“The Answer” Revealed: The Truth Behind Allen Iverson Bowling Alley Incident

Television special exposes real deal about the bowling alley situation involving A.I.

By: Taren Vaughan

“The Answer”, “A.I.” or as I like to call him “King of The Crossover”; All of these names refer to one of the most incredible yet controversial NBA basketball players of today, Allen Iverson. Iverson’s careers as both a college and professional basketball player have been most successful ones. But all of his glory did not come without its share of trials and tribulations.

Like a number of other black professional athletes, the beginning of Allen Iverson’s life journey was not an easy one. Born to a single teenage mother and growing up in a rough Hampton, Virginia neighborhood, Iverson faced a lot of adversity during his younger years. Although his childhood was not picture perfect, he was very involved in sports, namely football and basketball. As Iverson continued to excel in athletics, On February 14, 1993, he would find himself in a situation that could have changed his life forever. An incident involving Iverson and a group of his friends at a local bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia turned into an all out brawl. The fighting parties consisted of Iverson’s friends and other black teenagers and a group of Caucasian teenagers. It was said that the altercation started because the word “Nigger” was used towards the group of blacks present at the bowling alley. To this day, Iverson claims that he left before the actual fight took place.

Clearly, both groups were in the wrong but there were only four arrests made that night. And they were Allen Iverson and three of his friends. Although he was not yet 18, Iverson was faced with a felony charge of maiming by mob. If convicted, he would have served 15 years in prison with 10 years suspended. Fortunately for Iverson, the Virginia Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 1995 due to lack of evidence.
For a long time, I couldn’t fathom why Allen Iverson and his friends were the only individuals placed in handcuffs that night. But after watching Steve James’ “30 for 30” special on A.I., I now understand exactly why the situation unfolded the way that it did. The amount of racism that was present in the city of Hampton during the early 90’s was unbelievable. This film not only addresses the incident that happened at the bowling alley. But it takes a look at the entire community that Allen Iverson resided in. James also included several interviews involving different Bethel community leaders and law enforcement officials as well. Iverson had a large number of supporters, mainly African Americans, who wanted nothing but for him to be treated fairly during the trial. Those who were not convinced of Mr. Iverson’s innocence felt like the laws should be even stricter than they already were. So you see this trial was much bigger than Allen Iverson. It really showed people how complex a situation can become simply because of the color of your skin.

What if that charge brought up against Allen Iverson wasn’t dropped?

Georgetown University and NBA basketball would have missed out on one of the best ball handlers the game has ever seen. Allen Iverson is known for “breakin’ ankles” and we love to see him do it each and every time. Now you may not be the biggest Allen Iverson fan. And yes, he is not always the best behaved person off the court. But after learning about all of the things that he has endured, you should have a new found respect for him.

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