Allen Iverson thanks MJ, says he wanted to 'be like Mike'

Allen Iverson thanks MJ, says he wanted to 'be like Mike'
March 2, 2014, 9:00 am
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Mark Strotman

Allen Iverson had plenty of people to thank Saturday night in Philadelphia, including Michael Jordan.

The Sixers legend had his No. 3 jersey retired at halftime of the team's game against the Washington Wizards, and part of his speech included thanking Jordan for the reason why he wanted to get into basketball. In fact, Jordan was the first person he thanked.

"First off I want to thank Michael Jordan, for inspiring me and giving me a vision. Yes, I was one of those kids that wanted to be like Mike. So I thank him for making me want to play basketball."

Iverson was a teenager playing high school basketball during Jordan's first three-peat from 1991-1993, and entered the NBA the year after Jordan won his fourth championship in 1996.

[MORE: Allen Iverson's top 5 games against the Bulls]

One of Iverson's most famous moments as a professional came in his rookie season, when he crossed over Jordan during a game and hit a 17-foot jumper in front of the reigning NBA champion and league MVP.

Iverson played 37 career games against the Bulls, averaging 28.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 39.7 minutes per game.

Iverson's complete retirement ceremony is in the video above, and he mentions Jordan at the 11:30 mark.