Issue 116: Big NBA Moments: Allen Iverson Steps Over Tyronn Lue

One thing I hear from people is that it’s hard to keep up with everything going on in basketball. And I get it. Just looking at a typical NBA regular season, you’ve got 30 teams playing 82 games of 48 minutes apiece.

If my math is right — and I was a major Around the World champion in elementary school, so I’m sure it is — that’s an average of 19,815 minutes played per team.

(Okay, I looked it up for the 2018-19 season, which was the last time we had a “normal” length season.)

Throw in the WNBA season, playoffs, college basketball, summer league, the Olympics, exhibition games, and whatever kind of hoops you want, and that’s a lot of stuff to pay attention to.

Luckily, you don’t have to know everything. You just need to know a few of the magical moments in NBA history. And that’s what I’m here for.

Today, we’re talking about a scene that was so spectacular, it used to be the image on my phone case.

During the 2001 NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers looked all but unstoppable. They had Shaquille O’Neal, which was like playing against a large refrigerator, if that refrigerator was also very competent at basketball.

The Lakers had Kobe Bryant, too, who had become a top scorer in the league and was one of the most clutch players in basketball.

They were complemented by a ton of role players that helped them to 56 wins and up until this point, an undefeated record in the playoffs. Literally, no one could beat them.

That is, until they met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals. In Game 1, the Sixers were on fire.

Well, more specifically, Allen Iverson was on fire.

He was doing magical things on the court, knocking down jump shots, driving into the lane, finishing layups that surely required some kind of witchcraft to complete.

He finished with 48 points en route to a 107-101 overtime win, but it’s the final basket he scored in this game that we’ll remember forever.

Iverson caught the ball on the wing and made a nice crossover move to get some space. He hopped back and put up a jumper.

Tyronn Lue, the Laker who unfortunately was guarding him, contested the shot. Alas, his feet got tangled up with Iverson’s, and Lue fell onto the ground.

Much as you or I would be flailing around like a turtle that gets flipped over, Lue could only helplessly watch as Iverson made the shot.

To add insult to injury, Iverson stepped directly over Lue as he ran back on defense.

With the ferocity of the step, you’d have thought Iverson was celebrating a Jewish wedding and this was the “mazel tov!” moment of breaking glass.

I mentioned earlier how I used to have this moment as my phone case. When that was the case (heh, phone puns), I went to a podcasting conference in Philadelphia.

Perhaps this isn’t shocking to you, but I was a minor celebrity there. People high-fived me, they hooted and hollered, and they said, “that phone case is awesome!”

It felt great. Much like I imagine it did for Iverson in the moment.

Never mind that the Lakers won the next four games and took home their second title in a row — they ultimately won three straight championships from 2000 to 2002.

All you need to say is “Iverson over Lue” and people will know exactly what you’re talking about. That’s how you get a leg up in life.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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