Jay-Z_Allen Iverson

A Tale Of Two Rookies: Jay-Z and Allen Iverson



The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AllHipHop.com


With the first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft the Philadelphia 76’ers selected a controversial 5’11 Guard from Georgetown and forever changed the face of the NBA. Before Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal was the closest the NBA came to representing the true spirit of Hip-Hop. But just as a new era of Hip-Hop was emerging, a new Hip-Hop athlete would have to emerge and A.I. didn’t disappoint. The cornrows, the diminutive frame, the tattoos, the attitude, the gangsta rap demo, the entourage, the extravagant spending, the abandoning of the V.I.P. set,  the preference to party  in clubs with other black people his age regardless of the fact that he was a millionaire and we were broke. All of those things made Allen Iverson our hero. The soundtrack for this era was provided by……

Jay-Z burst onto the scene in 1996 with Reasonable Doubt. The album was such an accomplishment that all these years later some hardcore fans argue that it’s his finest work and that even his best album since then doesn’t match the wordplay on display here. Prior to 1996 not many outside of New York had given much consideration to Jay-Z. His song “In My Lifetime” wasn’t considered a major hit but did get some play on the Friday night mixshow circuit. And super knowledgeable fans remembered him from his connection to Big Jaz (as Jaz-O was referred to on the D&D Project compilation album that dropped in 94).

[ALSO READ: The Three Jay’s: Jay-Z Throughout The Years In His Own Words]

Though both emerged in the year of 1996 Jay-Z has proven to be the far more successful more transcendent figure. Iverson heralded the full arrival of the Hip-Hop culture in the NBA. The old guard, the Tim Robinsons, Scottie Pippens, Michael Jordans and Karl Malones of the world were beginning their final descent. The players who weren’t particularly fond of rap and grew up in the pre-Hip-Hop world were getting ready to hang up their shoes. Allen Iverson’s crossover of MJ didn’t do anything to tarnish Jordan’s legacy but it meant a lot to us kids barely younger than Iverson. When he was booed by the crowd at the all star game for winning the MVP of the rookie game it solidified it for us. This was our guy and we had to circle the wagons. We absolutely tolerated no Iverson slander, about his game, about his image, about his off court problems, troubled past, or ratchet mother. A.I. was our guy. And the players that followed breathed a little bit easier knowing somebody had already taken the slings and arrows from those who lamented the Hip-Hopification of the NBA.  Sadly his personal demons overwhelmed his talent and ultimately led to a career that will always be debated about in terms of what could have been.

The myth perpetuated by the media during the best of A.I.’s years was that Sixers team President Pat Croce and coach Larry Brown argued over keeping A.I. on the team after the 2000 season with Larry on the side of “no way”. And while they auditioned and traded many sidekicks for A.I.’s one man show none ever had any traction. His ultimate achievement on the basketball court may be the sheer force of will that he summoned to elevate a team consisting of him, Dikembe Mutombo and 10 role players to the NBA Finals during the 01’ playoffs to take on Shaq in his prime and Kobe during his ascendance.

Jay-Z on the other hand while being an insider in the Hip-Hop world began getting his school of hard knocks MBA under the tutelage of some of the greatest executives in entertainment history. I’m sure Harvard Business School doesn’t offer a better education than watching Dame Dash and Kevin Liles scream at each other in a Def Jam Boardroom in 1998. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on a wall during those years. Is there any wonder Jay-Z is a business, man and not just a businessman.  Thus Jay-Z is fully prepared and well positioned for a life “after rap” the opposite of the way that A.I. isn’t fully prepared for a life after basketball.

Some have argued that Jay-Z’s artistic achievements post ’06 (the year of his comeback from his first retirement) have been inconsistent. And a few will assert that his tenure as President of Def Jam was negligible at best. And the way Roc-A-Fella Records ended never sat well with fans. Similarly Allen Iverson’s production on actual basketball court post ’06 was never that great. And the way he left his original team definitely doesn’t sit well with fans.

Jay-Z hasn’t really truly failed his fans though. I mean never. There have been low moments in a career of mostly highs. There was the disappointment of Blueprint 3. But the most hardcore Jay-Z stans (myself included) could argue that Blueprint 3 has some great moments. Some of us weren’t happy with the luxury brand rap of “Watch The Throne”. Some of us were less than thrilled when we bought a ticket to see him and Kanye perform “N—– in Paris” eleven times back to back to back.

[ALSO READ: President Obama Gets Funny With Jay-Z and DJ Khaled At Correspondence Dinner]

But Jay-Z has accomplished so much. He basically destroyed the Roc-A-Fella brand and created the upstart label/management conglomerate  Roc Nation. He helped bring the Nets to Brooklyn. He dissed the Yankees so well in that New York song that they didn’t even take it as a diss and invited him to perform it… at YANKEE STADIUM.  And when it was time to take his brand to the next level he displayed zero fux about dropping his ownership stake and turning Roc Nation Sports into the Roc Nation of sports. (See how deceptively simple that is).

Allen Iverson has had a rough time of it. His alcoholism, his gambling, his ugly home life, his horrendous divorce, his money issues, his failed stints in Memphis, Philly, and….Turkey!!!. All of those things have us looking at our childhood hero s’ing our mfh’s . Washington Post articles and other recent profiles show us a tattered soul. It makes us sad to know that sometimes even money can’t save us from the ghettos in our mind. While Jay-Z continues to surprise us by innovating and reinventing himself, Iverson meekly  accepts that he may never play basketball again and continues to dress like he did 10 years ago when super baggy jeans and throwback jerseys were the height of urban couture.

So while we are forced to look back to the early 2000’s and late 90’s to relieve the A.I.’s greatness, we can almost certainly look forward to great things from Jay-Z and his movie scoring, athlete contract negotiating, Hip-Hop, rock and pop management company/record label. All that and he still had time to thug out Beyonce. Meanwhile until Time puts out a list of the world’s 100 most tragic figures we won’t see A.I. on any magazine covers anytime soon.



E. Knight lives in Philadelphia. Check out his blog boxingwithgod.com. Read more of his AHH Blogs HERE.

If you would like to write for AHH here’s how.

  • Klev1

    Who the *#%@ is Tim Robinson?!??!


      I totally agree who is, are or were the “Tim Robinson’s” of the NBA?!?!!? Great Story by the way!

    • TheGreatGazoo2012

      David Robinson Tim Duncan fusion. You didn’t know. Shoulder shrugs

  • wickedjones

    life is real

    • Guest

      E. Knight – great article – informing, well written, with facts and not rumors – that was educated and different from the usual – AHH reporters should learn from this – and your fan base will grow.

      • lox

        Gary U a bitch nigga.. Truly

      • ^^This

      • Guest

        lox – think you know who I be – while you scared to show yourself – Truly

      • lox

        shut yo ol hoe ass up.. TOM ass nigga… smack ya motha

      • Guest

        lox – you just a internet tuff talker,

      • lox

        Ur jus a old uncle tom who will get tha shit beat outta him fuckn w real niggas.. u faggot..

      • Guest

        lox – step to me – I’m waiting

      • EL_BARK

        Gary this shet is false. This niggah a jay stan…

        AI has plan for life after basketball. Smh he has 36 million in a trust that he cant touch until he 55…

        So all that ish this dude talking about his drinking & gambling is mute & void… Furthermore jay couldnt walk a day in AI shoes…
        Trust & believe…

      • Difference is…A.I. was attacked for Hip Hop…while Jay Z was in Hip Hop.

        A.I. >> Jay Z

        Even though Jay Z has more $$.

      • ZUBU

        True God, he didn’t even mention AI got 30 plus mil on stack plus he is going to get an NBA pension for his years of service prior to getting the trust money. SMH.. some people just love to kick a brotha when they THINK he down.

      • Guest

        bark boy – prove it – this guy researched – show yours.

      • EL_BARK

        One i am not a boy.. So dont adress as such…
        2nd you do the research, i already know what i am talking bout… Its you that hop on this niggah dik for stating facts which he didnt do

      • EL_BARK

        Where did this guys cite any source for the info he posted…
        So this guy did research based on what???
        Your point is mute…. To tell me i have to show my research & you state this guy opinion as facts is irony at its best

        In other words EJECT this niggah dik out your mouth before you choke.

      • EL_BARK

        Money issues, ?????? This niggah is misinformed….

        Ai fuk money up, yes
        but AI money aint never fuk up…..

      • Guest

        bark boy – if AI has a trust fund – don’t change the meaning of the article – which is the difference from having a trust to legally keep him from blowing his money – compared to meeting the world face to face and growing in constant big economic winning deals – and Jay z has a trust fund for himself TOO.

      • EL_BARK

        Yes it does change the meaning of the article. He is attempted to compare jay-z to AI, & stated AI has been not doing well with life after badketball which is false….

        Also a the trust was set up by iverson he wasnt force to fo nothing, therefore his whole point of iverson making bad choices with money is false…. If a person take 32 million & bank it for life after basketball. I will say that a very smart move…

        Also jay -z is a leech that only came up after selling his crew out…. He is hardly the busniess man that people make him to be….

        Look at def jam when he was president,
        His ownership in the nets,
        Closing of 40/40 clubs in AC & vegas

        Jay-z just have advisor that tell him what to do with his money.

        When he is hands on in a business he fails.

  • bisolabliss

    Of what purpose are these weekly Jay-Z write ups on allhiphop? Can somebody please enlighten me, I truly don’t get it

    • EL_BARK

      That what i was thinking, this niggah & the site on jay balls…

      • RMfag

        i dont see the issue

    • RMfag

      dicc is good

  • wizefire

    Terrible story… allhiphop needs to gtfo jay’s dick…

    • RMfag


      • wizefire

        kuz jay z aint everything and they big him up more than needed…

      • RMfag

        Oh. Well I thought you meant something else.

  • plsDontreply

    D.I.C-K ridah’s aint whoa…

    • RMfag

      sucking is

  • Chris

    This sht is disgusting. Clearly AHH has a pro-Jay-Z agenda going on. How much is the Jiggaman paying you to keep his balls firmly pressed against your esophagus?

    • RMfag

      Free room and board.

    • Gee

      Ive said this for years! AHH always makes Jay-Z win. Honestly AHH aint been the same since they got all these banners and shit… WTF does Gillette razors have to do with HipHop. Somebody cashing a check… Somebody sold out.

  • I agree y ahh dick riding this nigga! in his wake he xrossed & left for dead a number of people heard & un heard of. so in the end as yall can see… its just sean carter. now ask him how that really feel. when you poor anything a nigga with money does is gold… broke a$$ niggas! smh. I wish I was born white!


  • Nicholas Alexander

    they both fucked Nas baby momma though

    • mxtralive

      That to me is the only connection

    • gukibupytew

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  • Did AI do something to AHH? Went in hard on that dude’s life…

    • RMfag

      We didnt get to suck him off

    • It’s just reality… He fell off bad. He’s broke and jobless.

  • Modesto Koczwara

    Wow, why praise Jay-Z? He is the most crooked in the music business, trying to get cozy with Obama…..

  • Allen Iverson was the man at 5´11 there was never a better player with more heart.I don´t know about his financial problems our his attitude but I feel sorry for him.Jay-Z isnt the best rapper and has so much money and is how old again.He should quit rapping focus on a carrer without rap and just focus on his many business ventures.Jay is one of the best rappers but a shady ol fart.