When Allen Iverson rang the ceremonial bell before last Friday’s Sixers game, the Wells Fargo Center erupted.
Just a few minutes later, chants of “Jim-my But-ler” filled the arena, followed by the man himself hitting a three in his home debut. To say the place was electric would be a gross understatement.
Butler is bringing the same excitement to the building as Iverson once did. After the Sixers’ win over the Suns Monday, the two embraced and had a brief discussion.
This wasn’t the first time the pair had met. Butler was an admirer of Iverson growing up and now the tables have turned with Iverson appreciating what Butler is bringing to his former team.
Oh, man. One of the greatest players to ever play the game. Me and A.I. have always been in touch with one another. I’m a fan of his since I was little. I’ve always looked up to the way he plays — the heart, the passion, the emotion, all that good stuff. We talked about some stuff All-Star weekend and he was telling me how much he loves me as a player and as a person and look how everything unfolds. Now I’m here in Philly and he’s one of the GOATs to play here, so that’s a good feeling.
Iverson has been a bigger presence at Sixers games over the last year or so. During Butler’s debut Friday, Iverson was animated, getting out of his chair several times as Butler continued to make big plays.
Butler had a relatively quiet night Monday (16 points) but has certainly made his presence felt since joining the Sixers. With his acquisition, the Sixers are hoping to do something they haven’t done since A.I. was here: reach the NBA Finals.
“When you’re talking about a killer on that court, he’s one of the few names that you bring up,” Butler said. “Just listening to him, picking his brain, for him to tell me that he thinks I’m a really good player, that goes a long way. Especially for me, who did it the long way. I had to go to [junior college] and all that stuff. He saw a lot in me since Day 1 I guess and he let me know.”
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