Street slang can land you in much trouble if the other person you are referring to doesn't know what you are talking about or what you actually meant to say. That can lead to some ugly situations, and one almost occurred when former actor and martial arts master Michael Jai White first met NBA legend, Allen Iverson. If you have watched some of his older action movies, you know White is not someone you want to mess around with, especially with all his fighting mastery, but luckily he has a pretty peaceful demeanor and is generally a calm personality.
As we all know, Iverson was totally different and carried his heart on his sleeve, expressing himself in all kinds of ways, especially on the basketball court and off the court, and establishing himself as an unapologetic culture icon. With Iverson, you got what you saw, and he never wanted to present himself differently because he always remained true to his character.
When it comes to his interaction with White, Iverson approached him all hyped up and wanted to express respect but said, "I f**k with you, which didn't sit well with White at first because he didn't know what it meant. Actually, he had a different idea of what it meant, and for him, it wasn't a sign of major disrespect from someone he had just met.
I am going to fight Allen Iverson
In an interview with VladTV, White explained how the whole thing happened and why he thought there might be a fight with Iverson and his crew at an event. He now remembers that encounter as one of the most uncomfortable moments because of a simple misunderstanding over his non-awareness of the street slang Iverson often used.
"He was still playing and was with his entourage, and I guess I was not being as versatile in the street vernacular at the time. It was the first time I heard someone say "I f**k with you. I had no idea that was a compliment. I am at this function, and Allen was his people, and he said, "I f**k with you? I am like, you are clearly f**king with me right now, what's up with this guy? I don't quite understand it, and I am not sure if he was going to make the game, I really don't know what is going on here. I am looking at everyone else, am I going to fight Allen Iverson, how did this happen? It was a really uncomfortable moment."
Luckily they ended up kicking it
Luckily, White soon found out what it really meant and that Iverson was simply ecstatic to see him because he obviously had tremendous respect for White and his accomplishments. Soon after, perhaps a dangerous situation turned into a relaxing evening where they both were hanging out and exchanging stories, but it's incredible how things can go south for a simple misunderstanding.
"They all walk off, and I am later talking with my friend, and he comes back to the table I am at, and his demeanor was just completely different. I am thinking what this was all about, and we were really kicking it. I just didn't know what that meant."
White and Iverson have completely different demeanors and backgrounds and come from different walks of life, which was the main reason behind a potential incident that almost happened between them. Iverson was always expressive and, obviously at that moment, endeavored by White so much he approached him like he would anyone from his crew. On the other hand, White as a professional martial artist is well-trained to recognize when someone truly wants to cause a fight, and, luckily, he soon found out the real meaning behind Iverson's unique expression of respect.