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Gary Moore, Iverson's longtime manager, piloted the 0,000 coupe down the shoulder of the annoyingly packed thoroughfare. Boys were known to go to the store and try on three or four outfits as a ruse to get to know one of the sales girls. Tawanna lived on the other side of town in a nice neighborhood, and Iverson would often sneak into her house long after her parents fell asleep to be with her.Iverson arrived at the arena 10 minutes before tipoff. He had been looking for a reason to trade him, spent many hours in Sixers general manager Billy King's office complaining about Iverson. Hours earlier, Bethel High had captured the 1993 Virginia state boys basketball championship behind Iverson's verve and moxie. Now, his teammates had gathered in his hotel room to engage in one of his lifelong passions: Monopoly. The discarded bones are neatly lined up on the edge of the plate."What up, Chris? In 14 seasons, the player he had the most trouble guarding was Steve Nash. If the meeting didn't go well, he was gone."They would have pulled the trigger," says Iverson. His anxiety was made worse when his kids would come home from school with messages from their friends asking Iverson not to leave the Sixers. He owns half a dozen rods and has expert knowledge of hooks, lures and everything else that goes in a tackle box. Sometimes, you'd have to try a half-dozen places before the kid would turn up. He became one of the NBA's most visible, no-nonsense gatekeepers. His first agent, David Falk, never told him anything. Iverson asked him to leave Hampton and come to Philly.

This amused some in his circle, because even though Iverson loved cars, he rarely drove.Iverson has given up defending himself from critics and responding to every rumor the Internet can churn out. He had his own room in the three-bedroom rancher Moore bought in Hampton.He hears what people say about him on social media and goes out of his way to avoid stories about himself. On Christmases, he put cleats and wristbands under the tree. She went to Kecoughtan High across town and was quiet, smart and didn't take lip from anyone.Moore taught Iverson to tie a tie and would eventually buy him suits for the significant moments in his life: his sentencing, his announcement to go pro, the day he was drafted. He always did."When he wasn't right in front of me, I was always concerned," says Moore.

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The game was in its second hour when the phenom tucked his stash in his pocket. After chatting with Bailey's relatives for several minutes, he walked Iverson to the door. It would take him the better part of a decade to figure out they weren't random at all. He doled it out in small portions because it was never really for us. I got my butt kicked, but if that meant that the guys who came after me could be themselves, then it was worth it."Allen Iverson didn't just defy conventions. He gave birth to a generation who gave him love where none had existed before."I didn't want to be Michael or Magic," says Le Bron James. There's a gold diamond-studded Rolex on his right wrist. His cheeks are a little fuller, and damn if he ain't an inch shorter from when you last met, but it's him. I know—I had to guard him."He wants to see Melo get a ring. Dean, who arguably changed the game of basketball by proxy, was so little-used, he didn't even have his name on the back of his jersey. Iverson says afterward, still stressed from the meeting and mourning the recent death of his best friend Rahsaan Langford, he got in his car and drove straight to the arena for what would become the infamous "Practice" press conference."I was supposed to announce to the city that I was here to stay," he says, "but then they started talking about practice."Outside of not winning an NBA championship, his biggest disappointment is being left off the 2008 Olympic team. He once spent a half-hour wrestling a wily marlin on the high seas that weighed half as much as him. "We were eating fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner."They're gonna need to give me a fishing reality show," says Iverson. One day, Chuck asked him to borrow the very clippers Jackson used to make a name for himself. Soon, Jackson knew he would never see those clippers again. "He was the son I never had.""Without Mo, I would have never made it," says Iverson. Moore played high school football and baseball in Newport News and was good enough that he had hopes of going pro.

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