The Los Angeles Lakers were playing the Toronto Raptors in a game that was close until the final minutes, when Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan made a three to put his team up by seven. Then, with 39 seconds left and his team still up by six, LeBron James missed an open layup.
The genesis 39:9 meaning is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West. It was released on September 9th, 2018, the 39th day of the year and the ninth month of the year.
Allen Iverson’s famous crossover provided many “Welcome to the NBA” moments for unprepared or outmatched opponents. As Iverson rose to superstardom, even Michael Jordan felt the brunt of it. However, Iverson was defeated by a former great point guard the first time they met in the NBA, and it’s a memory AI cherishes.
After a 14-year NBA career that featured an MVP award, four scoring championships, seven All-NBA selections, and a highlight-reel performance in a losing effort in the 2001 NBA Finals, Iverson was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first vote in 2016. Even The Answer, as a rookie on a rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers team, had times when he seemed as though he still had a lot of questions.
Upon his arrived, Allen Iverson dominated.
Allen Iverson joined a team in shambles when the 76ers selected him with the No. 1 overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft. Philadelphia had dismissed John Lucas in favor of Johnny Davis starting the 1996–97 season after finishing 18–64 the previous season.
The squad possessed a lot of offensive weapons. Iverson joined a team that featured Jerry Stackhouse, a 1995 first-round choice, and Derrick Coleman, a former All-Star and another No. 1 pick from the 1990 draft.
The 76ers, on the other hand, were unable to stop anybody on defense. Despite Iverson’s Rookie of the Year heroics, Philadelphia’s defensive rating of 111.4 was among the worst in the NBA, and the team only improved to 22–60.
Objectively, despite his scoring prowess, Iverson was small and frequently disinterested as a defender. After an abysmal performance, Iverson was angry and emotional at a mid-season discussion with a former NBA All-Star.
In the Arizona desert, Kevin Johnson burned a young Iverson.
Allen Iverson may have broken a lot of ankles during his Hall of Fame career, but he had his share of difficulties as a rookie with the Philadelphia 76ers. | AFP/KIMBERLY BARTH/Getty Images
On Feb. 26, 1997, two teams who seemed to be out of postseason contention met at Phoenix’s America West Arena to finish the season. The 76ers had lost their first game of a four-game West Coast trip the night before, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 14–40. The Suns had lost their last home game to the hapless Dallas Mavericks, with a score of 20–36.
The 76ers battled early in the fourth quarter but grabbed the lead before Phoenix pulled away. The defensive assignment given to Allen Iverson was a major factor in Philadelphia’s fourth-period woes. Kevin Johnson, a seasoned veteran, was on fire, scoring 12 points during a decisive 17–7 run.
Iverson spoke with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on a 2019 episode of the Knuckleheads podcast about his anger after Johnson tore him up in the defeat.
“He handed me 39, nine, and nine,” says the narrator. It wasn’t because of his physical abilities or anything; he was just wiser than me and understood how to play the game.
“I remember (assistant coach) Maurice Cheeks warning me after the game that I would be handing someone 39, nine, and nine. I was sobbing in my dressing room because I had never been devastated like that before.”
Johnson dominated with 36 points and eight assists on 13-of-22 shooting, so Cheeks wasn’t completely correct. In 30 minutes, Iverson had eight points and six assists. Not only did KJ keep him in foul trouble all the time, but AI also only shot 3-of-15.
It was one of Iverson’s only three encounters with Johnson. Individually, AI dominated the previous two, although KJ was just a part-time player the next season.
Under a new coach, Allen Iverson’s career took off.
During Allen Iverson’s first season, the 76ers went 8–19 the rest of the way. The Suns embarked on an incredible run to make the playoffs, winning 19 of their last 25 games and taking the second-seeded Seattle SuperSonics to five games in the first round.
In Philadelphia, Davis was a one-and-done head coach. In the next summer, Larry Brown arrived and led the Sixers to the playoffs in 1999. They were the top team in the East by 2001.
From then, the situation in Philadelphia worsened. Brown departed after the 2002–03 season to join the Detroit Pistons and win a championship. Iverson only appeared in one more playoff game with the Sixers before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in a blockbuster deal in 2006.
But, in the end, Allen Iverson gave more than he received throughout the most of his career. Kevin Johnson’s wise advice paid off in the long run.
Basketball Reference, Stathead, and NBA.com provided the statistics.
RELATED: Allen Iverson Had Controversial Retaliation Against Ray Allen after a Disappointing Loss During Their College Years
The genesis 39:9-10 is a reference to the Bible’s creation account.
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