In a speech that included thanks for coaches, trainers and family members, Allen Iverson offered up a special moment when asked which teammate had a lasting effect on him.

“Aaron McKie,” Iverson repeated over and over before succu*bing to tears. “He was a teammate but it was on another level.”

The 2001 MVP said that he “made a million mistakes” during the course of his basketball career, but “without Aaron McKie it might have been two million.”

Few players have had the impact on the players of today that Iverson did — everyone wanted his look, everyone wanted to emulate his fearless style. His retirement announcement, which was broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Philly, was representative of that admiration as the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center hung on the former MVP’s every word.

“I’m formally announcing my retirement from basketball,” Iverson said. “You know, I thought one this day came it would be basically a tragic day. I never imagined the day coming, but I knew it would come. I feel proud and happy to say that I’m happy with my decision and I feel great.

“It’s just a hard life to live. It’s a great one, I wouldn’t trade it  for nothing. I have no regrets on anything. People ask me all the time, ‘Do I have any regrets?’ I don’t have any. If I could back and do it  all over, would I change anything? No. Obviously if I could go back and  change anything I would be a perfect man. And I know there’s no perfect man and there’s no perfect basketball player. So no, I wouldn’t change  anything. My career was up and down at times. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things I’m not proud of. But it’s only from other people to learn from.

Iverson was reflective and grateful, thanking Michael Jordan and Larry Brown for being key parts of his professional career. He also talked about Georgetown.

“I always believed in myself, my mom always told me I could be  anything that I wanted to be,” Iverson said. “I truly actually believed  it. I fought. I went through a whole lot, trying to get to this point right here. [Former Georgetown] Coach [John] Thompson gave me an opportunity when nobody in the world would and believed in me. Basically, saved my life and helped my dream come true.”

He showed off his sense of humor.

“You used to think the suspect was the guy with the corn rows, now you see the police officers with the corn rows,” he said.

We’ve known this was coming for a while — frankly a lot of his fans seemed to know the end was there before Iverson himself did.

That shouldn’t, however, alter our opinion of a future first-ballot  Hall of Famer — an 11-time All-Star who averaged 26.7 points, 6.2  assists and 2.2 steals a game in his 13-year career. His game had a lot  of substance but you can’t think of Iverson without the style — the tattoos (before everybody had them), the cornrows, his fearless attacking style and ability to finish over guys a foot taller than him. That style made him one of the most entertaining players of his generation. He led the charge to bring a hip-hop culture to the game and young African-Americans in particular related to him in a way they did not with other stars.

He changed the game. He should be celebrated and will be tonight in Philadelphia as the Sixers tip off their season.

  • TDE

    One of the G.O.A.Ts

  • Tiera

    They should put a pic of Iverson in the dictionary next to disappointment

    • If with all his skills, you still have a point.

      • If with…..I meant to say, even with

  • Duke

    Great player…. Horrible attitude.

  • Ace

    Allen Iverson was the leader of a generation in the league he made braids, long shorts and tattoo’s trendy

    • Jordan made long shorts trendy.
      2pac made tattoos trendy
      Snoop made braids trendy….even in the league b/c ballers wanna be rappers.

      • 2 Pac wasn’t in the league and wasn’t the first baller to sport a sleave of tattoo’s.

        • @Hahz, I know that. That’s why I stated, ” even in the league b/c ballers wanna be rappers!

          Tattoos were trendy before A.I.

        • MoorThugRelated

          Yea I most def gotta agree with the braids and his shirts were much longer then what Jordan would wear. I got love for AI but he really influenced the league and kids in a negative way.

          • MoorThugRelated

            *Shorts not shirt

  • RealisReal

    This man remained himself through It all … You can say whatever about his attitude, stubbornness , off court issues whatever .. More than half of the players In the league today idolized this man … He always owed up to his mistakes and never blamed no one … His kids will have a chance to better their life with the education he provided them .. He came from a real place where few make It out .. Stuart gardens ( bad news ) .. No man Is perfect we all go the trails and tribulations through life … He gave millions of black kids hope and whether you respect It or not to be themselves .. He would serve good as an great motivational speaker

  • Pose

    One of the G.O.A..T. but, as for a lot of them, how long until he go broke?

    The impact he had on that league is unbelievable. The impact on his generation is even greater…

  • A.I was a very good basketball player, I’ll give you that but he has not made any type of impact on society or any generations. I understand being a fan but C’mon, let’s not get carried away. Dude had a thuggish disposition that led to his downfall. If bad decision after bad decision qualifies you as a great motivational speaker, well any convict or inmate can do that.

  • jamarxyz

    Lets just remember A.I. as a great basketball player…as far as his personnel life,lets leave that one alone….if you didnt hang out or know Al on a personnel level,get off his dick….you dont know how much money he got and shouldnt worry about it…people are way too personnel when it comes to athletes…they are not role models,they are not your parents…they are simply just athletes….respect to A.I. for having a great career.

    • It could’ve been great! Dude ended up in China! Unless he’s making Kung fu movies or getting the gold in gymnastics, that ain’t great. LOL

      • jamarxyz

        even after the China trip,he’ll still end up in the hall of fame…why is you buggin.

        • I is bugging b/c I hate to see talent wasted on some ignorant shit! I’m so tired of rich MF’s with the wo is me story!

  • People take some of the stuff that’s said on this site too personal. This is a forum for opinions, no matter how accurate. It’s funny when folks say what you should and shouldn’t post. It ain’t that serious!

    • jamarxyz

      your comments are accurate?….AL AINT GONNA BE IN THE HALL OF FAME ONE DAY…

      • I never said AI couldn’t ball. Hell, Lawrence Talyor is a Hall of famer, that still doesn’t change the fact that he’s a

  • yungmobby

    a i with his talent n size he made it possible for shorter point guards to have a career in the league. when you look at shorter guards play these days you can see a lil of a i style in their game. Prime example
    Derrick Rose if you think i’m lying…n don’t forget Isiah Thomas

  • I never said AI couldn’t ball.