Allen Iverson crossed up Michael Jordan as a rookie and never looked back from there. He blazed a deeply individual trail in a league that was pushing homogeneity on its players at the time, making an impact on the game still felt today both on-court and off. His accolades are endless: 11-time All Star, Rookie of the Year, and three-time All-NBA First Team stand out. What that list of achievements does not include, though, is arguably the most iconic moment of his storied career. It can’t include this because there’s no All-NBA team for Pulling Nasty Shit, no Kia-sponsored trophy for stomping a man’s reputation into the hardwood under the heel of your Reeboks. Yet when the statue of Iverson is erected in his home state of Virginia—which it will be, one of these days—there is only one moment from Iverson’s storied career it can depict: the Step Over. And now, the shoe he wore for maybe his career’s most iconic moment is coming back.
AI was a scrapper and an overachiever, but still, nobody expected his injury-plagued Sixers to put up much of a fight against the world-beating Lakers when the teams met in the 2001 Finals. And, ultimately they didn’t, winning only that first game before the Lakers took home the next four. Still, Iverson’s Game 1 remains a legendary night of basketball heroics that the Sixers icon capped off with the most disrespectful moment in modern hoops history: the moment he sent Lakers guard Tyronn Lue to the floor with a crossover, and then stepped over him on his way back down the court. It was Iverson distilled to a moment; an underdog stealing a game simply because he wanted to make the basketball world regret thinking for a moment that he couldn’t.
“That was AI at his rawest. He was the most relentless baller,” Dallas Mavericks forward (and fellow Reebok athlete) Josh Richardson tells GQ. “If he wanted to get by you, he was getting by you. Before, during or after the play—if you were on the hardwood and you weren’t wearing black and gold, you were next. It didn’t matter if it was around you, through you or over you. And if you were made to look foolish, that was that. He was always a competitor first.”
Iverson’s first signature shoe, the Reebok Question, might be the most beloved of his signature line. But it was the Answer IV that he wore throughout his 2000-01 season, a career year that culminated in a trip to the Finals and the Step Over. That season saw AI net MVP, All-Star MVP, and the league titles in scoring and steals. It’s the sort of run that immortalizes a player—and the kicks he wore along the way.
Hardly a timeless silhouette, the Answer IV is a shoe that screams 2001, from the tumbled leather to the bulky mold to the instantly recognizable lace-concealing zipper that runs up the shoe’s middle. But a shoe doesn’t need to be as timeless to go down as a classic. Reebok recently brought back the shoe in a red and white colorway that sold out fast, proving there are still plenty of heads out there hungry for vintage hoop vibes.