Friday, 9 September 2016
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!"-Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa)
"Look at those tattoo's"!
"This f###### kid"!
"He's just a criminal"!
Inked on his arms and all round his whole body to his heart and soul are a thousand stories that tell more words than the critics prose could ever proliferate. Their ink is gone with yesterdays newspaper, only to be recycled again and again like headlines or head-lice. The creed of his tattoos last for life. Forever like engraved stone. Artistically woven like the seams of a leather basketball pressed against his forehead is hair braided like they've never seen before. Streamlined. Cornrowed. Cool A.F. They saw the size of this kid and tried to slight him. But you want to know the skinny? Forget the physical. Psychologically he was an Adonis. They always underestimate the hearts of men. If the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan was the Marvin Gaye of Basketball than number 3 was 2Pac. Top five dead or alive. And that was just off one 82. You've heard the Jadakiss lines. Don't be throwing around thrones and get out the kitchen. You can't stand the heat. And to think they labelled him a convict just for '40 Bars' or his rap-sheet of sticking up for his friends. Taking his rap and doing his time. Don't wait until there's none left to appreciate. We lost too many legends this year. Ali, Price. But just like them this Class Of '16 member from the one from '96's soul and style will never die. Forget going out of fashion.
Allen Iverson was never afraid to be Allen Iverson. Because there was no one like him. More than one in a million. The first Georgetown Hoya that wasn't built like a Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, or future anti-Shaq and Kobe sidekick Dikembe Mutombo. And John Thompson loved this guy like a son. Even when hate came from every alley following that bowling incident. Because Ezail was more than the picture they tried to put him in. Or even the frame. So much so he almost made it in another game. But forget touchdowns because this kid had to change this game. And he did the moment he crossed over number 23. Magic! But Mike. The torch never gets passed in this 1-On-1 game. It has to be taken. Just ask E.J. Now the only shot you'll get of this boys mug is one of him holding up a suit jacket stitched with a crest that reads, 'Hall Of Fame'. They finally got him to wear one. And it took Naismith to do it for the guy that re-invented basketball from the icon that would have rather worn cargo pants than Stockton shorts. And you thought Shaq's closet was big.
Even when he stands between peers and pillars of his generation this weekend in Shaq and Yao Ming, A.I. will once again show that size doesn't mean s###! He's the one that started this so-called today's small-ball revolution. And you want to talk about cooking up records? His simmering passion took one from that new milleniuum, championship Lakers that almost swept and dusted off their trophy cabinet to an unbeatable legend of Larry that almost flew like Bird. Your David to your classic Goliath tale. A greater Philadelphia story than Rocky. Basketball's Balboa! Philly's greatest sporting icon since the fictional fighter. With all due respect to the Basketball God Moses, or the good Doctor you must see. Because did you ever see this true warrior on a stretcher? You can't count the number of times they counted him out. Or all the hits he took as they knocked him down. But he always came up swinging! Shadowboxing with God. Crossing over Jesus. All with the blinged out piece round his neck. The same place they wanted to hang the word "criminal". Not guilty. But still he kept running. Kept rising! Kept going. Running all through the streets of Philadelphia like Springsteen for Hanks. Cracking concrete like Liberty. All until the final bell rang. Last night at the Apollo. The city of brotherly loves creed. The other Michael Jordan like B. No 2K17 for his career. For real he ran all the way up those Philly Rocky steps like Sly. Stepping over Tyrone Lue so cold, so cruel on the way. All the way to the stone sunmit where everyone jumps. But he just put a hand to his ear and screamed.
Now who's the champ?
You know the answer!
"Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that! I'm always gonna love you, no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain't gonna have a life."