Sixers star Allen Iverson and rapper 50 Cent have plenty of everything, but yesterday one South Jersey tailor bestowed upon each a one-of-a-kind gift.
Fred Anderson gave the celebrity duo - who were hawking their respective shoe designs at the Reebok store on South Street - each his own custom-made, bulletproof vest. Warm and fuzzy gifts to be sure in the syngergistic world of the NBA and hip-hop music.
AI's piece had his Sixers jersey, complete with the No. 3, sewn on the front and back of a white vest. Anderson used real gray leather with a blue border for 50 Cent's black vest.
"I think they'll love it. Wouldn't you love it?" asked Anderson, of Willingboro, N.J., who sews silks for race horses.
Fred was one of some 300 fans who gathered outside of the Reebok store, on South Street near 4th to catch a glimpse of Iverson and 50 Cent, both of whom came by with plenty of posse.
Girls screaming; 50 jumping on top of his black 2003 Chevy Suburban to wave at the crowd; lenspeople jockeying for position both inside and outside the store.
What a dream for a celeb-starved town.
Or a nightmare for either of Philly's mayoral candidates.
Many in the African-American community wondered why such a high-profile event would be held on Election Day after such a contentious campaign that includes rumors of government conspiracies against one of the candidates.
During the 10 minutes or so the Reebok handlers allowed for questions at a late-afternoon press conference in the store's small quarters, Iverson was asked whether he thought his and 50 Cent's appearance on South Street would deter citizens from voting.
"I hope not. I really feel that everybody should vote," said AI, who gave his support to Mayor Street. "He's OK by the kids. He tries to do the best he can with crime and that's important for me. Anything he can do to try and stop the violence as much as he can do for the kids is all positive in my eyes."
Although he hadn't voted by yesterday afternoon, he said he would try to exercise his right. But his day was expected to be locked up from there on in: after the store appearance and autograph signing at the store, Iverson and 50 Cent were scheduled to hit the roads with their SUVs and head to New York for an event.
But at least some fans were responsible enough to vote and see their favorite celebrities.
"If you're a responsible adult, you know your obligations to do certain things," said Jamila Hatley, 25, of West Oak Lane, who wore a "50 Cent" shirt she made with yellow gold rhinestones. You'll go out and vote today despite what's going on."
Added another fan, Katrina Brown, of Northeast Philadelphia: "It's no reason for people to use this as an excuse."