PHILADELPHIA -- 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.
''It's special because of everything I went through last summer,'' Iverson said. ''I had to look in the mirror and see things I didn't do right as a person or a player. I promised myself when I look in the mirror after this season and know I did everything right.''
Iverson -- at 6 feet the shortest player in NBA history to win the award as well as the lightest at 165 pounds -- 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 among 121 cast. O'Neal would have been the first unanimous MVP choice.
Team chairman Ed Snider, who also owns the Philadelphia Flyers, compared Iverson to former Flyers star Bobby Clarke, who is now the hockey team's general manager.
''This guy is probably the most special athlete I've seen since Bob Clarke,'' Snider said.
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