Allen Iverson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night (Sept. 9), where he delivered an emotional speech… thanking a number of people, including Michael Jordan and the late Tupac Shakur.
Dressed in all-black, the retired NBA star paused repeatedly throughout his speech to collect himself. One of the highlights of his 30-minute speech was when Iverson recalled the first time he played against his childhood idol, Michael Jordan.
“Man, I wanted to be like Mike,” he said. “I remember the first time I played against him. I walked out on the court and I looked at him. And, for the first time in my life, a human being didn’t really look real to me. You know what I mean? I don’t know if you all watch The Chappelle Show, but he talked about a certain incident where somebody’s seeing Rick James. Like I literally seen his aura. It looked like he was glowing.
“I’m sitting there, and I’m saying, ‘Man, that’s Michael.’ And I’m looking at him. I can’t stop looking at him. I’m looking at his shoes, and I’m like, man, he’s got on the Jordans! It was my Mike. It was my idol, my hero.”
Elsewhere, Iverson thanked a number of musicians who gave him inspiration throughout his playing career. “I want to thank Biggie Smalls, Redman, Jadakiss, Tupac and Michael Jackson for being my theme music throughout my career,” he said.
Watch Iverson’s full speech below: