Sixers legend Allen Iverson returned to Philadelphia on Sunday to lead his 3’s Company team against Julius Erving’s Tri-State squad in Big3 basketball action.
Fans were furious when Iverson did not play in what many thought would be a sure thing to see one of the city’s basketball heroes in action. It would have been a return to the court after a 12 year absence.
About a half-hour before the first of four games tipped off, Iverson announced in an Instagram video that his role on Sunday would be limited to coaching.
“To all my fans out there, based on advice from my doctor, I will not be playing in the game tonight for the Big3,” Iverson said. “I will be there to coach my team and beat Dr. J’s team, I will be interacting with all my fans, and we’ll have a great time. You will see some great basketball. I love you fans for supporting me all of the years up to date, and I’ll see you when I get there.”
There were boos during the game between 3’s Company and Tri-State, the final one of the night, which Erving’s team won. Some fans apparently left early and there also were chants of “We Want A.I.!”
Iverson addressed the crowd after pregame introductions.
“I’m glad I had a chance to come back home,” he said. “Ain’t nothing like this relationship we have. I love you for supporting me throughout my career and still today you’re still supporting me.”
Early Monday morning, Big3 founder Ice Cube tweeted that he was disappointed Iverson was unable to play, but that doctors told Iverson “not to get out of bed.”
“A.I. not playing was disappointing to everybody, including myself.” Ice Cube stated via Twitter. “Doctors told him not to get out of bed and he came anyway. Sad but true.”
“I respect everybody’s thoughts and comments. And always keep it 100.
@thebig3 will do better whenever we come back to Philly. I owe you one.