Tyronn Lue Explains How Allen Iverson Saved His Career In The NBA Finals

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Tyronn Lue On The Famous Iverson Stepover- "Iverson Making It To The Finals Really Saved My Career."

Perhaps one of Allen Iverson's most famous moments came during the 2001 NBA Finals.

His opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers, were a perfect 12-0 through the first four rounds and were heavily favored against the Sixers Game 1.

Shockingly, and through the greatness of Iverson, the Sixers stole that first game in overtime, giving L.A. their first loss of the postseason.

After nailing a clutch jumper that all but sealed the fate for Philadelphia, A.I. stepped over his defender, Tyronn Lue, on his way back down the court.

Although the 76ers would go on to lose that series, that moment by A.I. became one of the most iconic in NBA history.

Looking back on that game, and the series as a whole, Tyronn Lue gave us his own perspective on what it was like for him to go against Iverson, and how that series literally saved his career.

"Iverson making it to the Finals really saved my career," Lue said. "Without Iverson, there probably wouldn't be me."

In June 2001, Lue was a seldom-used backup guard who had been squeezed out of the rotation by Rider and thee-point specialist Mike Penberthy. He was 24 years old and about to enter free agency. He was worried about his future.

The expectation of a showdown with Iverson figured heavily into the decision. The Lakers were stocked with veteran guards like Bryant, Shaw, Ron Harper and Derek Fisher, but they needed a quick, feisty defender to check Iverson if Philadelphia won the East.

When the 76ers knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Lue's role in the Finals was assured.

The now-famous and well-known play is not actually as embarrassing as it seems for Lue.

About that play: Yes Iverson won the moment, hitting a tough jumper over Lue, part of a seven-point burst that pushed Philadelphia to a 103-99 lead with 48.2 seconds left in overtime.

But that moment was not as embarrassing as it appears.

Lue had forced Iverson into that tough shot by staying step-for-step with him. And though Lue fell, it was not because he was faked out by a slick move; he simply stepped on Iverson's foot after the shot.

"The funny part about it, people think like he crossed me over, I fell down and then he stepped," Lue said. "I contested his shot. And I'm walking backwards, and I step on his foot and I fall. And he stepped over me. And they make a big deal out of it."

Lue not only became an NBA Champion that year, but he also secured his future in the NBA. After those Finals, he would go on to play 8 more years in the NBA until his retirement in 2009.

So, although Allen Iverson never went on to win a Championship, at least he can say he saved a man's career -- even if it was by accident.