As the NBA Guru tweeted earlier this morning – 12 years ago today, arguably the most infamous step in NBA history took place. Allen Iverson son’d Tyronn Lue on this day in 2001.
Coming into the 2001 Finals against the Lakers, almost everyone thought the Sixers would be done in four games. The same fate as L.A.’s three previous opponents in that year’s playoffs. The Lakers had steamrolled through the Western Conference Playoffs, reaching the finals without a loss in their postseason record.
This feeling of immortality is what made Allen Iverson’s game 1 heroics that much more memorable. The shot and step over Lue was the pinnacle of his 48-point performance. It was a middle-finger pointed at anyone who ever doubted The Answer or Philly.
While most others would have stepped around the fallen Lue, Iverson chose to step over Lue. It was a slap in the face to not only the player who would be remembered the rest of his career for this moment, but also to the entire franchise that had always had an aura of superiority around it. The gritty city of Philadelphia had its moment against the glamour of Los Angeles.
Iverson averaged 31.1 points during that 2000-01 season and 32.9 points in the 22 playoff games.
The Sixers wouldn’t win another game in the series, but AI’s game one would be etched in the memories of all who watched that game.