After two seasons at Georgetown, Iverson was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA draft. Listed at 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) tall, Iverson became the shortest first overall pick ever, in a league normally dominated by taller players.
He was however, named the 1996 Rookie of the Year and was also a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, after averaging 23.5 points per game, 7.5 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game. Iverson continued to help the 76ers move forward the following season, as they improved nine games to finish 31-51.
The lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season would mark great improvement for the 76ers. Iverson averaged 26.8 points (which led the league, earning his first scoring title) and was named to his first All NBA first team. The Sixers finished the season at 28-22, earning Iverson his first trip to the playoffs. He started all ten playoff games and averaged 28.5 points per game despite being hampered by a number of nagging injuries. Iverson led the Sixers to an upset over the number three seeded Orlando Magic in four games, before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round in six games.
verson led the Sixers to their first finals since their 1983 championship. In game one of the 2001 NBA Finals, Iverson scored a playoff high 48 points and beat the heavily favored Lakers 107–101; it was the Lakers’ only playoff loss that year. In the game he notably stepped over Tyronn Lue after hitting a crucial shot. Iverson would go on to score 23, 35, 35, 37 in games 2–5, all losing efforts though the Sixers were not swept like many predicted. Iverson enjoyed his most successful season as an individual and as a member of the Sixers during the 2000–01 NBA season.
Iverson began using a basketball sleeve during this season during his recovery from bursitis in his right elbow. Other players, including Carmelo Anthony, and Kobe Bryant, adopted the sleeves as well, as did fans who wore the sleeve as a fashion statement. Iverson continued wearing his sleeve long after his elbow had healed. Some believed that the sleeve improved Iverson’s shooting ability.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes …Allen Iverson
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||24,368 (26.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||3,394 (3.7 rpg)|
|Assists||5,624 (6.2 apg)|