Sports Outside the Beltway

Allen Iverson’s Denver Nuggets Debut

It’s underway. Here’s his jersey:

Allen Iverson's Denver Nuggets Jersey Photo

UPDATE (12/23): Denver lost, 96-101 but The Answer had a very good game: 22 points and 10 assistants coming off the bench.

Allen Iverson's Denver Nuggets Debut Photo

Allen Iverson fought through jet lag, car sickness and pregame butterflies that felt more like birds before he finally got to play his first game for the Denver Nuggets.

When his debut with the depleted Nuggets was over Friday night, the feeling was familiar for the former 76er. Another crowd-pleasing performance, 22 points and 10 assists over 39 minutes, wasn’t enough to prevent a loss — 101-96 to the Sacramento Kings.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Iverson said. “That’s the only thing I thought about, just getting the first one by me. I wish it could’ve ended with a win. I felt it could’ve ended with a win.”

In his debut, playing on a team with only eight healthy players, the newest Nugget gave the kind of gritty, gutty performance that has become his trademark.

He played 39 minutes after a whirlwind of a day in which he arrived in Denver in the late afternoon, was whisked to the Pepsi Center, passed his physical, took a few jumpers on the practice court then suited up to be on the floor for tipoff.

He spent the first 8:35 on the bench. When he finally came in, he received a standing ovation, and never left the floor.

This was widely considered the biggest trade in Denver sports history since the Broncos brought John Elway to town nearly 25 years ago. It’s a trade many think could put the Nuggets — who have long played second fiddle in this city — into championship mode.

“They embraced me here,” Iverson said of the welcome he received. “It was just a great feeling and it was a feeling I wanted to get. A feeling I hoped to get. It was special to me, something I’ll remember and cherish the rest of my life.”

I suspect the 76ers will regret not figuring a way to make it work with Iverson. He’s their best player since Charles Barkley and, arguably, Julius “Dr. J” Irving.

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