Watch: Allen Iverson’s Retirement Speech (Video)
“I’m formally announcing my retirement from basketball,” Iverson said, flanked by his children and manager. “You know, I thought once this day came it would be basically a tragic day. … I promise you it is a happy day for me. I really thought this day would be a tough day for me, but it’s a happy day.”
In a speech that ran more than 10 minutes, the 2001 MVP thanked his family, coaches, and teammates, and offered reflections on his impact on the game and culture.
“I took an asskicking for me being me in my career, for me looking the way I looked and dressing the way I dressed,” Iverson said, playfully covering his daughter’s ears. “My whole thing was just being me. Now, you look around the NBA and all of them have tattoos, guys wearing corn rows. You used to think the suspect was the guy with the corn rows, now you see the police officers with the corn rows.”
Iverson, wearing a black and white jacket, a black baseball cap turned backwards and a gold chain, singled out Michael Jordan as his inspiration and expressed gratitude to former Georgetown coach John Thompson for “saving my life” and former Sixers coach Larry Brown for helping him better learn the game and maximize his physical gifts. He also acknowledged former Philadelphia Daily News reporter Phil Jasner, who covered Iverson for years.
More than three years removed from his last appearance in an NBA game, Iverson, 38, concluded his speech by admitting that his fire to compete at the professional level is finally extinguished.[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D2STsAPK87Iw img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/2STsAPK87Iw/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=640 height=360 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false responsive=16:9 /]