Allen Iverson, trying to resurrect his NBA career in the place it started, returned to Philadelphia in his terms, a humbled man.
One thing he proved is that he can still draw a crowd. Iverson spoke at a packed press conference today at the Wachovia Center's Hall of Fame room, displaying emotion not seen in his first 10-plus year with the 76ers.
Fighting back tears and not winning the battle, Iverson spoke about what it means to return to Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, Iverson agreed to a prorated amount of the $1.3 million veteran's minimum salary, which becomes guaranteed only if he remains on the roster Jan. 10, the date when all NBA contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season.
Iverson spoke most glowingly about the fans, who he claims have always held a special place in his heart.
"I have a love for them and they love me and it's evident," Iverson said. "When I had the opportunity to come back here [voice cracking]. I couldn't turn it down."
Iverson remained emotional for much of his 35-minute press conference in which he was joined by Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski.
Stefanski said that Iverson is expected to make his debut in Monday's game at the Wachovia Center against one of Iverson's former teams, the Denver Nuggets.
According to Stefanski, Iverson wasn't guaranteed any minutes or a starting spot, but . . .
"We brought him here to play basketball," Stefanski said after the press conference.
Iverson, who complained about coming off the bench in his last two stops in Detroit and Memphis, insinuated that he would be content with any role with the Sixers.
"All I told him [Stefanski] was give me an assignment and I will help you win basketball games," Iverson said.
Iverson played 10-plus seasons with the Sixers from the 1996-1997 season until being traded to Denver on Dec. 19, 2006.
This year he played three games for Memphis, averaging 12.3 points. Iverson was officially waived by Memphis on Nov. 16.
A 10-time all-star, the 34-year-old Iverson led the NBA in scoring four times as a Sixer.