So you can imagine how AI felt when he first saw his role model. I mean, just imagine seeing your idol for the first time – it’s safe to say none of us would’ve remained lukewarm. Iverson was no exception.
Coming out of Georgetown University, AI was a prodigy. A well-known young prospect ready to make some noise in the NBA. And after being selected first overall by the Sixers, he became a million-dollars prodigy. He hasn’t reached stardom yet, but it’s safe to say he was a recognizable figure in the NBA world.
Nevertheless, Iverson wasn’t immune to getting starstruck the first time he saw MJ. Jordan was more than just a celebrity to him. He was like a mentor that never mentored him. Not yet, however.
Anybody that know Allen Iverson know Black Jesus was it for me. I wanted to be like Mike. I remember the first time seeing him; I couldn’t believe it, man. I ain’t never looked at a person in my life — and I’ve seen millions of celebrities — I never looked at somebody that didn’t look real. Never. Like, the God damn guy was glowing or something, man.Allen Iverson, The Players’ Tribune
This was before Iverson’s second game in the NBA. The Bulls had just picked up their championship rings before the game and were ready to face the Sixers and their rookie guard.
Fired up after receiving their championship jewelry, the Bulls blew out Philly by 29 points. And how did AI do in his first matchup against his idol? He tallied up 15 points on 13 shots in 24 minutes of action. MJ, on the other hand, went 11-for-20 from the floor, putting up 27 points of his own. Jordan had outplayed AI in their first meeting, but Iverson had one of the most famous moments of his career.
And you know what? I bet even AI didn’t care much about it. I mean, the guy did just see his idol for the first time. I can’t think of anything being more important that day.