Allen Iverson was one of 10 people elected for enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame Monday, and while the undersized scoring machine will always be remembered for his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, his legendary step-over on Tyronn Lue, and his epic “practice” rant, there’s probably one thing Iverson will never be remembered as: a Memphis Grizzlies player.
But facts are facts, and the fact is Iverson did play for the Grizzlies — and those three games after signing as a free agent for the 2009-10 season make Iverson the holder of a rare bit of history. He will become the only Grizzlies player, whether Memphis or Vancouver, to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Iverson’s Grizzlies career was so short that we can look back on it game-by-game.
Nov. 2, 2009 – Grizzlies at Kings
Iverson came off the bench (for just the 10th time in his career) and scored 11 points in 18 minutes of action, but the Grizzlies fell to the Sacramento Kings 127-116 in overtime.
Nov. 4, 2009 – Grizzlies at Warriors
Iverson scored 18 points, the most in his Grizzlies career, and dished out a team-high 7 assists. Despite the solid effort, the Grizzlies lost to the Golden State Warriors 113-105, giving a young Stephen Curry the first win of his career (the then-rookie scored 7 points for Golden State that night).
Nov. 6, 2009 – Grizzlies at Lakers
Iverson’s final game with the Grizzlies came against the team that had beaten him in the 2001 Finals, and they handed him another loss on this night. Iverson scored 8 points, while on the other side of the court, Kobe Bryant scored 41 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Two days after the loss to the Lakers, Iverson took an indefinite leave of absence from the Grizzlies. He was waived a week later, temporarily retired in late November, then quickly un-retired to re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he played the final 25 games of his career. Iverson’s short stint with the Grizzlies is a forgettable blip in a remarkable career, and perhaps even more forgettable for Memphis fans, who never even got to see Iverson play a home game.
But Iverson’s election to the Hall of Fame means the Grizzlies officially have a Hall of Famer. That leaves only two current NBA franchises who have never had a Hall of Famer play for them: the Minnesota Timberwolves (who’ll get off this list a few years after Kevin Garnett finally retires) and the New Orleans Pelicans, who gave the Charlotte part of their history (and thus Hall of Famers Alonzo Mourning and Robert Parish) back to the Hornets two years ago.