“I want to thank Coach Thompson for saving my life” said Allen Iverson barely keeping it together, giving his Hall of Fame speech. That night we saw how much AI appreciates what basketball gave him. What caught everyone off guard was how emotional Iverson was. His former teammate Derrick Coleman revealed more on emotional AI.
“Man, Allen was a rock star. He was really a rock star. But, a great guy though, you know what I’m sayin’? He’d give you the shirt off his back. He was a great guy.”Derrick Coleman, The Players’ Tribune
As an NBA Rookie of the Year back in 1991, Coleman was a perfect choice to be around Iverson. While supplying the team with his inside presence, averaging steady 18/10 for 1996-97 and 1997-98, he also provided a voice of reason for the 1996-97 NBA Rookie of the Year, Allen Iverson.
After Coleman’s three-year stint with the Charlotte Hornets (1998-2001), 6’10” power forward rejoined the 76ers and reunited the forces with Iverson. AI, by then, became an established star in the league. After another couple of years together in Philly, Coleman was traded to his hometown team, the Detroit Pistons. There, after appearing in only five games, he decided to finish his 15-year pro career.
“I used to tell him all the time ‘Yo, send your homeboys home, man. Because they’re going to get you in trouble and blame you. They’re driving your car – who’s name is registered to? Allen Iverson.‘ And when they pull out Allen Iverson, you know, they got guns in a car, they got weed, whatever, he ain’t nowhere to be found. It just took him a while to understand that.”Derrick Coleman, The Players’ Tribune
Even though they split basketball ways in Philly back in August 2004, the special bond was established. After more than a decade and a half, it was this spring that the two had finally reunited their ways in Coleman’s hometown – Detroit. Their reunion proved to be quite emotional, with tears in Iverson’s eyes. The very eyes, which, like Coleman’s, had seen it all over the years.
“As soon as he saw me, he started crying. We had some drinks, and I’m like ‘Mo***rf****r what you’re crying for? I’ve seen you in a minute.‘ He said, ‘I get emotional when I come around you.‘ We’re talking real love. So, we’re standing, and I called Coach Brown. I put AI on the phone with him. Man, he started crying again. He was crying all over again.”Derrick Coleman, The Players’ Tribune
From this point in time, it’s pretty sure that Iverson had greatly benefited from being surrounded by quality teammates and coaches throughout his celebrated NBA career in all of his teams. Like Derrick Coleman and Larry Brown, those good men, knowing about Iverson’s troublesome background, always kept an eye on him, never letting him slip away from their mutual path.