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Allen Iverson Knows That He's ‘Old' Now, and He's Embracing It

Allen Iverson turned 45 years old on June 7. He is a middle-aged man now, which is still a bit difficult to wrap one's head around. 

In some ways, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Marc Zumoff in a video interview last month, he continues to feel like he did during his playing prime, when he was averaging over 40 minutes per night and led the league in scoring four times. 

"I'm still like when I was younger, in my 20s," he said. "Like, I got a birthday coming up, and I get excited about it. … I know so many people that didn't make it to this age or nowhere near it, so it's a big deal to me. I love it."

In other ways, Iverson has embraced the aging process, even if the first word that came to mind when asked to reflect on being 45 was "old."

He looks back at his younger years, thinks about his maturation and tries to teach his children.

"My kids are getting older," he said. "A lot of times with them I concentrate on the fact that things that they did in previous years, they're supposed to be able to do better now or not do them anymore. … So that's a part of my parenting. As I get older, they're getting older. 

"So certain things that I've learned from … I'm happy that I've moved on from being a certain way. Then I feel like when their years go by, they should be doing the same. And I'm going to stay on them about that.

The "living legend" label is often cliched and not always warranted, and yet Iverson fits it well. He's no Michael Jordan, of course, but Iverson has an authenticity and relatability that Jordan does not. Iverson is openly imperfect, and it's one reason he has such a powerful connection with so many fans. 

There's also a strong mutual respect between Iverson and the current generation of players, who admire both his immense talents and cultural impact. Iverson genuinely wants today's stars - his "little dudes," as he memorably put it a couple of years ago - to thrive.

That's obvious if you've ever seen him sitting courtside at a Sixers game.

"Now I know how those people in the crowd felt when I had my hand on my ear and all that," he said. "I'm those people in the stands now, and I love it. I get a big kick out of it. When Joel (Embiid) is doing all that and I'm at the game, I feel just like those other fans that are sitting in the seats."

Could Iverson imagine playing without the energy of that adoring crowd behind him? 

He had a rather sage perspective on what the players who travel to Orlando for the NBA's planned resumption might face.  

"It's just like the motivation that you get when you're playing pick-up," he said. "You still want to win, you're still into it, still playing as hard as you can. So you know it'll be different, but you're just playing basketball and you're playing with the same agenda, same thing, and that's to win basketball games. 

"So you do whatever you can. And then you understand and realize that everybody else has gotta go through the same things you're going through."

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Allen Iverson knows that hes old now, and he's embracing it originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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