When Allen Iverson scored 48 points and led the underdog Sixers to an improbable win over the Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, he had arrived as one of the most uniquely unstoppable forces in NBA history, one of the most culturally influential people of the past 25 years and a sincere brand that the folks could believe in.
Iverson had many prolific moments in that unforgettable Game 1, but his defining triumph came at the expense of former Lakers guard and current Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.
Allen Iverson’s Step Over Ty Lue Was So Disrespectful
Lue, who had been playing aggressive defense on Iverson, forced The Answer into a couple of turnovers, scored a couple of times and started getting real chatty.
While attempting to guard Iverson one-on-one late in the game, Iverson hit his vintage crossover and banged down the jumper from the right baseline over the Lakers pesky and provocative defender. Once the ball hit all net, Iverson proceeded to glare down, talk junk and step over the helpless Lue, who had stumbled to his demise in the process.
It was pure magic captured in a real life NBA situation. The Lakers never recovered and Philly rode the wave of emotion to a shocking Game 1 upset; the teams only win of the series.
The memories seem like yesterday. It’s hard to accept that it’s been 17 years since his talent-defunct Sixers entered the 2001 NBA Finals against Shaquille ONeal and Kobe Bryants Dynasty Lakers as the biggest underdog in history.
If any player understands what LeBron James has experienced in having to carry a mediocre team to great heights, its A.I. He did the same thing.
The recently inducted Hall of Famer was a one-man wrecking crew. He stands barely six-feet tall and was built more like a ’70s soul crooner than an NBA player, but he pushed the boundaries of what was possible when you put a tigers heart, an undeniable will to win, and freakish hoops skills inside of an athletic savant with a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder.
When the NBA conqueror, in all his glory, knows that he has not only toppled a seemingly invincible opponent, but personally humiliated the soldiers sent to slaughter his undermanned squadron, that moment becomes a defining triumph in his ascension to immortal status.
Iverson over Lue is one of the classic smackdowns in NBA Finals history and will always be remembered as the time when David defeated Goliath, exposed a shook one, and made the city of Philadelphia scream his name in unison.