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Allen Iverson returns home, eager to please Philly fans

From FOX Sports - July 15, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP)Allen Iverson plans to run on that familiar court one more time, cup his ear the way he used to in his prime and implore his adoring fans to make more noise.

AI is back home, Philly.

Its exciting, Iverson told The Associated Press. I just want to give them a couple flashbacks of the time I had here. I love them. The only relationship like the relationship I have with Philadelphia fans is (Michael Jordan) in Chicago. Its everlasting. They supported me all throughout my career, through all my ups and downs and thats why I love coming back here. Theyre the No. 1 fans in the world.

Iverson returns to the floor at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night when the Big3 comes to town. The main event features two Philadelphia legends. Iversons 3s Company team faces Julius Ervings Tri-State team in the fourth game. Dr. J wont be playing, though.

Iverson hasnt done much of that, either. The former NBA MVP is a player-coach but he has spent more time coaching in the first three weeks. The 42-year-old has six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Im going to do whats best to get us the win, Iverson said, explaining that he cant guard bigger opponents in the post.

Thats just fine with Ice Cube.

You gotta commend AI, the rapper-actor told AP. Hes trying to win. If he was on the ego tip, he wouldnt sub himself out, even though hes getting posted up. Thats the cool thing about it. You see guys real competitive juices going.

No matter how little he plays, Iverson is an integral part of Ice Cubes league of former NBA players.

We dont launch without AI, Cube said. We had names, we had players. But we didnt have box office, we didnt have that marquee name that you need to make a splash in a league like this. Whats great with him and Dr. J and playing in Philly, you have Dr. J who helped cement the ABA, and you have Allen Iverson establishing the Big3. Years from now, we can look back and say this wouldnt have happened without AI taking a chance on us.

Iverson, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year, is enjoying the ride.

Seeing guys give it their all and watching how the fans embrace it, guys putting on a show for them, thats what its all about, he said. These games havent been watered down. Theyve been competitive. I like the direction its heading. Im happy to be a part of it. Years to come, I can brag to guys about being one of the first guys to play in the Big3 because its going to soar, man. Its going to get bigger and bigger every year.

Three weeks into Season 1, Ice Cube is already thinking ahead.

I can definitely see the future of this league where guys step straight from an NBA court onto a Big3 court, he said. I think the competition is gonna get stiff. Im pretty sure theres some big names out there waiting to play the game and have fun. Everybody is having a ballplayers, fans, the league.

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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