Skip to main content

The "Step Over" - An iconic moment for a true icon

Seventeen years ago today, Allen Iverson shook Tyronn Lue, buried the jumper, stepped over him on his way back down the court. It’s a play that has been immortalized by time in inescapable video format.

This happened in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, and Iverson hit the jumper with less than a minute left in overtime. Going in with a lot of confidence, Game 1 of the Finals did not go as planned for Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers as they were defeated 107-101 in overtime. The 76ers were clinging to a two-point lead when Iverson shot that fated jumper, a bucket that gave him 48 points for the game. Philadelphia held on to win that night, and all of that matters.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff run in 2001 was one of the most impressive of all-time, as they went 15-1 en route to their second consecutive championship. After finishing 56-26 in the regular season, they went into the postseason as the second seed in the Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs.

This play was an anointing of Iverson's place among the all-time greats, and as much about the player as it was the play. Iverson had just turned in his lone MVP season, averaging a league-leading 31.1 ppg. Iverson then carried the Sixers to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly two decades, and to many of Iverson's fans, it seemed as if there were more appearances to come. Iverson finished the game with 48 points as the Sixers won in overtime, 107-101.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The two things often remembered most from this play was the look Iverson gave to Lue as he was stepping over his helpless body and the reaction of the Lakers’ bench, who he just so happened to be in front of. Something that often gets lost in Iverson’s greatness, however, is the fact that Lue actually played amazing defense on him but people only remember the step over.

“It definitely created a buzz,” Lue told ESPN. “When I was going places it was, ‘Oh, that’s the guy Allen Iverson stepped over!’ Well, if you know that, then you know me. So that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that. He’s going to arguably go down as probably the best player under 6-foot in NBA history, so I don’t have a problem with that at all.”

This game was also the second time in NBA Finals history when two opposing players scored 40 or more points in the same NBA Finals game. Iverson had 48 points and Shaquille O'Neal also had a monster game with 44 points.

“A lot of people forget but [we were] 15-1 in the playoffs. If it wasn’t for Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue, we’d probably be the best NBA team ever to win a championship. We still have the record. I was a little nervous last year [with Golden State].”

Los Angeles went on to win the next four games of the series, completing the best playoff run of all-time.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo defends Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles

“It seems like it’ll be very easy” — Joe Ingles is looking forward to sharing the floor with Giannis Antetokounmpo

Joe Ingles is excited to be in Milwaukee, touches upon rehab process and his teammates.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

“It ain't like I'm 48” - Demar DeRozan on defying Father Time and trying to replicate a spectacular season

After a spectacular showing for the Chicago Bulls last season, DeMar DeRozan is ready for an encore this season.

Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams

Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams details how he went through "hell" in summer workouts — “The workout starts at 5 am!”

The Chicago Bulls sophomore went through a brutal offseason workout with teammate DeMar DeRozan.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose dunks the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic

“This is my nightmare” - Goran Dragic on Derrick Rose's vicious dunk 12 years ago

Dragic has a sense of humor about one of the most memorable dunks in NBA history - “At least I'm on TV all the time.”

Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso

“The NBA told me I couldn’t” — Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso wasn't allowed to switch jersey number

Caruso wanted to honor Bill Russell, but the NBA had a surprising reason not to allow the switch.