When the ping-pong balls bounced in the Philadelphia 76ers' favor and landed them the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft, the answer was a no-brainer.
The answer turned out to be "The Answer."
The Sixers selected Allen Iverson with that top overall choice after two seasons at Georgetown to help resurrect a franchise that desperately needed a boost. The lightning-quick guard made an immediate impact and helped the Sixers reach the NBA Finals in 2001, though they fell in a hard-fought five-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Iverson's presence was evident in so many ways. He lifted an entire franchise on his barely 6-foot, 165-pound shoulders. He elevated an entire city and fan base. He made basketball enjoyable again in a basketball-starved place.
Was it always a smooth ride? Of course not. Iverson readily admits that fact. He hides nothing.
An 11-time All-Star and league Most Valuable Player in 2001, Iverson averaged 26.7 points per game on his way to four career scoring titles.
Despite some rocky moments later in his career, Iverson's body of work was clearly Hall of Fame worthy. Iverson will indeed be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night in Springfield, Mass.
This year's class includes 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal and four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes.
Other inductees include Zelmo Beaty from the Veterans Committee, Yao Ming from the International Committee, Cumberland Posey from the Early African American Pioneers Committee and Jerry Reinsdorf from the Contributor Committee.
Iverson was also a three-time All-NBA first-team selection (1999, 2001, 2005).
Way beyond the statistics was the passion that Iverson exuded night in and night out. His heart, grit and determination can never be questioned.
"I want my legacy to be the guy that came out and gave everything he had," Iverson said in April at the Wells Fargo Center. "The whole 165-pound, 6-foot frame, everything he had. I gave it. To my teammates, to my coaches, and my fans. I played every single game like it was my last. I always thought in my mind, this may be the only time that this little guy (fan) gets to see Allen Iverson, so I'm going to give him everything I've got. Because he might not be a season ticket holder, and see every single game, or be able to sit in the front row. The little man in the nosebleed seats gets to see this dude, and I always wanted to just put on a show for everybody on that particular night."
That he did.
There were so many highlights through the years in a Sixers' uniform.
In Game 1 of the NBA Finals in 2001, Iverson torched the Lakers for 48 points in an overtime victory. The Lakers went on to win the next four games, but the Sixers wouldn't have had a chance without Iverson. He was that dominant.
There was the 60-point effort against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 12, 2005 at the Wells Fargo Center in a 13-point victory. He added six assists, five steals and one blocked shot. And he only had three turnovers despite having the ball in his hands all night.
In that 2001 run to the Finals, Iverson poured in 54 points in Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals in an effort that was nothing short of sensational. He battled Vince Carter and won the duel. That effort gave the Sixers some much-needed confidence at the time.
One game that's not as universally recognized occurred in 1999 when Iverson recorded 10 steals against the Orlando Magic. The Sixers ended up winning that first-round series in four games and helped set the stage for what would eventually transpire in 2001.
There were countless other moments for A.I. in a Sixers uniform like the crossover against Michael Jordan, the Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals and so many more.
Iverson dazzled fans and put on a show every night.
"When I put my hand up to my ear," Iverson said of something he'll always remember. "That sent chills all through my body, because I knew that (fans) felt like I was feeling. They were excited like I was, if not more."
As a journalist, I must remain impartial. It's part of my profession, something I learned from my father, Phil Jasner.
Iverson's infamous "Practice" press conference on May 7, 2001 involved a sparring session with my dad, a former long-time Sixers beat writer who passed away on Dec. 3, 2010 after a legendary career at the Philadelphia Daily News.
Iverson and my dad grew closer during their days and long after that press conference.
My dad was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Iverson will go in Friday night. It's fitting in so many ways.
For this one particular night, I will take off my journalistic hat and applaud Iverson's entrance into the Hall.
"I wish Phil Jasner could be here today, especially on a day like this," Iverson said when he officially announced his retirement in 2013. "Rest in peace, I know he's looking down on this whole event. Thinking about the times that we laughed with each other and thinking about the times we fought with each other. But he was very inspirational in my career and he meant a lot to me."
Athletes and reporters don't always get along. Iverson and my dad didn't always get along. Seeing how Iverson has embraced my dad is so touching. I will be watching Friday night. My wife Taryn and my three daughters Jordana (10), Shira (6) and Leah (3) will continue to hear the stories of A.I. and my dad. I will forever be grateful for Iverson's class.
So he deserves this honor of being in this 2016 class.
The ride from being drafted to his rookie season to his whole career had bumps. But the highlights outweighed all else.
"In this profession you have no idea how hard it is to live up to all the expectations, to try to be a perfect man when you know you're not," Iverson said. "Being in a fishbowl, everybody looking at every move you make, talking about everything you do. It's just a hard life to live. It's a great one, I wouldn't trade it for nothing. I have no regrets on anything. People ask me all the time, 'Do I have any regrets?' I don't have any. If I could back and do it all over, would I change anything? No.
"Obviously if I could go back and change anything I would be a perfect man. And I know there's no perfect man and there's no perfect basketball player. So no, I wouldn't change anything. My career was up and down at times. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things I'm not proud of. But it's only for other people to learn from."