PJAS 10-11

Łukasz Muniowski
Allen Iverson: Celebrity and the Event
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 10 (2016), pp. 183-194


Allen Iverson can be characterized as an event, because listed at 6 feet and weighing just 165 pounds, he won four scoring titles in his NBA career, and was one of the best shooting guards in the history of the league. Small, quick and explosive, he was an exceptional talent with a complicated personality. Iverson was a trendsetter, as important off as he was on the court. He was a villain, but one that was “cool” enough to root for. His basketball career is best summed up by two events, which occurred just a year apart. One was his memorable crossover and shot in overtime of Game One of the 2001 Finals, the other was Iverson’s press conference a year later, known now as “The Practice Rant.” This article will analyze both of these events with the aid of various critical texts, most notably by Slavoj Žižek. It will explain their significance to the modern shape of the NBA, how they influenced players that joined the league after Iverson. In doing so, it will establish AI as an important, truly revolutionary event – a force that influenced not only basketball culture, but modern America.

Keywords: Allen Iverson, NBA, Žižek, event, basketball, celebrity

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.10/2016.11

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