Allen Iverson is suiting up Monday night (December 7) and returning to the Philadelphia 76ers. The city's hip-hop community has nothing but brotherly love for A.I. after two seasons away from his original team.
"We still know A.I. is a great player," Philly native DJ Drama said. "I look for him to really come back and ball. I think, at this point in his career, his main goal is to get a championship ring. I think the city is excited to have him back. I see him flourishing, having a great year with the team."
Young Chris said Iverson will take his hometown team back to the championship series and win a ring. "What does it mean to the city of Philadelphia to have Allen Iverson back on the 76ers? Leadership, loyalty, success as a family. It's about more than just basketball," Chris declared.
"You couldn't give a ticket to the game away before; now it's sold out," Philly's DJ Omega noted of Iverson's return. "It's great for the city. I feel Allen Iverson represents Philadelphia, in a sense that we have a swagger to ourselves that it's us against the world. It's beautiful that somebody who has such an influence on us could leave and come back. It's going to be a good look."
"It's a good thing," Freeway said of Iverson's return. Free has tickets for Monday's game, but due to a show in Detroit, he won't be able to go. "A.I. is a good baller. [His return] is going to elevate not only the team, but the city. He's gonna elevate the city. I know I ain't been back to a Sixers game since he ain't been playing. It's gonna be good for Philly. He's bringing positive energy back to the city. I'm glad he didn't retire. It's perfect for him to be back. Philly is where he really did his thing and put his stamp down. This is the perfect place for him to retire. He might as well get in and get a ring and keep it moving."
While Free said he's going to make it to future games, Beanie Sigel said he'll be at the Wachovia Center on Monday when #3 takes the court. Iverson's current squad goes against his old team, the Denver Nuggets.
"That was hurtful," Beanie Sigel described about Iverson getting traded from the Sixers to the Nuggets two years ago. "You didn't know if he was getting traded because of the franchise or if he wanted to leave. When you think of Philly, that was it right there. When A.I. was here, the city was good. A.I. was connected to the community. He wasn't the type of person you would have to go to the game to see him. After the game, you could go to see him at Friday's bustin' a grub. Or go to any local club and catch him with his people. When A.I. was in the city [the first time], he was from Philly. He'd be at any spot a normal person would go to. It's a good thing now. The nights seem good. People will start coming out to see the boy."
Iverson played 11 seasons with the 76ers — 10 as an All-Star and as the MVP in 2001 — before being traded in December 2006 to the Denver Nuggets. A.I. was traded from Denver to the Detroit Pistons last November, where his play was limited due to injuries and his unwillingness to play in the role of a non-starter. Before this season started, Iverson signed with the Memphis Grizzlies but soon left the team because of his limited role. Several days ago, the Virginia native announced that he was retiring, only to re-sign with the team that drafted him out of Georgetown in 1996.
An emotional Iverson was brought to tears as he expressed how pleased he was to not have to give up the sport he loved.
"When I saw that, I was crying with him," Beanie said. "I was crying with him. I looked at A.I. and I looked at myself with the connection with Philly. When you from Philly and this is the city you love ... and when they support you, there ain't no feeling like that. I know what it's like for him to be away from Philly. It's a connection. It's hard for me to leave this city. People say, 'You gotta get out this city.' Where I'mma go? I don't live in the inner city, the 'hood. I don't sleep here, but I gotta be here every day. Got to. Even with me, that's where my music comes from: the city. I gotta be out, connected to the street for my music to come out the way it do. I can't just watch the news. So I know how A.I. felt when he's going back to a place where people genuinely respect and love him here. He's gonna bring so much revenue to the city besides him just playing every night. The whole city should support him. They should give him his own street: 'Iverson Boulevard.' "