Hustle Mindset

Allen Iverson Had To ‘Learn The Hard Way’ Due To Not Having A Plan After Retirement — ‘I Never Had A Blueprint, I’d Be Lying If I Acted Like I Had A Plan’

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Allen Iverson is a cultural icon, and the influence that he’s had on the NBA still rings true today, but his moves outside of the game are just as impactful.

Nicknamed “The Answer” for his ability to deliver on the court, the Virginia native says his decision to take his talents and skills to the next level to provide for his loved ones was a no-brainer, but it did come at a cost.

“When you love the people that you love, you act accordingly,” he told AFROTECH™ during an interview. “You react off of what makes your heart beat. Business-wise, it’s not the best thing in the world to do. It took me a long time to implement the word ‘no’ into my vocabulary. It has its ups and downs, but, to me, I don’t know about anybody else. There’s really no blueprint to how you do it. I just think you let God handle it.”

As someone who has never shied away from being himself, Iverson appreciates partnering with brands that don’t attempt to change him. 

Moreover, it’s been his recipe for success since forming a relationship with Reebok shortly after becoming the first overall pick for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1996 NBA Draft.

“It’s a blessing,” Iverson expressed to AFROTECH™. “Reebok has been great to me. Our partnership has been the most beautiful partnership that you could think of. They always, from day one, let me be myself. They didn’t try to change me. They always marketed and promoted me for being me because they knew who I was from the beginning. It’s always been an authentic relationship and it’s everlasting. You know what I mean? It’s supposed to be. It just matches… like peanut butter and jelly.”

As previously reported by AFROTECH™, Iverson landed the deal of a lifetime with the athletic wear company in 2001 after leading the 76ers to the NBA Finals.

Under the deal, he receives $800,000 yearly and has a trust fund of $32 million that he will receive access to on his 55th birthday in 2030.

“From the first meeting I knew that that’s what I wanted to do,” he said in terms of his decision to sign with Reebok vs. the other companies lined up with offers. The former NBA superstar and current Hall of Famer now serves as the brand’s vice president of basketball alongside president Shaquille O’Neal.

 “Financially, that had something to do with it,” he said jokingly. “But, the direction and how they wanted to deal with me and move forward, I felt like it was the best thing for me. I had a lot of other companies that came to me and their pitches were great, but Reebok’s was better.”

Thanks to partnerships like the above taking flight at the top of his career, Iverson can manage to work with brands including Pepsi as he continues to enjoy retirement.

He recently joined forces with the brand to kick off the DraftKings Zero Right Bracket Challenge to assist fans with their decisions as March Madness is underway.

“The opportunity and the trust they have in me, it’s a beautiful thing,” Iverson said. “For them to believe in me and to have an input in something so powerful, it all goes back to my belief in God and what he has in store for me, and Pepsi just believing in me and giving me the opportunity to do something special.”

With his NBA days behind him, AFROTECH™ also asked Iverson the ways that he set himself up for success off the court, which he admits was never really top of mind for him when he was playing.

“I never had a blueprint. I’d be lying if I acted like I had a plan and thought it all out or anything like that,” he explained. “Honestly, that’s where a lot of my downfalls, if you want to call it that, came from… because I didn’t have a plan. I was 21 years old. I was on the fly. I never had money before in my life. My success was on a small scale. My popularity was on a small scale… only in Virginia, you know what I mean?”

He continued, ” So I had to honestly, at 48 years old I can tell you, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go through trials and tribulations. I never had the stability and the people behind me who could teach me how to meander in this life and figure everything out. I had to do it all by myself and learn the hard way, but at the same time, I think it was a blessing for me because it taught me so many things and helped to develop me into the person that I am today.”

For Iverson, the love from his fans and the community overall after all of these years is still overwhelming and something that he does not take lightly.

“It makes me feel good about myself, obviously, but it makes me feel good about my foundation and the people who helped me become who I am today,” he said. “Because I didn’t do this by myself. You can’t become someone like myself doing it by yourself. It takes so many people. My family, my friends. All the people who contributed to helping me and developing me into being who I am, and I’m still an unfinished product… I want to get so much better in life. I want to do so many other things.”

Iverson added, “The basketball chapter is obviously over. But, just still having an impact… It says a lot about what I did and who I tried to become just by being an authentic man and not trying to be perfect. Not trying to be cocky or arrogant or anything like that, but just being confident about who I could be in life. It’s all coming around just the way that I wanted it to. I’m just blessed and lucky to be who I am. If I died today and had the chance to come back tomorrow, I would want to come back and be me.”





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