31. Allen Iverson's Bars Result in NBA Beef
Date: October 2000
The Moment: Hip-hop and the NBA had struck up a close relationship in the '90s, with rappers befriending and endorsing various NBA players, who would in turn appear with rappers. The relationship reached a boiling point with the authorities that ran the NBA—and specifically, commissioner David Stern—when, right before the start of the NBA's 2000-2001 season's training camps, a Philadelphia radio station started playing "40 Bars," a rap track recorded by 76ers star guard Allen Iverson. Among its lyrics: "Come to me with faggot tendencies and you'll be sleeping where the maggots be" and "You man enough to pull the gun? Be man enough to squeeze it." The song ended with the sound of a gun being cocked and a trigger being pulled.
The Impact: Public outrage ensued. Iverson would eventually decide to change the lyrics after being summoned to a meeting with NBA commissioner David Stern. On October 1, 2001, Iverson announced that he was putting the kibosh on his rap album and career.
The Upshot: Basketball players learned to be wary of their relationship with hip-hop, lest they invoke the wrath of the authorities that pay them. Furthermore, Iverson's reputation as one of the bad boys of basketball was crystallized, something that would haunt him through the later years of his career, which would overshadow his on-the-court accomplishments in the press.