IVERSON wins MVP award

Tuesday, May 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Allen Iverson, who led the overachieving Philadelphia 76ers to the best record in the East, was picked as the NBA's Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.

Iverson got 1,121 points to beat out San Antonio's Tim Duncan (706 points) and Los Angeles' Shaquille O'Neal, last year's winner, who had 578 points from the panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.

Iverson _ at 6 feet (1.83 meters) the shortest player in NBA history to win the award as well as the lightest at 165 pounds (74 kilograms)_ had 93 first-place votes out of a possible 124. Duncan had 18.

He is the first Sixer to win the award since Moses Malone in 1982-83, the last year Philadelphia won a championship. Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving also won the award for the Sixers.

Iverson led the league in scoring for the second time in three years, with an average of 31.1 points per game; was first in steals (2.51); and tied for first in minutes (42.0).

He earned MVP honors in the All-Star game after his 25-point performance led the East back from a 21-point deficit, was NBA Player of the Month for January and was Player of the Week twice.

Iverson scored 40 or more points 17 times during the regular season, including a career-high 54 against Cleveland on Jan. 6. He matched that with a scintillating performance last week in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto.

Last year, Iverson was the only player other than O'Neal to get an MVP vote from among 121 cast. O'Neal would've been the first unanimous MVP choice.

The award caps an amazing turnaround for Iverson, who was nearly traded last summer because of his contentious relationship with coach Larry Brown.

Iverson promised to change his ways before training camp opened and lived up to it, taking over as team captain, playing unselfishly and becoming a leader on the court.

He also overcame controversy surrounding the pending release of his debut rap CD, which contains lyrics that NBA commissioner David Stern called ``coarse, offensive and anti-social.''