Allen Iverson was born on June 7, 1975 in Hampton, Virginia. His mother, Ann Iverson, was fifteen years old when her son was born. Iverson's father, Allen Broughton, never had much contact with his son. Iverson's childhood was filled with constant hardship. As an infant he and his mother depended on his maternal grandmother, but soon after his birth she died from complications after surgery. Michael Freeman, who moved in with the family when Iverson was young, served as
Iverson's father and taught him the game of basketball. But Freeman moved in and out of jail after a work-related accident caused him to lose his job, and he turned to distributing illegal drugs.
Iverson and his two half-sisters lived with his mother in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Hampton. When his mother couldn't afford to pay the bills, the family would go without water, lights, and heat. A ruptured sewer line under the house filled it with a noxious smell and would sometimes seep onto the floor. Iverson spent his childhood dreaming of making things better for his family, but everything around him pulled him back into the ghetto. During his youth eight of his friends were murdered, including his best friend.
Despite poor school attendance, frequent confrontations with teachers, and troubles at home, Iverson kept it together just enough to be eligible to participate in sports. Football was his first love. As quarterback at Bethel High School, Iverson, nicknamed Bubbachuck by his friends, led the team to the state Class AAA football title in 1992. Only after his mother encouraged him did Iverson agree to try basketball, and the game soon replaced football as his favorite sport. Early on Iverson believed that basketball would be his ticket out of the slums. He had what he called "the Plan," to make it through high school, get to college, and earn a place in the NBA. Most warned him of his slim chance for success, but Iverson was determined.