Reebok is celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Stepover, one of the most iconic moments in NBA Finals history, with a special re-issue of the shoe Allen Iverson was wearing that night built to its exact original specs- the Answer IV "Stepover" 20th Anniversary Edition. Lapstone & Hammer is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting the exclusive early release on Saturday May 29th both in-store and online, ahead of Reebok's global release on June 4th.
June 6th 2001, game 1 of the NBA Finals, under a minute left in overtime. Allen Iverson just crossed up then-Lakers backup point guard and now current Clippers head coach, Tyronn Lue, to free enough space to sink a 20 foot jumper that put Philly up by 4 and gave Iverson 48 points in the game. Turning to run up court, A.I. was met by a prone Lue, who had fallen to the ground after contesting the shot. What happened next would become one of the most famous - and misunderstood - actions in NBA history. Iverson appeared to glare down at Lue and emphatically step over him on his way back up court. When Marv Albert, in his inimitable style, yelled out on the TV broadcast, "He steps over Lue!" an historic moment was born.
In the years since the game The Stepover has become a foundational piece of the Iverson legend, an indelible image crystalizing the defiance and competitive fire that couldn't be contained by his 6-foot, 165-pound frame. But it's an image that the man himself would like to be left in the past.
"I don't like it," Iverson said on the All The Smoke podcast in 2020. "Because I love him. I don't like people joking on him because that's my man. Me and him were big-time enemies when we played against each other; now we’re the best of friends."
Iverson states that there was no disrespect or malice in his action, "What’s so crazy is that I don’t know how it happened… like the moment and the feeling, like when I stepped over him, I didn’t know I did it. You don’t know the emotions in the game or what goes on… that moment, yeah it was dope when you look back on it, but I don’t like it."
In a time before social media, the players had no way to control the narrative. The Stepover was a meme before there were memes. It didn't matter if Allen hated The Stepover and what it represented, the media and the fans loved it. And that is all that mattered. Like it or not, a legendary moment was born.
For Allen it was never about the bullshit, it was all about getting the W. And that is what he and the Sixers got that night, snapping the mighty Lakers 19 game playoff win streak. 48 points, 5 boards and 6 assists. Carrying a team of role players up the mountain to snatch game 1 on the road from one of the best teams in NBA history. That moment was about so much more than stepping over Ty Lue. It was the pinnacle of a Hall of Fame career built on heart and hustle, grit and determination. It was the closest he would ever get to a championship. To reduce it to just one image of a perceived taunt- THAT would truly be one of the most disrespectful things in NBA history.
Releasing alongside the shoe is a collaboration we did with the multi-disciplined artist, Austen AG: the Austen AG x Lapstone "Stepover" capsule. Austen is best known for his concept of re-imagining iconic moments in sports through his unique skill and perspective. Our capsule features a black tee shirt and black shorts printed with Austen's reinterpreted image of The Stepover moment that replaces the bodies of AI and Ty Lue with their skeletal forms. Lapstone and AG branding appears on the back and left sleeve of the tee, and down the side and back pocket of the shorts.
ANSWER IV "STEPOVER" - $140
AUSTEN AG X LAPSTONE "STEPOVER" TEE - $54
AUSTEN AG X LAPSTONE "STEPOVER" SHORTS - $68
To model the shoes and the capsule we needed someone who is as big of an icon as AI, so we recruited a longtime friend and former collaborator of Allen's: rap legend Jadakiss. Aside from being Top 5 Dead or Alive, Kiss famously starred in two iconic Reebok commercials with AI for the Answer 5 and 6 that stand out for the black and white cinematography and Jada's custom raps. We caught up with the hip hop hall-of-famer on the hardcourts of NYC for the shoot.
The Reebok Answer IV "Stepover" 20th Anniversary Edition and the Lapstone x Austen AG "Stepover" capsule will be available on Saturday, May 29th only at Lapstone & Hammer @ 10:00am in-store & online.
Photos by Evan Kaucher
Modeled by the one and only Jadakiss