ALLEN Iverson added another vintage showing in his colorful history with press conferences on the eve of his induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Iverson arrived late as organizers said the former NBA superstar had 'travel issues' that prevented him from arriving on time for the press conference where ceremonial jackets were given to his fellow inductees in the 2016 Hall of Fame class in Springfield, Massachusetts on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
When he did arrive, the No.1 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft received some light-hearted ribbing from another top pick and fellow inductee, Shaquille O'Neal,
"Hall of Fame? I'm a franchise player. You talking about the Hall of Fame?" said O'Neal, in reference to AI's infamous practice rant.
Shaq and AI actually led their respective teams in the 2001 NBA Finals when the champion Los Angeles Lakers suffered its only postseason loss to Iverson's Philadelphia 76ers.
O'Neal took center stage in Iverson's absence at the start of the event Thursday. The four-time NBA champ had a light moment with his fellow inductee and former rival Yao Ming, after he jumped out of his seat to assist in putting the oversized jacket on the 7-foot-6 Chinese legend.
Meanwhile, soon as he arrived, Iverson noted that he had to attend to some personal, family situation that got him late but assured that he will be present and on time come his induction ceremony on Friday.
The former Sixers star, though, turned emotional when he discussed his road to the Hall of Fame.
"That's the only thing that got me here is my teammates. My teammates and my coach. That's the only reason I'm here. All those guys sacrificed their game and sacrificed different things for me to be honored like this and what I've done. Without them, it wouldn't have happened," said Iverson.
"Without my coaches putting me in a position to succeed. Mike Bailey did it my high school level, coach [John] Thompson did it at the college level. And Larry Brown molded me into an MVP and a Hall of Fame player. Without those guys I wouldn't be here. Without those guys, man. I didn't do this by myself, man," he added.
Iverson also thanked the support of the fans that got him through the dark times in his basketball career.
"It was so many people, so many fans that came in there and cheered for me, night in and night out. So many people supported me and believed in me. They made it so easy for me to believe in myself, because I didn't want to let them down. I wanted my fans and my family and my friends to be proud of me," he said.
For his induction speech, Iverson said he'll put in a special mention to all his critics and doubters for their part in molding him to the Hall of Fame player he became.
"Even the ones that were negative in my career, obviously to try and prove them wrong,I had to overcome what they said about me. I had to overcome all that to be wearing this [Hall of Fame] jacket right now. The naysayers, they helped me, too," said Iverson.