Coach Tyronn Lue’s gotta be glad that Twitter didn’t exist back in 2001 because he’d never be able live this one down.
Today marks 17 years since game one of the 2001 NBA Finals when the Philadelphia 76ers took on the Los Angeles Lakers at home. The game was in overtime and the 76ers were clinging to a two-point lead when Allen Iverson took the game into his own hands. While on the left side of the court he was being defended by Lue. He faked driving right and quickly dribbled between his leg before stepping back and dropping a pull-up jumper. As Lue watched the ball drop through the net, he stepped backward and tripped.
And that’s when one of the coldest moments happened in recent NBA history. Not only did Iverson cross him up but he dramatically stepped over him and stared down while rocking Reebok Iverson IVs before running back up court. That would be the nail in the Lakers’ coffin that game, as the 76ers won Game 1, 107-101.
The Lakers would win the war, though by winning the next four games in a gentleman’s sweep after Philly native Kobe Bryant said he was “coming to Philly to cut their hearts out.” It not only allowed the Lakers to repeat but was the re-emergence of a dynasty and the beginning of one of the Black Mamba’s two three-peats.
Despite the dominance during that exact moment, Lue and Iverson could not have gone on more different paths.
Despite the dominance during that exact moment, Lue and Iverson could not have gone on more different paths. Iverson would go on to win a few scoring titles, having stints with the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Memphis Grizzlies before going overseas to finish out his career in a Turkish league.
Lue would win two rings with the Lakers before being shipped off to the Wizards for a few years and then be passed off to the Washington Wizards and plenty of other teams before retiring in 2009. Just two years later he decided to turn to coach as Doc Rivers’ apprentice with the Boston Celtics. But it wasn’t easy for him. He even admitted to the Boston Globe earlier this year that he still wanted to play despite being part of a coaching staff, yet was still grateful for the opportunity Doc provided him.
“The opportunity [Doc] gave me, along with Danny Ainge, basically making up a role for me to come to Boston and get my feet wet and become a coach, I owe a lot to that organization for giving me that opportunity,’’ Lue, who is now the Cavaliers Championship winning coach, said back in May.
He’s even cool with being known for getting sonned by Iverson, especially since, as he says, he’ll go down as one of the “best players under 6-foot in NBA history.”
As for Iverson, the guy who LeBron James idolizes, not much as has changed. He’s still got the same heart and says coaching isn’t for him.
“Hell no!” he stated when asked if he’d pick up a clipboard. “[Because] I ain’t coaching no motherfuckers who make more money than me. How the hell am I gonna tell them anything?”
Oh, and he’s still got the same signature braids.