DENVER, Feb. 20, 2005 - The dunk of the night may have belonged to Vince Carter or Amare Stoudemire. Ray Allen may have led all scorers with 17 points. But nobody came up larger than the smallest man on the court.

Allen Iverson rode 15 points, 10 assists and five rebounds to an Eastern Conference victory and the Most Valuable Player honors in the 2005 NBA All-Star Game. Iverson was also named MVP of the mid-season classic in 2001, the last time the Eastern Conference claimed victory.

Immediately after the final horn sounded, NBA.com was granted exclusive access to tag along with the Answer to get the answers on what it’s like to be an All-Star MVP.

A.I. fielded questions from the media a few short minutes after picking up another trophy.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images
The fraternity among players was none more evident than when the 2005 NBA All-Star Game ended in a 125-115 victory for the Eastern Conference. The players knew who was going to be taking home the game’s Most Valuable Player trophy, yet they gathered round for the announcement and to celebrate the accomplishment.

TNT’s Ernie Johnson, standing at center court, welcomed the fans watching at home back from commercial break to introduce Commissioner David Stern, who presented the MVP trophy. “The star of stars,” Commissioner Stern commented. “Allen Iverson is the Most Valuable Player.”

A.I. then hoisted the trophy overhead for the crowd to share in the celebration. After a few brief remarks of thanks and dedication, A.I. was whisked away to complete a media circuit.

The first stop in talking about the game and his award-winning performance took place in the corner of the court as Iverson stopped for a quick question-and-answer session with NBA TV’s Gary Apple. Waiting in the wings was Iverson’s mother, Ann, who carried the MVP trophy, and would continue to until it was time for her son to strike a pose.

NBA security escorted Iverson to his next destination: a small studio space in the underbelly of the arena, barely large enough to contain the Sixers guard and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s SportsCenter. The room was draped with an NBA All-Star 2005 backdrop and a flat-panel television displaying the show’s logo.

After sharing a secret to the East’s victory with SportsCenter viewers – hint: it had something to do with last year’s Western Conference MVP – Iverson stood up for an interview to be broadcast to fans back home in Philadelphia via Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

Next stop: the arena’s makeshift interview room, where a hungry pack of media members eagerly awaited comments from the game’s brightest star so they could file their news stories by deadline.

Iverson managed a smile at the end of the night.
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images
Admittedly not fond of speaking with the media, Iverson answered politely when asked questions by reporters from the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer or Rocky Mountain News. The Answer would address the reporter who asked the question while glancing around the room to share his comments with the other assembled media.

After fielding five or six questions about: the game, his pass-first mentality and LeBron James, Iverson was off to his final stop of the night. Freshly showered and awaiting their turns at the podium, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant offered words of congratulations as Iverson departed the interview room.

The final obligation before A.I. was free to celebrate on his own was to stand in for a quick photo shoot for NBA Entertainment. Ushered to the Nuggets' practice court high above the home team’s locker room, Iverson stepped in front of a blue backdrop flanked by an umbrella-shaped lighting system.

As Jennifer Pottheiser and Nathaniel S. Butler, NBAE photographers, snapped away at the guard and his hardware, a third, Jesse D. Garrabrant stepped forward to wipe away any smudges from the permanent record of the night.

As the brief five-to-six minute photo session got underway, Pottheiser joked with Iverson, telling him to smile because “you’ve got a trophy in your hands.”

The photo session consisted of solo shots, pictures with his mother and wife, Tawanna, and photos with a few corporate partners. In one particular shot, Iverson handed the trophy to a young boy of no more than four years old, to the delight of the child.

There was only one thing left to do: shower. Well, almost. As Iverson slipped into an All-Star 2005 bathrobe, he passed his sneakers around the locker room to be signed by his Eastern Conference All-Star teammates; one final souvenir from a night to remember.