Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com
The Answer, Allen Iverson, provided basketball fans with pure entertainment on a nightly basis. One of the toughest players to ever play the game; standing barely 6-feet, AI would have to pick himself up from the floor time and time again.
After 11 All-Star appearances, Iverson was cast aside from the NBA and the negative stigma surrounding the Georgetown guard left him without a team at the age of 34.
Three years on and after unsuccessful stints in both Turkey and China, Iverson has once again admitted he’s vying for another chance to prove his worth in the National Basketball Association. Iverson recently turned down the opportunity to turn out for the Dallas Mavericks D-League team, the Texas Legends.
The Legends also have former NBA players like Delonte West on their current roster–but Iverson felt that he didn’t need to prove his worth. Let’s just think about this for a minute. West and Iverson are not comparable in terms of ability and legacy. Iverson revolutionized the game; West was simply a decent player.
Even at 37, Iverson divides opinion. While his on-the-court ability was never questioned, off the court, he wasn’t exactly “clean-cut.” Iverson partook in clubbing, failed to show up for practice and often spoke badly of his coaches during his star-studded career. Despite this, you’d have to think at 37 he’s above calling out his coaches. By all accounts, AI just wants another chance to put things right.
What was never in question before, perhaps is now. He is a player that often relied on his extraordinary quickness and agility to create shots for himself. That will not be there anymore.
Having said that, you don’t simply forget how to play ball. Iverson still carries a certain swagger. His wealth of experience, pure exuberance and determination should be enough to fill a decent enough roll for either a playoff team without a primary ball handler (Boston Celtics, I’m looking at you) or someone trying to fill an arena (Michael Jordan, are you reading?)
To conclude, Iverson doesn’t need to go through the D-League to return to the NBA. Iverson deserves better than that, for all he’s given the game. It’s not even a case of “trying out,” there are 10-day contracts in the NBA for a reason.
Of course, he could well have played for the Texas Legends and perhaps Mark Cuban would have offered him a contract–but for all the league has done to him, a little respect would be nice.
Allen Iverson inspired a generation. Growing up, he was the reason I began watching the sport casually. From a purely nostalgic view, I would love to see him sign off his NBA career with a few more performances.
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