While watching the Cleveland Cavaliers play the Golden State Warriors during the NBA Finals, it’s been hard for me to look at Tyronn Lue and take him seriously. Not because his team has been getting mollywhopped by Golden State. No, it’s because he will always be the guy Allen Iverson stepped over in the 2001 NBA Finals after shaking him up and hitting a jumper from the corner, a move that is ingrained in the minds of even the most casual NBA fan. Y’all, this was 15 years ago. What?
Another notable date is June 7th, A.I.'s birthday. The Answer is now 41. Forty-one, people. That’s damn near 50! Anyway, in honor of the greatest pound-for-pound NBA player of all time — though can we still say this with Steph Curry around? Can we create another category for A.I. just for the culture? — let’s take a trip down memory lane to lament just how old a lot of us really are.
1. A.I. crossed over Jordan almost two decades ago.
2. The Tyronn Lue step-over was so epic that it feels like it happened yesterday. It was not in fact yesterday. I only know this because Tyronn Lue now has grey hair.
3. A.I. told you he was supposed to be the MVP and "we talkin bout practice" almost FIFTEEN. YEARS. AGO.
4. This was around the same time respected music critics genuinely believed Ashanti was the superior artist to Beyoncé, and Bey hadn’t even started sniffing her now universally revered, epic solo career.
5. Russell Wilson and Ciara were high schoolers who probably signed celibacy pledges…so actually not much has changed.
6. When A.I was traded to the Denver Nuggets, Kevin Durant still played for the Seattle Supersonics. Four facts based on this fact: A. Seattle still had a team. B. Durant actually experienced a life before OKC. C. iPhones had barely been invented. D. This makes me feel old.
7. Allen Iverson played for the Pistons. I bet most of y'all don't remember that. Cause it was a long ass time ago.
8. At the height of A.I.’s career (arguably 2000-2001, though 2003 was underrated), these phones were cutting edge.
9. The absolute first installments of Lord of the Rings, Fast and the Furious, Ocean’s 11, and Shrek debuted.
11. A.I. reached his peak before Hurricane Katrina was ever a thing
12. Only people in Illinois knew what a Barack Obama was
13. And fewer people knew what a Bill Simmons was…because he was not yet hired by ESPN
14…or yet fired by ESPN
15. Aaliyah was making hit music
16…while Rihanna was an unknown in Barbados busting out jams like this at local talent shows
17…and Kanye produced his first hit song (but hadn't rapped for real yet)
18…and people still wore Girbaud jeans
19…and neither Facebook nor Myspace had been invented yet, but it didn’t matter because we still used Black Planet.
20. Titanic was only 4 years old.
21. A.I. dropped multiple 50 point games against the Raptors and Dell Curry during the playoffs. As in Steph Curry’s father Dell Curry.
22. A.I’s toddler son would join him at postgame press conferences. That toddler son is now grown enough to play for Georgetown's college basketball team. That's like seeing baby Riley Curry staring down reporters one day and the next she's getting recruited to play at Stanford. Except actually 15 years passed and you don't know what the hell you did all that time.
23. When A.I. played for the Pistons, Barack Obama hadn't begun his first term of office
24. Allen Iverson is now older than Jordan was after two of MJ’s retirements and Jordan’s subsequent, unnecessary return to the league.
*DJ Khaled voice* If you’re familiar with at least half of this, you're old too. Congratulations!