Originally written on Legend of Cecilio Guante  |  Last updated 11/16/14
One Night at the Garden…Doug Pensinger/Getty Images It was March of 1996, and I was 19 years-old. To be honest, I can’t remember why we had tickets for the Big East Championship game at Madison Square Garden or what I was even doing home (Spring break?). I do know Mom and I were not too far from the floor, and I could barely contain myself. Georgetown and UCONN were about to tip-off for the Big East conference tourney title, and my eyes were glued to one diminutive Hoyas point guard. This lanky kid with hips on a swivel whose cycle was permanently set to “shake.” Just watch, mom. I know you’ve heard of him but have you ever  seen Allen Iverson play??!!” The reason for my enthusiasm was more than just A.I., although he would become the immediate focus once the symphonic sound of squeaking sneakers commenced its opening concerto. Georgetown was also “my team,” for reasons still not entirely clear (having grown up north of NYC with no obvious or meaningful connections to D.C. and the Hoyas). As early as I can remember, I recall watching and rooting for Mourning, Ewing, Wingate, Jackson, Reggie Williams…and seeing big John Thompson patrolling the sidelines. My first and only basketball camp summer was spent at Georgetown at age 11. I watched as Coach Thompson used a new and not-so-fluent English speaking center to help him demonstrate themes on discipline. Little did I know that decades later I’d be watching that same man swat cereal boxes, punctuating the action with his now iconic finger-wag…in commercials for an insurance company best knows for its talking gecko. But I digress… Suffice to say, I had heard quite a bit about Allen Iverson long before March of 1996. And I’d watched with excitement as he wowed fans across the country during his freshman campaign under Thompson. However, seeing him in person was another story entirely. It’s hard to describe. There are a few times in a sports fan’s life where he watches someone or something live that forever stays with them. A transcendent moment. Watching Allen Iverson as a freshman for Georgetown on the Garden floor was one of those occurrences. It just looked and felt different than anything you’d seen. My relentless chattering (looking back, it’s probably would be better categorized as badgering) to my mother was simply a signal of my relative awe. She is a huge sports fan in her own right, but she hadn’t watched or followed Iverson beyond knowing about his criminal tribulations and the fact that he was heading to Georgetown to play ball. The story was so big that even those outside of the sports were mostly aware. This wasn’t about this about the past though. It was about the present and a clearly blinding future, and I wanted to make sure my “sports mom” knew just what she was watching. I wanted her to appreciate it. So, I must’ve repeated the same three or four things over and over… “Do you see how quick he is? Can you tell that first step? Watch him against these guys? He’s playing at a different speed. You can tell that, right?” “See??!! Watch his handle. Did you see the crossover? Can you tell how fast he accelerates from a standstill?’ “Are you seeing how he drives the lane? Did you watch him get up on that? He’s fearless!” “Do you realize this guy is probably 160 pounds soaking wet!! Look at him!! How is he even in control at that speed??!!” In retrospect, I can’t believe she tolerated it. Her inner voice must’ve been shouting OK, I GET IT before the first TV timeout. Iverson would only put up 13 points that night as part of what was at the time a historic 79-point total for the tournament. Oh, and Georgetown lost on a late off-balance jumper by a Huskies guard by the name of Ray Allen in one of the all-time classics of this event. C’mon, Junkyard Dog! How do you not finish that? The Hoyas fell that night, and A.I. did not particularly shine (nor did Allen who had gone on an 0-13 stretch before nailing that off-balance go-ahead bucket), but I’ll never forget it. Because watching that kid play was like nothing I’d ever seen. That will always be the A.I. we remember. He has truly something like a phenomenon. Here’s wishing him well in “official” retirement.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Alex Smith out week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things the world learned about the NBA on Christmas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

'Roberto' Gronkowski wishes Pats fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

WATCH: LeBron gets standing ovation from Heat fans in return

15 defunct bowls that leave the holidays feeling empty

Should the NFL's playoff seeding system change?

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.