Former NBA player Allen Iverson officially announced his retirement from the league on Oct. 30 in Philadelphia.
“I thought that when this day came, it would be basically a tragic day,” the 38-year-old said at a press conference to announce his decision. “I never imagined the day coming, but I knew it would come. I have to thank God for just giving me the opportunity to, not really accomplish all the things I accomplished in the NBA, but just giving me the opportunity to be drafted.”
Iverson last appeared in an NBA game on Feb. 20, 2010 with the Philadelphia 76ers. Two days later, he took an indefinite leave of absence from the team, stating his 4-year-old daughter Messiah had health issues. Several days later, the team announced Iverson would not return to the 76ers for the rest of the season.
After being drafted first overall in 1996 by Philadelphia out of Georgetown University, Iverson went on to play in the NBA for 15 seasons. Iverson won the Rookie of the Year award in 1997.
“People all the time ask me what was my most greatest memory of being in the NBA?” Iverson said. “It was just being drafted.”
Iverson played in Philadelphia for 11 of those seasons, and the rest with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and the Memphis Grizzles.
Iverson was an 11-time All-Star and won the Most Valuable Player title in 2001. That same season, Iverson took his team all the way to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals, four games to one.
Iverson also has four scoring titles and was named first team All-NBA three times. Iverson averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game for his career.
On Oct. 26, 2010, Yahoo! Sports reported that Iverson agreed in principle to a two-year, $4 million contract with Be?ikta?, a Turkish Basketball League team. The club announced the signing at a press conference in New York City, on Oct. 29, 2010. Iverson made his debut for Be?ikta? on November 16, 2010.
Iverson returned to the United States in January 2011 for calf surgery. He only played 10 games for Be?ikta? that season, and did not play professional basketball again.
In January, Iverson received an offer to play for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, but declined.
The league’s current MVP, LeBron James, called Iverson “the best pound for pound NBA player of all time.”
The Sixers will retire his number 3 on March 1 against Washington.
“I feel proud and happy to say that I’m happy with my decision and I feel great,” Iverson said. “I’m in a great mindset in making a decision.”