76ers legend Allen Iverson, who was at the time the NBA’s scoring champion and MVP of that season, entered into a contract dispute with then-team owner Larry Harris. As negotiations dragged on for months without an agreement in place, rumors began to circulate about whether or not Iverson would stay in Philadelphia and finish out his career there. Though he continued playing basketball through this process despite having one foot out the door — eventually leaving when his contract expired — it is widely believed by many people that if Iverson hadn’t left to play for Detroit Pistons management three years later, he would have been traded during that period as well.
The “rodman vs iverson” is a meme that has been around for awhile. The meme was created by a website called 4chan. In the original post, Iverson came in thinking he was playing Jumanji and ended up getting killed by the big guy from the movie.
During his NBA career, Dennis Rodman had his fair share of memorable quotes, but his depiction of youngster Allen Iverson is definitely in a class by itself.
After starring at Georgetown, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Iverson with the first overall choice in 1996. In Philly, he became an MVP and a franchise icon, despite the fact that his manner and cockiness at an early age irritated Rodman and some of his Chicago Bulls colleagues.
When facing Dennis Rodman and the Bulls, Allen Iverson used a brazen approach.
Allen Iverson may have played for the 76ers, but the first time he faced Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 2, 1996, he had a cocky attitude.
Even as a rookie, Iverson never displayed fear or shyness on the court. Despite the fact that Chicago had recently won its fourth championship since 1991, he did not back down from the Bulls or its players. He even had the audacity to yell at Jordan and his crew.
AI’s bravado was not well received by everyone on the Bulls’ lineup.
As the reigning champs, Chicago thought it deserved to be treated with respect. Iverson, on the other hand, was never one for bowing down. He’d rather go out and attempt to conquer the greatest, and he’d do it with his trademark flare and swagger.
Iverson’s mindset did not impress Rodman. In their very first clash, the two nearly fought, and the Worm said afterward that AI had played the game recklessly.
After their first encounter, Rodman likened Iverson to a board game.
The Bulls were eager to exchange barbs with Allen Iverson, even if they were surprised the 76ers rookie had the audacity to say such things.
Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen surrounded Iverson throughout the entire 94-foot length of the floor, hounding him in the backcourt. Ron Harper and Randy Brown teased AI and seemed to encourage him throughout the competition. Michael Jordan attempted to share some of his own knowledge, but Iverson abruptly walked away from Mike.
Rodman went on to suggest that AI attempted to do too much (h/t Baltimore Sun). He likened the Sixers rookie to a well-known board game that has even been adapted for the big screen.
“Iverson entered believing he was Jumanji and was about to take over the whole forest and wilderness.”
–Dennis Rodman, through the Baltimore Sun, 1996.
When Iverson arrived in Chicago, he had just returned from a sensational 30-point NBA debut. His subsequent performance against Rodman and the Bulls was a disaster.
The Sixers rookie only managed 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting while also committing five turnovers. Philly lost by 29 points, and he completed the game with a plus-minus of -30. Isn’t it reasonable to think that the next time AI plays the Bulls, he’ll keep his mouth shut? Well, not quite.
In their second encounter, Rodman and AI exchanged more words.
Dennis Rodman (L) and Allen Iverson (R) | Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images and Sporting News through Getty Images | Left to Right: Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images and Sporting News via Getty Images
On Dec. 21, the same year, Iverson and Rodman came dangerously close to fighting again. This time, The Answer scored 32 points, but he also had nine turnovers. Chicago triumphed once again.
The Worm had another tough message for Iverson and other NBA rookies after the game, implying that they lacked humility and should return to college. He stated that instead of their performance, rookies’ “money” did all the talking. Iverson did go on to win Rookie of the Year and have a Hall of Fame career, however. His performance got a lot of attention. Perhaps he was simply being overly harsh on Rodman, who was known for putting young players in their place.
Rodman, despite his eccentricities, always commanded respect from opponents when he was fortunate enough to play for a winning team. When MJ and the Bulls dethroned the Bad Boys in 1991, he said that Jordan should acquire the Detroit Pistons.
Demolition Man attempted to humble youngster Allen Iverson this time around, and his assessment of the former 76ers star could not have been more accurate.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
Dennis Rodman once forced a future playoff opponent to do the Salsa mid-game, which resulted with a technical foul.
The “jumanji movie” is a film that came out in 1995 and was directed by Joe Johnston. It starred Robin Williams as Alan Parrish, Bonnie Hunt as Sarah Porter, Jonathan Hyde as Peter Shepherd, and David Strathairn as Dr. Franklin Storm. The film is about a man who wakes up to find himself inside the titular board game where he must escape before he’s trapped for life.
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