Category Archives: Philadelphia 76ers

“Fall from Grace” – Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest little men to ever play in the NBA, and a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But there is no doubt that the 11 time All Star and four time scoring champion’s decline has been meteoric.

Iverson’s decline began in his disastrous stint in Detroit with the Pistons, where he was criticised for refusing to come off the bench, and his arrival saw the team slide from Eastern Conference contenders to first-round whipping-boys, as Lebron James and Cleveland made short work of the Pistons. It wasn’t all Iverson’s fault, but it didn’t help his situation in free agency last summer, when no one wanted anything to do with the 34 year old guard.

Eventually Memphis stepped in, but we all know how pear-shaped that union went. Three games, constant moaning by Iverson about having to come off the bench and a leave of absence for personal issues, saw Iverson waived by Memphis.

In December, Iverson re-signed with the Sixers, and I believed he could help the team push for the playoffs. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as the Sixers stink this season, and have currently lost five straight, after the loss to the Knicks last night. Iverson was released by the Sixers this month, only playing in 25 games for the team, after a series of personal issues and the extended absence from the team, that Iverson had to have to look after his ill daughter.

These personal issues have derailed Iverson’s career and look to threaten his post-basketball well being. ESPN reported last week that Iverson is suffering from gambling and alcohol issues, has been banned from numerous casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, and will “either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away”.

Add to this the impending divorce from his wife and the situation with his daughter, it seems that Iverson’s mind is not on basketball at the moment. But what will happen in the summer? Iverson is a shadow of his former self, there is no doubt about that. But he can still put up points, averaging 13.9 points and 4.1 assists this season for the Sixers.

But the excessive baggage, the non-existent defense and the refusal to come off the bench will cost Iverson dear. No team wanted him before this latest debacle, so it is hard to see who will take a chance on him this summer. He was playing for peanuts in Philadelphia anyway this season ($650,000), so he is great value for money. But it is hard to see who will gamble on the All-Star guard, especially if he refuses to play a reserve role. I hate to say it, but I think Allen Iverson’s career in the NBA is over.

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Breaking News: Allen Iverson is retiring

Originally, I was going to be writing a piece about the Atlanta Hawks, and how they were surprising everyone by sitting atop of the Eastern Conference. Then it happened. Allen Iverson has announced that he is retiring from the NBA after 13 seasons. I have mentioned A.I in a number of previous posts, and I am a big fan of the 6′ guard, all the way back to his days in Philadelphia. I just think it’s a shame it had to end this way, with Iverson essentially ostracised from the league, unable to find a club after walking out on Memphis over a week ago.
Iverson has released this statement today:
TO ALL OF MY FANS:
I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association. I always thought that when I left the game, it would be because I couldn’t help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However, that is not the case.
I still have tremendous love for the game, the desire to play, and a whole lot left in my tank. I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level.
Stepping away from the game will allow me to spend quality time with my wife and kids. This is a reward that far exceeds anything that I’ve ever achieved on the basketball court. I have prayed for this day and I see it as my greatest gift.
I want to thank the people of Reebok International Ltd., for always allowing me to be me and for supporting me my whole career through all the ups and downs. I have enjoyed 13 wonderful seasons in the NBA, and I am grateful.
I want to first acknowledge my fans everywhere, who have been with me throughout my entire career. Without you, there would be no me. You should all know that I appreciate your support from the bottom of my heart. Thank you!
To Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird, you guys gave me the vision to play the game that will be forever in my heart.
To my Mom, who encouraged and inspired me to play every day, and to all of my family and friends who stood by me from the beginning. Thank you!
To my high school coach, Michael Bailey, Coach John Thompson at Georgetown University, Coach Larry Brown and to all of my other coaches, teammates, administrators, owners and staff who’ve been a part of my career, Thank you as well!
I’d like to give a special thanks to the people of Memphis. I never played a home game for your beloved Grizzlies, but I want you to know how much I appreciate the opportunity given me by a great owner in Michael Heisley, and the support of the city. I wish the Memphis Grizzlies’ organization all of the success that the game has to offer.
And finally, to the city of Philadelphia: I have wonderful memories of my days in a Sixers’ uniform. To Philly fans, thank you. Your voice will always be music to my ears.
God Bless all of you,
ALLEN IVERSON
After clearing waivers with Memphis last week, Iverson was rumoured to be signing with the New York Knicks. However, even with a dismal showing so far this season, the Knicks were reluctant to sign A.I, even at the veteran’s minumum. Since his disastrous spell in Detroit last season, irreprebable damage has been done to Iverson’s reputation: which was underlined by a lack of interest in Iverson this summer. And then add the mess that was Iverson’s short-lived stint in Memphis: 3 games, 3 losses, constant moaning about coming off the bench, and then Iverson leaving the team for “personal reasons” and never returning.
That’s the reason why teams don’t want A.I. His attitude. It’s not about his talent, he still has what it takes to make a difference for a team. It’s a complete unwillingness to come off the bench. That is why contending teams like the Lakers, Cavs and the Magic want nothing to do with the former MVP and four-time scoring champ – who could play a part coming off the bench and win a ring. Even teams like the Nets and the Knicks, who could undoubtedly use some of Iverson’s scoring talent, would not take the risk after the Memphis debacle. Even Philadelphia, where Iverson had the best years of his career and a team that has no point guard and is struggling for results, don’t want him back.
Whatever you may think of Iverson, this is a sad end to a glittering career. A sure-fire Hall of Famer and perhaps the best little man in the league, arguably the toughest and best pound-for pound player ever deserves better. Maybe he will do a Michael Jordan and return this or next season, and accept a smaller role on a contending team so that he can end his career the right way. Whatever happens, this is a sad day for basketball…
UPDATE: Allen Iverson is returning to Philadelphia. A.I has signed a one year, non-guaranteed deal with the 76ers for the veteran’s minimum. The Sixers have signed their former franchise player as cover for the injured Lou Williams, who is out for up to 8 weeks with a broken jaw.