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Iverson Calls Rookie Award a Triumph Over His Critics

May 02, 1997|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — It was all thanks to his mom--and no thanks to the media that had just voted point guard Allen Iverson the NBA's rookie of the year.

Iverson credited his mother for helping him become the first Philadelphia 76er to be named the league's top rookie Thursday. "I wouldn't be anywhere near the NBA without my mom. She gave me the heart I have now."

Ann Iverson interrupted her son as he spoke, rushing to give him a hug and a kiss. "This is your award," he said, handing the statue to his mother. "I love you."

Iverson said the award represents a triumph over critics in the media who acknowledged his talent but complained about everything from his perceived selfishness to his choice of friends.

"I think I got a bad shake this year," he said. "I got the short end of the stick."

Iverson's 23.5-point average led all rookies and was sixth in the league overall. He also ranked seventh overall in steals (157), eighth in minutes (40.1 per game), 11th in assists (567) and 13th in three-point baskets (155).

He also had 40 points or more in five consecutive games, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's rookie record.

But the voting was close. Iverson received 44 of a possible 115 votes. Minnesota's Stephon Marbury was second with 35. Vancouver's Shareef Abdur-Rahim was third with 25 votes. Boston's Antoine Walker (six) and New Jersey's Kerry Kittles (five) also received votes.

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