Why Allen Iverson’s Style Influence Starts With His Braids

Allen Iverson is on the cover of our February issue, and (along with Deion Sanders and Derek Jeter) a member of the inaugural class of the GQ Sports Style Hall of Fame—a new a way for us to honor the athletes whose influence extends far beyond the field of play.

In 1996, Allen Iverson arrived in Philadelphia as the first overall draft pick, and the love was mutual from the outset.  He was in demand, and the jersey sales, season ticket packages, and TV schedules all reflected that. He won Rookie of the Year, and his signature Reebok model, The Question, flew off the shelves in a release limited to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. He crossed up Michael Jordan

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

But there was one thing Iverson had difficulty with in adjusting to in the City of Brotherly Love. It had nothing to do with the local food or slang, Philly’s one-way streets, or the team’s offensive sets. He simply could not find a barber to his liking. So while he maintained a fade during his two years at Georgetown, he decided to grow his hair early into his rookie campaign. During the 1997 NBA All-Star Weekend, he committed to cornrows, which he wore sporadically throughout that first season.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/NBAE

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