Allen Iverson

He has led a troubled life. He has been convicted of mob assault, which he doesnít even believe he did <Richtarsky>. He has gotten a full scholarship to Georgetown University. He left college in hopes of making the NBA (national basketball association) so he could pay for his sisterís pricey medical condition. He won NBA 1996-1997 Rookie of the Year while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. He is Allen Iverson. Iverson is a six-foot, 200-pound, gangster looking, hated, loved, and just plain rebellious person <Player File>. Because of his troubled past, how he looks out for others, and his current basketball stardom, Allen Iverson will continue to change the way we look at the professional athlete now and in the future.

The thing that defines Iverson in most sports experts minds is his troubled past. He was born in Hampton, Virginia to a mother who was only fifteen and without a boyfriend or husband <Richtarsky>. He had just his mother to support him and two sisters <Allen Iverson Domain>. She had to work two or sometimes even three jobs at a time to make sure she could pay the water and electricity bills, which still were not always paid. Regardless of the financial troubles, she made sure that Iverson stayed out of gangs and always went to school. He had incredible athletic ability, and excelled in football. Originally, he refused to play basketball. Iverson considered it to be ďto softĒ for a tough guy like him. However, it didnít take long for him to fall in love with the game <Richtarsky>.

He attended Bethel High School where he was immediately placed on the varsity football and basketball teams. It seemed like every game went well when Iverson played in them. He led his two teams to two state championships in which he was voted MVP for both <Richtarsky>. However, in the summer of 1993, everything went from glorious and perfect to rock bottom.

On a boring summer night, Iverson and some African-American friends decided to go bowling in an alley that was in a predominately white neighborhood. He found that his group was the only blacks in the alley. Not really taking any notice of it, they just started playing. Eventually, his group got into a heated dispute with an equally sized group of white people. Then it turned physical. An all-out brawl erupted and many people were injured. Eventually police arrived and cleared the place out. Iverson as well as some other people there claim that he left the second punches were thrown. However, he was still forced to stand trial as an adult along with everyone else there <Richtarsky>. The entire lower Virginia area was outraged when he, along with three other men (all black), were charged with mob assault <Allen Iverson Domain>. He was sentenced to five years at a prison in the area. This led all newspapers in the area to rant on and on for weeks on end on the possibility of race being involved. The papers also wondered why Iverson was sent to jail despite the fact many witnesses claimed he left within seconds of the first punch. After five months, he was freed by the governer who reviewed the case. This is still the most famous and horrible incident in Iversonís life, and it still plagues him to this day <Richtarsky>.

Another incident that occurred recently, although much less severe, is still damaging. In 1997, Iverson was riding in a car that included three of his close friends. It was pulled over for speeding, and then the police smelled marijuana. He removed all of them from the car and searched it. The officer discovered a marijuana cigarette, later found to belong to the driver, and a gun, which was Iversonís. He did have a license for it, but not the proper permit. He just received probation and random drug tests (he has passed all six he has taken so far). Although this wasnít too terrible in itself, it brought the old mob story back up which Iverson just wanted to leave behind him <Counter Point>.

On the other side of the coin, Iverson has been known for being extremely self-sacrificing and he often looks out for others ahead of himself. The prime example of