Amid the swirling tauntings that surrounds him up to this day, Tyronn Lue has no ill feelings after being terrorized by Allen Iverson in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals.
Lue fell as a poor victim of Iverson’s historic night to hand the Los Angeles Lakers its first and only loss of the 2001 postseason. Remarkably, the hall of fame guard capped off the night with one of the greatest plays in NBA history, draining a crucial mid-range jumper over the raucous Staples Center crowd and his sticky contest to lead the underdog Philadelphia 76ers clawing the first blood of the title series.
And the rest was history.
The iconic “Step Over” sequence orchestrated by Iverson continues to make some noise up to this day. But for Lue, he has nothing to be ashamed of – as it was all normal and he did his best to contain the former league MVP.
Joining J.J. Reddick in his ‘Old Man and the Three’ podcast, the current L.A. Clippers mentor provided chunky insights about the play he became involved with whom Iverson emerged as the main actor.
Via Ky Carlin of the Sixers Wire:
“It’s crazy because I’ll say, first of all, just growing up, and he’s only like two years older than me, but I still idolized him,” Lue said. “Just coming into league, he was already in the league two or three years before me. It was Jordan then it was AI. That’s who I looked up to. 6-foot, braids, fast, so I don’t think I’ve ever said that, but I looked up to him. So having an opportunity, a chance to play against him in the finals, and he made the move and step over, but it wasn’t really a big deal.”
“Like, people go crazy. He crossed me over, I fell down, then he shot, and he stepped. I mean, he snatched it back, I contested it, I fell and he stepped over me. I fell when I contested it. I fell into his foot, like, I rolled my ankle a little bit, fell down, he made a shot, and stepped over me like ‘Oh! That’s a step over!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, well, I mean, it’s AI’. That’s my guy, but like it’s not—he crossed me over, I fell, rolled over, he shot it, stepped over me. I mean, but no, it is what it is, but I think Doug Collins put a lot on it too though. Like ‘Oh! He stepped over him!’ and that add an extra to it and it became more and more but you know, it is what it is.”
The clownings he received, and will continue to gain from Iverson’s action over 20 years have passed, doesn’t distract Lue to enjoy being part of several snapshots of NBA record books.
“You play hard, you’re gonna get dunked on, you’re gonna get crossed over, you’re gonna get a lot of things. And then guess what? I’ll always be in NBA history. They’re gonna show it all the time. So I’m always gonna be relevant no matter what happens!”
It is truly a wonderful play that deserves a portrait for a basketball fan’s perspective, but Lue deserves a major respect for not making the play not so much of a big deal.
In the end, Lue got the last laugh. Behind the leadership of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, things went upward instantly for the Lakers. They won four-straight games en route to their back-to-back championships.
Meanwhile, on the long-term perspective, Lue enjoys a good rich of indelible experiences involved in basketball. Besides playing alongside O’Neal and Bryant, he also shared the court with Michael Jordan in the Washington Wizards. He can also boast anytime he wants that he coached multiple superstars and supervised the only team in league history to climb back from a 3-1 deficit and proceed to win the title against the best regular season team of all time.
At the end of the day, Lue keeps winning and will truly be a content of the association’s most memorable moments forever.