Thursday , Mar , 20 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Allen Iverson Warmly Received in Philly

When public-address announcer Matt Cord – who usually low-keys the visitors’ lineup during introductions – began a louder, more complete introduction of Iverson, it was virtually impossible to hear his final words. The sellout crowd was already standing, applauding, cheering wildly. The ovation lasted 1 minute, 5 seconds and might have gone longer had Cord not begun introducing Iverson’s backcourt mate, Anthony Carter. As a frame of reference, when Charles Barkley returned to the Spectrum for the first time with the Phoenix Suns in 1993, his standing ovation lasted 42 seconds.

Through it all, Iverson remained stoical. He walked a few steps in different directions. Finally, he cupped his hand to his ear, a signature move from the best days of the Iverson Era. The sound level rose.

He said he wanted the entire experience to be positive. And it was. There were Iverson jerseys all over the stands. There were also some Andre Iguodala jerseys. And at least one Thaddeus Young jersey. You knew Iverson was taking it all in. Meanwhile, his mom, Ann, sat courtside in the second row near the Nuggets’ bench, signing dozens of autographs. []