March 19, 2008
Iverson was in his 11th season with the Sixers when he demanded to be traded. Then president and general manager Billy King accommodated A.I., sending the former No. 1 overall pick to Denver for Andre Miller, Joe Smith and a couple drafts picks.
The Nuggets had already visited Philadelphia prior to the December trade, so it wasn't until the following season in March that Iverson came back to his adopted hometown.
It was best more than a year had passed. And fans remembered only the good Iverson brought to the city for more than a decade and the bitterness A.I. displayed at the end of his Sixers career had dissipated.
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There was great anticipation leading up to the Nuggets' game vs. the Sixers. Fans were coming to see No. 3, wondering what would Iverson do. How would he react?
Iverson did the unexpected: kissed the Sixers' center court logo when he came out for warmups. It was unannounced, it was genuine.
The kissing of the logo was awesome, but the standing ovation Iverson received when the starting lineups were introduced was breathtaking. It lasted for more than a minute, and while some athletes get uncomfortable with those types of moments, Iverson did not. He acknowledged the crowd, offering gestures of thank you.
Iverson proceeded to score 32 points, much to the delight of the packed Wells Fargo Center. But it was the Sixers who won: 115-113.
After the game, A.I. came down to the press room to chat with reporters. I remember where were only a handful of us, so Iverson stood off to the side and we had an informal conversation.
He was heartfelt with his answers about coming back to a city and franchise that gave him an opportunity and he gave them 10 years of entertainment both on and off the court.