Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
The myth of Stag Lee really is intriguing. According to staggerlee.com, the story goes a little something like this:
“On Christmas Eve, 1895, in a St. Louis saloon, “Stag” Lee Shelton, a black pimp, shot William “Billy” Lyons. Eyewitnesses said Billy snatched Stag’s Stetson hat. Boom, boom, boom, boom went Stag’s forty-four. You don’t mess with a man’s hat.”
The story soon grew to become bigger and bigger, with different versions of it popping up all around the nation, and eventually the legend led to more than 400 songs to date being made based on it. Even with all of the changes in detail, the basic story stayed the same: There was some sort of outlaw, anti-hero being celebrated because he lived by his own moral code and cared not for the law or the basic set of principles that the rest of the people in the world usually live by.
I’m sure that by now all of you are thinking that while this is a nice story, you want basketball. After all, basketball is why you came to this site. Fine, I’ll give you basketball.
Allen Iverson is Stagger Lee.
Hit the jump for the rest of Ian’s piece…
Iverson was one of the best players to ever play the game, and certainly was one of the best pure scorers ever. Every game he got buckets and no one could lock him down defensively. I can still remember him absolutely destroying Tyronn Lue in the 2001 NBA Finals. He created his own position in this league and was a combo guard in the purest sense of the expression. AI picked up a struggling organization that was the Philidelphia 76ers and literally put them on his back night in and night out. Iverson was a nightly draw for both Sixers fans and opposing fans because of his lightning-quick crossover, amazing toughness, and his ability to become a scoring threat from anywhere across the half-court line. And above all of this, he held the city of Philadelphia in his heart. He shared the feeling of struggle that resonated in the city, and added that as fuel to his competitive fire.
But, his critics always talked about his constant “chucking” and shot selection issues instead of his scoring ability. Instead of his on court toughness and undying will to win, they degraded him for his tattooed body and cornrows. Iverson was a lightning rod, dividing the generations of basketball fans. To the older generation, he was a thug, and a ballhog who didn’t realize the privilege it was to play the great sport of basketball. To the younger generation, he was a fearless warrior who delivered for his team every night, who was determined to win every night, even if he had t do it all by himself because his teammates weren’t up to par (Seriously, on that Finals team, his best teammate were Aaron McKie and an aging Dikembe Mutumbo).
Let this be known though, like Stag Lee, the legend of Allen Iverson will grow. No matter if he is remembered for the good, the bad, or the ugly, stories of Iverson will be told to the newer generations of basketball fan. His greatest work will live on YouTube for the years to come. For those who want to analyze his numbers, they can see the eye-popping totals for themselves. And, of course, his detractors will be able to look at his career and less-than-glamorous exit from the NBA as some sort of cautionary tale. But, in the end, that’s just how things work for the NBA’s favorite anti-hero.