In the NBA, nicknames hold quite a bit of value. Each player gets a nickname based on their attributes and actions on and off the court. While some nicknames can be excellent, like Allen Iverson and ‘The Answer,’ Michael Jordan and ‘His Airness,’ not everyone gets that lucky. Some players get a nickname due to their performance once, and it just sticks around, like ‘Pandemic P’ and Paul George.
These nicknames can either be something the players decide for themselves or push the agenda, like ‘The King’ and LeBron James. Or nicknames can be something that teammates, media personalities, or fans give.
In the 90s, Allen Iverson decided he wouldn’t let his nickname be decided by strangers and took matters into his own hands.
Also Read: “I’m Feeling Good, I’m Gonna Play”: When Michael Jordan Suited Up Against Shawn Kemp and co. Despite Injuries on Both Feet
Allen Iverson was given ‘The Answer’ nickname by college friend Jamil Blackmoon
Allen Iverson knew he was going to the NBA, even when he was still a kid in college. He wasn’t wrong, as AI was drafted as the 1st pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. AI knew he needed a nickname for himself before making it to the big leagues.
According to the book ‘Not A Game’ by Kent Babb, Iverson found ‘The Answer’ while folding laundry with his close friend, Jamil Blackmoon. At the point of their discussion, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had retired, and Michael Jordan hung up his boots after winning three rings. The NBA needed a new superstar, someone who could be their answer and become the face of the league.
“The NBA, approaching the end of the Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan eras, faced nothing but questions. Blackmon blurted out his suggestion, and Iverson loved it.”
Right there and then, ‘The Answer’ was minted. Just a few hours after their discussion, AI went to a local tattoo parlor and got the same inked.
“Hearing the nickname echoing in his mind, Iverson sat in the tattoo chair and pointed at his left arm, where his shoulder met his biceps. He wanted his new handle to ride with him forever, to define him, to speak for him. The needle vibrated and pierced Iverson’s skin, forming nine letters in Old English type, and when the artist was finished, Iverson saw it for the first time: THE ANSWER.”
Also Read: “Kobe Bryant Was a Gym Rat at 19”: Tracy McGrady Revealed ‘Eat, Sleep, Basketball’ Mantra of Lakers Star, Which Inspired Him to Succeed
AI once shared he wanted to be like Shaquille O’Neal
All throughout his basketball career, whether it was high school, college, or the NBA, Allen Iverson was always the smaller guy on the court. He despised big men, and for right reasons. The Answer even admitted how he used to toy around with big men during team practices.
In an interview once, AI admitted that he wanted to be a smaller Shaquille O’Neal. He wanted to be as dominating and assertive as Big Diesel was, while being about a foot smaller than Shaq.
Also Read: “Nobody 6ft 6′ and Under Can Guard Me”: Larry Bird Once Challenged Michael Jordan and Every Other Guard in the NBA