The first association to Allen Iverson is his illustrious NBA career, but Iverson, like many other basketball players before and after, also had a hip hop career. Same as a lot of things in his career, a lot of controversies surrounded his hip hop debut that was ready for release in 2000. The album under the name “Jewelz” featured a song called “40 bars” that raised a lot of eyebrows because of the profanity, offensive lyrics, and homophobic slurs.
David Stern, the NBA commissioner at that time, reacted promptly, saying he will not fine or suspend Iverson but issued a strong statement criticizing Iverson.
“Whatever the constitutional rights of free speech an individual may have, there is no constitutional right to participate in the NBA, and I have the power… to disqualify players who engage in offensive conduct — including inappropriate speech. Allen Iverson has done a disservice to himself, the Philadelphia 76ers, his teammates, and perhaps all of the NBA. Notwithstanding the music’s wide popularity, Allen, by even recording his lyrics, has done a disservice to himself, the Philadelphia 76ers, his teammates, and perhaps all NBA players. However, I do not believe that the NBA should be in the business of regulating artistic expression, no matter how repugnant.”
Iverson received the message sent by the league and met with Stern and civil rights leaders right before the season started back in 2000. After having a serious conversation with them, Iverson issued an apology saying the fans shouldn’t buy or listen to his album if they find it offensive. He also said that he wants the kids who were looking up to him to pursue and chase their dreams. He even accepted to change the lyrics in several songs and changed the name of his album to Misunderstood.
“If individuals of the gay community and women of the world are offended by any of the material in my upcoming album, let the record show that I wish to extend a profound apology. If a kid thinks that I promote violence by the lyrics of my songs, I beg them not to buy it or listen to it. I want kids to dream and to develop new dreams.”
Iverson would later say he never actually published the album, saying he didn’t have the urge to record music after the incident. However, in 2010, only four tracks were released, but it didn’t last long since iTunes removed it from its store. Nevertheless, if you wanted to hear Iverson rap, we dug up his appearance on a radio show in which he has a freestyle session showcasing his skills on the mic.