It became one of the most iconic plays in NBA history, but in the moment, on March 12, 1997, Allen Iverson was unaware of what he had done when he crossed up Michael Jordan. Iverson was a rookie, and the Philadelphia 76ers were 16-45. The Chicago Bulls, the defending NBA champions, were 54-8. The game itself didn't mean much.

But The Crossover was years in the making.

"I remember that play vividly because Michael Jordan was my hero, everybody knows that," Iverson said at a recent Thuzio event. "He was my favorite player, my idol, I literally wanted to be like Mike. I used to always tell my family and my friends and my teammates in college and high school and even the guys for the Sixers, if I get the greatest player to ever play the game on me, I'm gonna try my move on him.

"So I remember I came off a screen or something and I heard Phil Jackson say his name, called him to switch out on me. Looking back on it, I'm thinking to myself, 'Damn, did you get nervous or did you think about it?' All I saw was him. And I just backed up and gave him a little one and he went for it, and I was like, 'Oh yeah, I got his ass now.' And all I was thinking about after the fact was that no one never probably would've known anything about that move if I wouldn't have made the shot afterwards because they don't do that on ESPN."

Iverson was 21 at the time, and as many Philadelphians knew, his postgame spot was quaint. The Answer casually watched the highlights of the 108-104 Bulls' victory in a well-known chain establishment.

"I really didn't know, especially being that young, what I had done," Iverson recalls. "And all of these years later, you got little kids, 5 or 6 years old, walking up to me like, 'Hey, you're the guy that crossed Jordan, right?' People still talk about it today. I didn't even think it was a big deal that night. I remember, somebody in here was saying they used to hang with me up in Friday's. Well, that's where I was at that night and I'm looking at it like, 'Damn, I didn't even know it was like that.' But that's where I was at, at Friday's when I realized what I had done."

Iverson grew up in southern Virginia, but he was a huge Bulls fan during Jordan's prime. Along with The Crossover story, Iverson went into detail on how as a child, he would get as close as possible to the TV to watch MJ.

"[My mom] used to always tell me, 'Back up from the TV or you'll be blind and never be able to shoot no basketballs. You're not gonna be able to see the rim if you can't see,'" Iverson says with a laugh. "I remember the wars that he had been in, and I thought I had been in those wars with him too, like when the Knicks used to beat him up and Detroit used to beat him up, I used to cry after the games. And my dad, he used to talk real bad to me. I can't even say the names he used to call me because I used to cry: A bunch of P's and MF's. 'You crying about a game? You don't even know that guy.' In my heart, I felt like I did know him. I felt like he was a part of me."

The Crossover Game was the third of four meetings between the 76ers and Bulls that season. Iverson was then being used at point guard, which kept him away from Jordan, for the most part, on both ends of the floor. Iverson says although he was developing his NBA confidence by that third meeting, he was still in awe of Jordan.

"I don't know if you've ever met someone and when you saw him he really didn't look human," Iverson says. "He didn't look like he was real to me. He looked like he was glowing. When they threw that ball up, it all went away. It was showtime. Everybody knows who No. 23 is all over the world, but tonight, you're gonna know who No. 3 is."

Iverson spent much of his 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame speech discussing his affection for Jordan. Nowadays, the two are actually friendly off the court, as they live in the same city.

"I live in Charlotte now, so I went to a Hornets game and he made sure I was straight at a Hornets game and we were in one of his offices," Iverson says of the Hornets owner. "This was this year. I was in his office. It was just me and him and one of my friends, and I was just telling him how much he meant to me and how much I love him. And I don't know if I can say it in here, but he was like, 'MF, you don't love me, you wouldn't have crossed me like that.' But that's my man."

NBA Sports Philadelphia's Marc Zumoff moderated the Thuzio discussion with Iverson, which took place at Vie in Philadelphia, where Iverson played roughly 11 of his 14 seasons.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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