During his playing career, Allen Iverson was one of the best players and most loved personalities in the world, leaving a substantial cultural imprint on the generations growing up. But unfortunately for A.I., his transition to life after basketball was anything but easy.
Since his NBA debut, Allen Iverson was a fan favorite of the entire NBA and especially the Philadelphia natives. His flashy style of play, skill, and heart just won over everybody, and in a short period, A.I. became one of the best players in the league.
Adding the tattoos, cornrows, arm sleeves, headbands, baggy clothes, and everything else related to the popping hip-hop culture of the 2000s made Allen a cultural icon and role model for the young hoopers coming up. Even though he never won that allusive championship, nobody could have ever denied Iverson's winning spirit and individual prowess.
Although his career declined sooner than expected without a glorious exit or farewell tour, Iverson still ended up in the eyes of many as one of the best guards to ever play the game. Unfortunately for him, life after basketball presented a more significant challenge.
Even during his playing days, Iverson was never known to be one of those guys fully devoted to their body and lifestyle. Going out, drinking, smoking, gambling, and everything of that nature was nothing new to A.I., but in his retirement, it caught up to him, proven by a crazy story he told in a GQ interview last year.
A.I. told the story of getting high with a friend before a party in his old stomping grounds of the Virginia Peninsula. Everything was fine and going as usual until Allen started to feel something was off.
"I'm alright! I was fine! Fine, like a muhf**ka. But, then, I just felt it, dog!"
Allen Iverson, GQ
A.I. started doing reckless things, walking on the interstate, getting kicked out of a bar, cursing people out, and acting entirely off. He would then do the wrong thing and get into his car, where he ultimately started to trip and freak out.
"I'm thinkin' all the worst sh*t in the world. The door was closed, and I was waitin' for the door to open and a muhf**ka to kill me. At one point, I even laughed,' 'like, damn, I'm going out like this?!" Iverson explained.
AI would leave his car in fear and suddenly wake up in a ditch mere 10 minutes later. Safe to say, Iverson was in disbelief:
"I'm in a muhf**kin ditch!... This is it, man. I heard a car burning rubber, and then BOOM. I was back. I was myself," Iverson told the story.
AI returned to his car, came to his senses, and realized he had to put some things in order. From that day on, Allen vowed never to smoke again, and he is keeping that promise to this day. The life-changing moment that could have very well ended his life opened Allen's eyes and helped him come back on the right path.
Having a bit of fun and relaxing here and there is not bad, but too much of anything can result in disastrous ways, and thankfully the beloved AI has realized that.