PHILADELPHIA – The Wizards are looking to spoil Allen Iverson’s jersey retirement ceremony and extend their season-high win streak to six games in Philadelphia. They have defeated the 76ers twice this season, including a 107-99 win on Jan. 20 at Verizon Center.
Iverson, the former Georgetown star, four-time NBA scoring champion and one-time most valuable player, will have his jersey retired, which should surely provide a boost for a 76ers team that is on a 12-game losing streak.
The 76ers are welcoming back several legends, including Julius Erving and Moses Malone. They will also have some members of hip hip group and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon band, the Roots.
“We know,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “We talked about it this morning. Going to be a great crowd. Very into it. all the great players who palyed here are going to be here. Probably going to an emotional night for that team, coming out pretty hyped. We have to understand that, and I think they do. It’s always good and fun to play in front of that.”
Andre Miller was traded for Iverson back in 2005, while Philadelphia shipped the franchise’s only rookie of the year winner to Denver, but remembers the difficult challenge of having to keep up with him.
“He was probably the toughest guard for me, personally,” Miller said. “He was just relentless. Energized. Could play both ends. He just brought so much energy to the game. He was probably one of the best players at his size to be able to do that.”
Wittman expressed a similar sentiment while discussing Iverson. “I’m glad he retired,” Wittman said with a laugh. “He was probably one of the toughest small guys we’ve seen in a while. He loved to play the game, hated coming out of the game. Never stopped coming after you. This is obviously a well-deserved tribute that he’s giving here.”
Iverson was the first Georgetown player to ever leave early under former coach John Thompson in 1996, when he went first overall to the 76ers. Seventeen years later, Otto Porter had an easier decision to make about declaring for the draft. Thompson was also in a different place.
“Big Coach was like, ‘You have to go!’ It wasn’t like, ‘Should I stay?’ It was, ‘You gotta go!’ A lot different,” Porter said.
Porter acknowledged that Iverson was one of the reasons he chose to play at Georgetown.
“He was amazing at Georgetwon, you see his pictures on the plaques, jersey hanging up from younger days watching him play, how small he was and how much the impacted the game. That relentless hardnosed will to win,” Porter said. “He was one of our favorite players. I used to be a point guard. I used to watch him, tried to perfect his crossover, which made it fun. Bringing that type of style into the game.”
John Wall said that the Wizards couldn’t afford a letdown after their triple overtime win over the Toronto Raptors. But they will have to win again without Kevin Seraphin, who missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. Seraphin did not travel with the team.
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WFED-1500).
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