Not too many players have had a sneaker line that compares to MJ‘s in terms of iconic style and on-court performance. When Allen Iverson was drafted with the #1 overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, he immediately won the hearts of young fans with his indomitable spirit – both on and off the court. His shoes, like his signature headband and arm sleeve, were representative of how he played the game.
Truth be told, there are few lines that can compare to the Air Jordans purely in terms of sales and how much they were coveted. The Answer himself wore Jordans to a Sportscenter show after he was first announced as a Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, paying tribute to the man who was his inspiration, his muse.
But his shoe line is probably next in line in terms of the amount of value it generated for its parent brand, Reebok. He owes a lot to the company, who set up a trust fund that has saved him from bankruptcy after he squandered the money he made from his playing days way too early.
We take a look back at the shoes Iverson wore in his first 9 seasons in the league:
#1 Reebok The Question
Generally thought of as Allen Iverson’s most popular and recognizable signature shoe, the Question was introduced for his 96-97 Rookie of the Year campaign. Designed by Scott Hewett, the Question was pretty much a finished product before Allen Iverson even signed with Reebok. The toecap and huge Hexalite windows are quite recognizable. The ghilly lace system didn’t stray far from the primary shoe Allen wore at Georgetown — the Air Jordan XI.
It is one of the best-loved Reebok basketball shoes of all time. If you’re living in India, you’ve probably seen some kind of a crossover/fake/replica of this shoe worn by someone at a mall, park or as just a running shoe.
#2 Reebok Answer 1
Iverson should arguably have been an All-Star in all of his first 10 years in the league, but he got snubbed until his 4th season for the All-Star team despite averaging more points than any other point guard in the Eastern Conference at the time. His second season was a comparatively low point, though, as the Sixers finished last in the Atlantic division and his scoring average fell a bit. But he did unveil the iconic ‘Answer’ series, made to fit guards ready to cross their opponents up into oblivion.
The first shoe in the Answer series was highlighted by its hidden lacing system. It also comprised of a Series 2000 midsole paired with a visible DMX cushioning setup. Two things debuted on The Answer — the I3 logo, and DMX cushioning. The in-line models had patent leather hits sprinkled across the boot, while all-blue and all-red limited numbers were shiny from top to bottom.
#3 Reebok Answer 2
The Sixers made the playoffs for the first time around in this season, banking on Iverson’s scoring exploits as he averaged 26.8 points and 2.3 steals per game – and still missed out on an All-Star Game berth (because of the lockout-shortened season this time around, the Game wasn’t played). He rocked the Answer 2 boots while putting opposition defenders in a blender on a nightly basis.
Also known as The Answer Lite, The Answer II utilized a lighter-weight version of DMX to provide Iverson with the same cushy ride on a lighter, faster shoe. The swoopy design makes for great viewing. It is equipped with DMX Lite for load distribution and 3D Ultralite cushioning.
#4 Reebok Answer 3
The Answer III provided the same cushioning as The Answer II in a more refined package – there were no frills or thrills on this way. Even lighter than the Answer 2, the Answer 3 featured a full leather upper, traditional lacing system and DMX Lite technology.
The Georgetown colourway was the one that stood out, but it was the Michigan State Spartans who won a title in them (the guys who weren’t wearing Questions anyway). After all, AI had captured the collective conscious of the entire USA by then with his unconventional style choices. Not to mention his finally-All-Star-Game-worthy performances.
#5 Reebok Answer 4 DMX
Arguably the most popular and personalized Answer model, the 4 was famously worn by A.I. during his MVP and NBA Finals season in 2000-2001. Him playing opposite Reebok superstar Shaquille O’Neal in the Finals was a matchup made in heaven for the sneaker company.
The traction pattern on the soles of these shoes was built for a guard who’s ready to cross someone up. Now, why would that be? The DMX I-pak now boasts DMX foam. The foam is light in weight but also dense, making it a rigid shoe which doesn’t grow to fit your foot like Nike’s best shoes. The fit and lock down offer most of the support while the TPU shank offered just enough torsional rigidity to make them above average.
#6 Reebok Answer 5 DMX
A logical successor to the IV, The Answer V got rid of the zipper that characterized the IV. It did keep the DMX, though, while a Velcro strap across the heel was added for extra cushioning. Like all of the Answer shoes made before this, the materials used on this piece were predominantly leather-based.
A notable change was the change in the back-strap used for adjusting the fit of the boot – it became wider on this edition than the Answer IV. It sported a hook-and-loop structure allowing players to adjust the Achilles portion of their foot to their desired length and fit, a convenient add-on that modern shoes are missing out on.
#7 Reebok Answer 6
The 2002-03 season marked a bounceback from a disappointing year for the Sixers. Although they didn’t make it to the Finals as they did 2 seasons back, a first-round exit that ended their 2001-02 campaign was a marked downgrade from the glory of 2 seasons back. AI was able to concentrate more on his game following the easing of the pain he suffered from due to the death of his best friend the previous year – the one that was the root cause of the ‘Practice’ rant.
The Answer 6 marked the return of the zipper shroud and the exit of DMX. Forefoot ‘grenade’ construction provided a low-to-the-ground feel, but the loss of DMX mean that the forefoot didn’t have as much cushioning as it did before. The ‘IVERSON’ detailing on the forefoot gave it a pretty dope signature touch, though.
#8 Reebok Answer 7
DMX was brought back for The Answer VII. Its design was inspired quite a bit by the Air Jordan XIII and XIV. Lower and lighter than The Answer VI, the VII was made available in eight colorways, including a green/yellow/white to honour Iverson’s Bethel High. The line’s famous cushioning system supported a dimpled full-grain leather upper, and spandex foam collar lining. Duracourt rubber on the outsole made for improved durability and abrasion resistance.
#9 Reebok Question 2
AI debuted the Question 2 sneakers at the Athens Olympics in Greece, 2004 – the kicks were released especially for that tournament. However, Team USA underwhelmed all through the tournament despite having the likes of AI, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Stephon Marbury on their roster – losing 94-90 to Lithuania in the group stages before bowing out of gold medal contention in the semifinals against Argentina with an 89-81 loss. They just about managed to bag the bronze medal, and the whole tournament was a letdown.
As were Iverson’s Question 2 sneakers. Reebok tried to pull off a funky look with the Question 2, and succeeded at that. But the new line barely had any commercial success, with a lot of sneakerheads associating it with Team USA’s failures at the Olympics.
#10 Reebok Answer 8
The 2004–2005 season saw Iverson and the Sixers bounce back under the tutelage of new head coach Jim O’Brien. The additions of their first-round draft pick Andre Iguodala, and All-Star forward Chris Webber, who was acquired in a mid-season trade allowed a rejuvenated Iverson to win his fourth NBA scoring title with 31 points. He also averaged 8 assists for the year, and helped the 76ers climb back into the postseason with a 43-39 record.
Reebok celebrated A.I.’s eighth signature shoe with 8-shaped perforations throughout the shoe’s leather upper. The Answer VIII made clear what part of the line it was, with an even bigger 8 on the outsole. The “Iverson” script on the ankle collar was a nice touch.