“Outside the Nation is where we discuss what is going on outside the Lakers. Discuss what is happening with the biggest league in the best sport in the world.”
As Allen Iverson kissed the floor, you can sense he was back home. He never looked right wearing that Nuggets jersey, nor the Pistons jersey and definitely not the Grizzlies jersey. Iverson is Philadelphia.
Iverson to Philadelphia is MJ to the city of Chicago, Reggie to Indiana and Kobe to the Lakers. Forget his ‘Practice’ speech; forget his off court antics for a second and concentrate on what he did to the city of Philadelphia. He led that team to the 2001 NBA finals, probably the weakest NBA Finals team ever, while defeating the mighty Lakers in game 1 and giving them their only loss of those playoffs.
As Iverson was shooting around to get ready for Denver, the smile on his face never left. The fans walked in one after another looking for the newest 76er, and no one could believe their eyes. Signs to welcome back Iverson were everywhere, #3 jerseys could be spotted in nearly every seat and camera flashes were flying all over the place. The city of Philadelphia had got its hero and its saviour back. Not only fans, but celebrities alike were there to witness the comeback of the The Answer. Donavan McNabb and some of his Eagles were there to witness history. So were reporters from Asia and Europe.
Iverson’s comeback had 20,664 fans standing up in their seats; waiting for his first shot or for the first time he touched the ball. Before this game, Philadelphia’s averaged 11,965 fans per game but that will surely change with Iverson in the mix. Season tickets are being sold out fast once again; there is a buzz back in the city. They now know they have someone out there that will leave everything out on the floor. Sweat, blood and tears.
From the opening tip, you can see things were back to the way they were, as it took Iverson exactly 13 seconds to take his first shot – which was a wide open lay up that was missed. If he had hit that layup, the roof of the Wachovia Center would sure have come off, as fans were cheering and yelling as soon as their hero touched the ball in the opening possession. A couple of plays later, Iverson jumped for a loose ball into the camera men. Although he was very hesitant to shoot and did not have the quickness he once had (that could be related to either him having not played much basketball in awhile or his 34 year old body), Iverson made a difference out there. As Samuel Dalembert missed a layup early in the game, Iverson grabbed the offensive rebound and scored in one motion for his first points in his second 76ers career. The fans erupted, and high fives were flying everywhere.
Although Philadelphia came up short in this game, you know that it’s a different team. A team that will probably make the playoffs and a team that has a new leader. “I just felt like I was back home,” Iverson said. “It was déjà vu. Just a real good feeling. The fans made it hard on me because they made me more nervous than I already was.”
Home is where you belong Iverson and you should have never been traded in the first place. This is your team and your city. Iverson is and will always be Philadelphia.