Allen Iverson was not in an iconic photo of the 1996 NBA draft class, and he has reflected on why.
Nearly 25 years later, the 1996 NBA Draft was a turning point for the league. A run of underclassmen went early for the first time ever, including No. 1 overall pick Allen Iverson.
On Sunday night, NBA TV debuted a documentary on that 1996 draft, talking to some players and others who were there or closely attached. A famous photo shoot for SLAM magazine followed the proceedings, yielding an iconic cover photo for the fledgling publication of arguably the greatest NBA draft class of all time.
But, someone was missing.
Stephon Marbury most clearly articulated the mystery, likening Iverson’s absence to “looking for Waldo” and summarizing by saying “Where’s A.I. at?” The follow-up responses from Ray Allen, Jermaine O’Neal, John Wallace, Marcus Camby and Shareef Abdur-Rahim differ just enough to be funny.
O’Neal said Iverson must have been scheduled to do something else. Wallace flat-out said Iverson was sent home. Abdur-Rahim said they probably couldn’t get him to come and Camby laughed as he said “we don’t know where ‘Chuck’ was that day.” “Chuck” seems to be a reference to Iverson’s propensity to shoot the ball a lot.
Allen Iverson tries to clear up his absence from the iconic photo
Iverson started by saying he always wanted to “clear that up”, with an appreciation for finally having the platform to do so. But the answer is quintessential “A.I.”
I don’t know. I don’t know where I was. I don’t know how I missed it. I don’t remember. Being that young, and, um, not as mature as I, you know, am now, or should’ve been, I might’ve blew it off. I don’t know.”
So now we know why Iverson was not part of that iconic photo, from the man himself. Sort of.