SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- We celebrate Allen Iverson for his authenticity and then, as his sport bestowed its highest honor on him Friday night, he deceived us.We thought he held it together during his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement speech. He started off with watery eyes and voice even more gravelly?than normal, then he seemed to gain strength as he powered through a half-hours worth of memories and appreciation. But we couldnt see what was happening behind the podium.My legs were shaking the whole time, Iverson confided after the ceremony that featured him, Shaquille ONeal, Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes and Tom Izzo.It was so important to him that he get this right, that he thank everyone who helped him get here. The whole thing still felt so surreal to him, even after it was over, even as he clutched the Hall of Fame trophy that he can add to the Hall of Fame ring and Hall of Fame jacket he picked up this week -- evidence upon evidence that he belongs among the all-time greats in his sport.He stood in a stairwell, just off the Springfield Symphony Hall stage, waiting for the go-ahead to exit the building and climb into an SUV for the after-party. Whatever poise he had summoned to get through his speech was gone now. I covered Iverson throughout his two seasons at Georgetown and covered him in the NBA Finals and I had never seen him look like this, so bewildered, so ... shook.Thats the thing with Iverson: You never knew when the emotions might pour out.He really came unglued the night before, during the annual dinner for the weeks other honorees. Chris Paul, who received an award for community service along with Jalen Rose and Tubby Smith, became emotional himself upon his first visit to the Hall of Fame, overwhelmed by how small his place felt in the grand history of the sport. Paul looked down the stage at Iverson seated at a table in the front row and recalled how he once wanted to be like him, to the point he begged his mom to buy him a pair of Iversons signature Reebok shoes. That did it for Iverson, who buried his face in his hand and started crying. It wasnt the first time he had heard a story like that, but listening to a great player like Paul describe how much Iverson meant to him, well, that got to Iverson.When it was his turn to speak Friday night, Iverson had a chance to tell his three Hall of Fame presenters how much they meant to him.He thanked Georgetown coach John Thompson for saving my life, for giving me the opportunity.He distilled his oft-contentious relationship with coach Larry Brown down to its most important element: Once I started to listen to him the way Im supposed to and was coached by him, thats when I became an MVP.He paid his highest compliments to Julius Erving: Just a great, great man. Handsome, old-school dude too.The rest of his speech followed a traditional template but with a distinct Iverson flare. His thank-yous to his friends included shoutouts to Jughead, Stanky Wanky and Stump. He invoked imagery from the Chappelles Show Rick James sketches to describe his first encounter with Michael Jordan. And in a Hall of Fame first, he said, I want to thank Biggie Smalls, Redman, Jadakiss, Tupac and Michael Jackson for being my theme music throughout my career.Iverson was struck by the same realization that hits so many people at the moment of their greatest individual recognition: Its the product of almost everyone but them.Izzo took it a step further, thanking not only his family, his mentors and his players, but the game of basketball itself.Its allowed so many of us to live our wildest dreams, Izzo said.Because of the sport, Izzo has traveled the world, met presidents, even played a game aboard an aircraft carrier.Basketball can be humbling, Izzo said. Its taught me to laugh, to celebrate victory. Its also taught me to cry and handle defeat with class. Shaq could have taken his show-closing speech in a number of different ways, but he opted for funny. (Shaq loves making fun of Iversons practice rant, but Yao beat Shaq to it when he led off with a wisecrack that Iverson should have made the first speech, because Yao needed more time to practice). A friend of Shaqs said Shaq chose to go the funny route in part as a defense mechanism to avoid getting too emotional. So Shaq riffed on his sage-burning coach Phil Jackson, who once told him sage is the cousin of cannabis, so Starting today, Phil and I will be opening medicinal sage dispensaries across the country.He zinged his old ally/rival Kobe Bryant, calling him a guy that pushed me and helped me win three titles in a row. ... He also helped me get pushed off the team and get me traded.It felt like something out of a roast.He squeezed in one last retort to the chorus of critics he heard during his career, whom he quoted in a whiny voice as saying, Shaq, bend your knees. Shaq, concentrate. Shaq, play defense:Shut up.He recalled the unprintable name his high school coaches always called him. He told a humorous tale of the time he drew unexpected inspiration from Dick Vitale. He talked about the time he did a Buick commercial, even though he couldnt really fit in the car.Hey, they paid me $3 million, Shaq said. What, you want me to say no?No, we want you to keep being Shaq, just like we want Iverson to be Iverson, Yao to be Yao.Yao gave such a stellar speech in his second language that the one time he stumbled and apologized, the crowd gave him a rousing cheer of appreciation/encouragement.These players personalities were always as important as their game, to the point that it didnt feel sad that theyre no longer capable of duplicating the highlights that played in their introductory videos. Theyre still capable of making us relate to them or laugh with them thanks to their words.Most of all, Iverson still grabs us with his persistence in the face of his own vulnerability. Vans Old Skool Sale . On Mar. 16, coming off a "fight of the year" performance at UFC 154 the previous November, St-Pierre faced Nick Diaz at UFC 158 in what would be his eighth defence of the welterweight title. Using his superior athleticism, St-Pierre cruised to a five round, unanimous decision victory setting up a much-anticipated title defence against number one contender Johny Hendricks. Vans Australia Sale . Nigeria beat surprise package Ethiopia 2-0 in the second leg of their playoff for a comfortable 4-1 aggregate victory. Victor Moses converted a 20th-minute penalty after an Ethiopian handball, and Victor Obinna made certain of Nigerias place in Brazil with his powerful free kick in the 82nd at UJ Esuene Stadium. http://www.cheapoldskoolaustralia.com/ . "It was nerve-wracking, but we pulled through," said Collaros, who threw four touchdown passes to lead the Toronto Argonauts (8-4) to a 33-27 win over the Calgary Stampeders (9-3) in front of 28,781 fans at McMahon Stadium. Vans Old Skool Australia Sale . - The Washington Redskins have cut defensive lineman Adam Carriker and punter Sav Rocca. Old Skool Australia Cheap . The Brazilian goalkeeper signed a loan deal with the Major League Soccer club on Friday as he looks to get playing time ahead of this summers World Cup in his home country.In Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins found out the perils of falling into a 2-0 hole to the Boston Bruins, losing 2-1 in double overtime to Boston Wednesday and trailing the series by a nearly insurmountable three games to none. In a tremendous game, one of the best of the postseason, the Penguins outplayed the Bruins, outshooting them 54-40, but LW Chris Kunitz was the only Penguin that managed to get a puck past Bruins G Tuukka Rask, who has now allowed one goal or fewer in five of his last six starts. Rask now has a .940 save percentage this postseason, leaving him behind only the Kings Jonathan Quick (.941). While there were some questions raised about which goaltender would start Game Three for Pittsburgh, there was no doubt that Tomas Vokoun was the right decision. He stopped 38 of 40 shots in the game and has a .931 save percentage in the playoffs. Just as he was in Game Seven of the first round against Toronto, C Patrice Bergeron played the hero for the Bruins with the double overtime goal, redirecting a pass from LW Brad Marchand on a two-on-two counter-attack. Bostons first goal was tallied by C David Krejci, the playoff leader with nine goals and 21 points. Bergeron and Krejci had to handle a heavy workload as Bostons fourth-line C Gregory Campbell, suffered a broken leg and ended up playing only 6:51. With Campbell out, and the game going to double overtime, Krejci played 35:46 and Bergeron logged 31:59 to lead Bruins forwards. D Zdeno Chara led all skaters with 42:05 of ice time. Enforcer Shawn Thornton skated just 3:56 for Boston, unable to find the right fit with his centre, Campbell, injured. Among the faceoff leaders, Bergeron had a tough night on the draws, winning 13 of 35 (37.1%). Sidney Crosby (21 of 36, 55.3%) and Brandon Sutter (15 of 25, 60.0%) were best on the dot for Pittsburgh. Marchand was dangerous for the Bruins, tying D Johnny Boychuk with a team-high six shots on goal, while LW Miilan Lucic registered a game-high eight hits.dddddddddddd Even though he was stripped of the puck by Bruins RW Jaromir Jagr before the winning goal, and finished the game minus-2, Penguins C Evgeni Malkin was the most dangerous player on the ice, registering a game-high 10 shots on goal. D Kris Letang played more than 40 minutes and had eight shots on goal, while Penguins RW James Neal had seven shots on goal. Neal and Letang had the best puck possession numbers of the game for Pittsburgh, while D Torey Krug was tops for Boston. As great as Malkin was, he didnt manage a point and has been held off the scoresheet in five of the last six games. Sidney Crosby was also held scoreless and has been held without a points in four of the last six games. Coming into the series, Boston needed their one-two punch at centre -- Bergeron and Krejci -- to fare well in their matchup against Pittsburghs elite tandem and, so far, its no contest. If the Penguins are going to come back, theyll need their power play, which had scored 13 goals in 11 games through the first two series, to get on track. Through the first three games there has not been a power play goal scored in the series, with Pittsburgh 0-for-12 and Boston 0-for-10 with the man advantage. Down three games to none, the Penguins have to see the writing on the wall. Boston was the last team to relinquish a 3-0 series lead, in 2010 against Philadelphia, but its asking a lot for a team to win four straight against a Bruins team that is, right off the top, winning the matchup of goaltenders and centres. This is the fate that befalls a Penguins team that didnt play well in their first two games at home. Even though they played very welll in Game Three, certainly well enough to win, they didnt and theyre left in a virtually impossible position. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ' ' '