Allen Iverson went retro Saturday night, dressing in a green, vintage-style Houston Astros jersey. The ensemble also included designer sunglasses, black shorts that nearly reached his ankles and a diamond stud earring.
After all, this was his show.
The Philadelphia 76ers all-star guard -- a former college standout at Georgetown -- jogged onto the field at Prince George's Stadium for his annual rite of summer, his own celebrity softball game, blowing kisses to the 8,481 in the crowd. Thunderstorms had ruled the afternoon, but the skies cleared as day turned to night.
The list of celebrities was not quite as promised, but still impressive: Washington Wizards Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Juan Dixon, plus other NBA stars Larry Hughes (now a former Wizard), Steve Francis and Vince Carter. Among the non-athletes to participate were actress Vivica Fox and singer Raheem DeVaughn. They came out for charity -- Iverson's Crossover Foundation, which dedicates itself to helping underprivileged youths of the inner city.
"God blessed us," Iverson said. "It rained but we're still out here. This is what life is about. I'm glad I could get out here to put some smiles on these kids' faces."
And he did.
Fifteen-year-old Shawn Beal beamed when asked the reason he came to the game, summing it up in three words: "Because Allen Iverson."
Beal came out to the park with his mother and little brother.
"We hope just to see him and say, 'hey.' He's a funny guy," his mother, Devonne, said after buying the tickets and making the rainy drive. "Iverson is worth it."
Karen Proctor made the drive from Fort Washington.
"I like baseball, my kids like baseball. I want to see if some people make fools of themselves," Proctor said.
"I want to see if they're any good," said her son Cameron, 16. "I'm not sure, but they might be."
There were glimpses of both good and bad play in the celebrities' 13-11 win over the employees of local radio station WPGC 95.5.
Iverson made one of the first embarrassing plays, dropping a soft liner that came to him at shortstop. He dropped to the ground for some push-ups after committing the error but made up for it a few innings later, diving to his left to snag a ground ball, then making an impressive delivery from his back to first base for the out. He followed with a big smile of his own.
"All I want to do is do something positive in my life. Not just basketball, not just being a great father . . . and being a good husband," Iverson said. "I'm trying to be a good person to everybody. I want to share my love that I have with everybody out here."
Former Georgetown coach John Thompson, who coached Iverson for two years before the guard made the leap to the NBA, came out to support Iverson and his charity as well, strolling down the first base line in the second inning.
"I always thought that Allen was a person that people didn't know he was. I'm not surprised by anything that I see from him now," Thompson said. Is Iverson a role model? "Everybody is a role model in their own way. Look at this stadium; I don't have to answer that. You have a thunderstorm hovering over us here, full of all these kids, what do you think?"
Hughes, who is expected to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent Friday, took the field to a mixture of cheers and boos, but a smile remained on his face as he jogged out of the dugout.
"I loved being in this city," Hughes said before he was booed. "I'll always come back, it's like a second home. This is a business move. I had to take care of myself, but I'd definitely like to get back to this city."
Arenas said of Hughes's departure: "That's hard to swallow. It's going to be hard to get back what he brought to the city."