A young AI breaks down His Airness
(Lou Capozzola/NBAE/Getty Images)

Iverson on Iverson: "I had a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of times I learned the hard way. I think those experiences helped me be the way I am right now mentally. I went through hell here, with the media, coaching situations, even times with fans... everything. I really feel that I am a man. I feel that being here in Philadelphia helped me become just that. I wouldn't trade it for the world, because I think it made me a better player, it made me a better person, it made me a better father, it made me a better husband, a better teammate. I took my bumps but I've had my great times here."

Put your average NBA fan back-to-back with Allen Iverson, and they'll surely identify with him. At 6-0, Iverson doesn't tower over anyone like your typical superstar would. At 165, he might even give up a few pounds. Yet A.I. has managed to carve out an implausible career in the league that his pedestrian size makes us admire.

A career 27.4-point per game scoring average
16,738 total points
Most Valuable Player of the 2000-01 regular season
All-Star MVP in 2001 and 2005
Three-time First Team All-NBA (1999, 2001, 2005)
Owner of three scoring titles
Rookie of the Year in 1996-97
NBA Finals appearance in 2001

A.I.'s résumé has all of the things that we dreamt of accomplishing every time we took jump shots on our driveways as kids. When we watch him, we get to live out those fantasies, as well as draw strength from his incredible toughness.

Knocked around by opponents every time his slight frame and unrestrained style of play hits the floor, Iverson always gets back up. His penchant for playing hurt teaches us to get back up when life knocks us around.

And that's why we love Iverson. He inspires us with something even the little guy can have a lot of.

Heart.

IVERSON'S NBA MOMENTS
One moment revealed every day
No. 1: 2001 NBA MVP
No. 2: Crossover on MJ
No. 3: Raptors Series
No. 4: Finals Victory
No. 5: AI Steals a Win
No. 6: All-Star MVPs
No. 7: Rookie Record
No. 8: Posterization
No. 9: Career High
No. 10: Buzzer Beater
MORE AI MEDIA
Iverson has carried a franchise on his back for 10 years.
Steve Freeman/NBAE/Getty Images

Iverson celebrates the Eastern Conference Championship in 2001.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/NBAE