By: Minna Hyon
Allen Iverson is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight, but it’s no question that Hall of Fame or not, AI will always be remembered as a legend of the NBA. It’s not only his grit and hustle for the game, but his controversial attitude and tough exterior on and off the court that changed the whole NBA perspective in the public eye. And maybe part of that tough image resulted from his style – or vice versa. Back then, his trademark chains, fitted caps, and loose oversized everything led people to undeservedly paint him as the “thuggish” rebel of the NBA. But just because someone dresses like a thug, doesn’t mean they’re a thug, and just because someone puts on a suit and dresses like a “clean” man, doesn’t mean they’re clean. Allen Iverson knew this, which is why his style speaks volumes on his character and personality. He didn’t care what you thought of him – he was going to wear what he wanted to wear because he was his own person and he was true to himself.
AI’s style may have refined itself throughout the years, but his core swag is still there. Just like his unwavering style, his heart and grit remain there as well. Follow along as we take you through Allen’s style evolution (or non-evolution).
1994 or 1995
Where it all began. While playing college basketball at Georgetown, Allen Iverson popped up on the radar while rocking the quintessential 90’s oversized shorts, tees, and fitted caps.
A few years down the road and he’s still rocking oversized everything. By now he’s added on his signature chains and doorags.
The year Stern tried to hold Allen Iverson back by trying to clean up the NBA’s image. With Stern’s new dress code, players were no longer allowed to wear any oversized jersey’s, chains, doorags, basically anything that defined Iverson’s style. Looking back now, AI expresses that all he was ever doing was expressing himself and being true to who he was. In an interview with Complex, he explained that “guys is supposed to be able to be original and dress like how they want to dress. The NBA can’t dress no grown man”.
Towards the end of his NBA career, Iverson was still sticking true to his style, (i.e. oversized jeans and jersey). But it’s refined over the years, and now his clothes are a little less baggy and almost fit him normally.
A couple years after he’s retired, and Iverson’s scaled down a bit on the oversize scale. His t-shirt and jacket seen in the picture is actually pretty normal sized. But his chains and fitted hat is still there, and that’s all we need to declare classic Iverson swag.
Maybe the picture that best describes how Allen Iverson’s style represents his trueness to himself. It’s 2016, and he’s sitting down for an on-air interview on Sports Center. His interviewer is wearing a suit and it’s a sit down interview. Yet Iverson is still rocking his ripped oversized jeans, loose tee, and chains. Iverson’s swag was always about comfort and originality, and after all these years, it still speaks to the same message. Never change AI, never change.