined fun to watch. It didn’t end great- but I forgive him. So does John Smallwood- and his article in today’s Philadelphia Daily News makes me glad. It should be good between Sixers fans and AI. My fave parts below:
Iverson was born into the National Basketball Association as a Sixer, and if nothing else was made clear during his emotional homecoming last night it is that he is a Sixer for life.

I know it. You know it. And after last night's emotion-packed event, Iverson knows it.


Earlier, when Iverson had walked out on the court for pregame warmups, the first thing he had done was go to center court and kiss the Sixers logo. But this was different.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome back from Georgetown University, at guard, No. 3, Al-len I-ver-son!!!!" Cord said.

They didn't need the cue; the ovation for Iverson had begun before the boos for Karl subsided.

Iverson, who for a decade had thrilled the same fans with his dynamic play as a Sixer, blew a kiss to one half of the arena and then turned and blew a kiss to the other half.

Then the former Sixers captain, the one who had taken the franchise to six playoff appearances and a trip to the 2001 NBA Finals, gave a captain's salute.

Iverson then three times pounded the huge heart that had captivated this city and followed it by raising his arm to the air. And as the ovation grew louder, the player who was arguably the greatest showman in Philadelphia sports history applied the coup de grace.

He jogged to the left sideline of the court and cupped his left hand to his ear - the trademark expression for his joy of playing basketball for this city, these fans.

The Wachovia Center erupted.....


"Philadelphia fans are the best in the sense that they care about their team," Iverson said. "They are diehard fans here. At times it was, 'I love you, A.I.,' but then it was, "We gonna whup your ass.'

"Yes, I respect you, and I love what you did, but I'm still Philly all the way. You've got to respect them for that. You've got to love them for that.

"I know the Philly fans, and they are damn near better than anybody."

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