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We all figured that this would be the not-so-storybook end to Allen Iverson's NBA career, but apparently, Iverson actually wants to play in the NBA again, if anyone would actually want him.
At least that's what his manager told the AP:
Gary Moore, Iverson's personal manager, said that Iverson is planning a return to the NBA next season. Iverson returned to the Philadelphia 76ers in December and took a leave of absence in March because of family issues.
"Allen is working out and he's getting himself prepared to make his return," Moore said by phone Friday. "He absolutely will try and play next year."
There's been no word from Iverson himself, but Moore said that Iverson wants to and is capable of helping a team win an NBA championship. We'll see if any NBA teams agree.
Well, it was underwhelming while it lasted. After numerous absences plagued his comeback with the 76ers, the team has officially opted to part ways with veteran guard Allen Iverson. From Comcast Sports Net:
“After discussing the situation with Allen, we have come to the conclusion that he will not return to the Sixers for the remainder of the season, as he no longer wishes to be a distraction to the organization and teammates that he loves very deeply,” general manager Ed Stefanski said. “It has been very difficult for Allen and the team to maintain any consistency as he tries to balance his career with his personal life.”
In early February, Iverson left the team for personal reasons and missed five games and the NBA All-Star Game, which would have been his 11th consecutive All-Star appearance. On the Monday following the break, he disclosed that it was his four-year-old daughter Messiah that was ill, but they were still unclear of her ailment.
Iverson played in three games from Feb. 15 through Feb. 20 before leaving again to be with his family.
CBS Sportsline’s Ken Berger talked to a person close to Allen Iverson that said Iverson pretty much has to return to the 76ers by next Monday to continue his 76ers career.
“For the team’s sake and his own sake, he can’t keep trying to go back and forth with this,” the person said. “If he can’t get back by next week, it’s probably not going to work.”
Iverson’s departure has been described as “amicable” by sources, unlike his departure from Memphis.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix did some more digging and found out that Allen Iverson will leave the 76ers indefinitely because his daughter is sick.
According to an NBA source, Iverson has left the 76ers indefinitely to deal with a personal issue related to the health of his young daughter and there is no timetable for his return.
Mannix also reports that 76ers coach Eddie Jordan has told the players that there’s a chance Iverson doesn’t return.
When Allen Iverson returned to Philadelphia, it was supposed to be a storybook full-circle ending to a remarkable NBA career. But while Iverson’s Philly tenure hasn’t been as disasterous as his brief time in Memphis, it appears it could end in similar fashion.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that there’s a “strong movement within Sixers to make a permanent break with A.I.” Iverson has only played three games this month because he’s dealing with some family problems, and he’s scheduled to miss the 76ers’ next roadtrip to be with his family.
It would be a sad end to a great NBA career. When Iverson first left Memphis because of family problems, many skeptics said that it was actually Iverson’s own demeanor that caused him to be released. Now that the same issue is popping up with the 76ers, however, it’s safe to say there must be something serious going on in Iverson’s family. Here’s hoping Iverson gets everything settled, whether it means a return to basketball or not.
Allen Iverson may or may not work out on the court for the Sixers. It’s possible he sparks a mini-resurgence, but it seems unlikely. But that’s not why A.I. is a Sixer again. The above is. Philly fans will eat this stuff up, and when Iverson takes the court in that fancy new red and blue jersey, his former gym will be more electric than ever.
Anyway, the various emotions surrounding Iverson’s return caused him to choke up at his introductory press conference today; fast forward to the two-minute mark to get straight to tears. No one ever said Iverson was the best guy in the world, but this stuff is endearingly genuine.
(HT: The Baseline)
Crossposted to From The Editors.
You may have loved him in spite of his shortcomings, or because of them. You might have hated him for his attitude and ethos, but simply couldn't deny his talent. Or you may have dismissed him--too stubborn for his own good, he'd never be a winner. And having the chance to consider things over the past few weeks, maybe everyone was right.
Allen Iverson's career can be viewed a number of ways, as it all depends on what moments you view as definitive. If you choose to remember that 2001 season, and his 48 points in game one of the NBA Finals, beating the herculean Lakers, then that puts Iverson in a category with the best of them. On the other hand, if you remember Iverson bickering with coaches, or feuding with management, you may remember him differently; impossibly talented, but fatally flawed.
But just about everyone remembers him as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Had he gone out with someone else--say, the Knicks or Bobcats--we'd have gotten over it. Plenty of iconic stars finish out their careers in strange jerseys. It's a shame, but also a reality of the era we live in, and the egos involved in these type of things. Michael Jordan with the Wizards, Emmitt Smith with Arizona, Joe Montana with Kansas City, Shaq with the Suns, and now the Cavs, and whatever team he latches onto next season. At this point, we're used to it.
But Allen Iverson's was such a revolutionary figure... Seeing him reduced to 20 minutes-a-game off the bench for some also-ran team would have been so incongruous to everything that came before. He was basketball's 2Pac--rough around the edges, unapologetic to his critics, and authentic in every sense of the word. Without a doubt, had Iverson somehow died anywhere between 1999 and 2004, at his apex, we would have lionized him in exactly the same way.
Not for his game, but for the values he embodied. His game was always very good, but the persona--the corn rows, the tattoos, the crossovers, the fearlessness, playing-with-four-different injuries attitude--was what made him transcendent. Like nothing we'd ever seen before. A force of nature.
And watching him finish his career on a 20-win Knicks or Grizzlies squad would have been like seeing 2Pac record with autotune. We'd get over it, but some things are just impossible to forget. It'd change our memories forever.
Now, instead of trying to forget, the Sixers have given the entire league a chance to remember. To get all mushy over those Larry Brown teams, and pretend like the last three years never really happened. Like this has been the plan all along. Iverson's not perfect, and he meant a lot of different things to different people, but he was always a 76er.
When he went elsewhere, for whatever reason, the whole Iverson myth became marginialized. It was inevitable, really; people evolve and devolve, and as AI got older, it became harder and harder to exist exclusively on his own terms. Suddenly, Carmelo was more talented, Detroit played better with Rodney Stuckey, and even Memphis--Memphis!--decided they'd be better off without him. The indomitable, pint-sized icon had been dominated, and cast off into the NBA's junkyard.
But now, NBA fans are going to get one last glimpse at the glory days. A comeback tour. No more autotune 2Pac records, or playing second-fiddle to Richard Hamilton. Instead, Iverson's The Man in Philly again, and he's going to put them on his back and take them as far as he can. Iverson was never the best player on earth, and Tupac wasn't the greatest lyricist of all time. But in each case, their otherworldly will made them impossibly captivating. Not the best or most refined, but with a persona that always made him the center of attention.
Now, provided this is his last year in the NBA, Allen Iverson's going out the way he came in. On his own terms, killing himself to win, and carrying the 76ers and the city of Philadelphia with him. It was never his game that made him special, but that once-in-a-lifetime will is something we'll always remember. Now, we get to see it once more, and remember AI for what made him great in the first place. That's the way it should be.
According to Comcast Sports Net of Philadelphia, Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms on a one-year deal. It’s done. It’s really happening. Go get the Iverson Sixers jersey from the back of your closet.
Philly GM Ed Stefanski had this to say:
“In light of the recent injury to Lou Williams, which will sideline him for close to eight weeks, we felt that Allen was the best available free agent guard to help us at this time."
This was always the way it was meant to happen. Iverson was, and always has been, a Philadelphia 76er. Now, he’ll be one again. He nearly went to the Knicks, and almost had to spend a season in basketball damnation with Grizzlies. Make no mistake, Iverson was on the brink of obscurity and irrelevance. But just when it looked like a generation’s icon was going to the leave the game in disgrace, he’s found the most appropriate situation of all.
We’ll have more on this as the day goes on and reactions emerge, but for now, let’s take comfort in the notion that every now and then, things happen the way they’re supposed to.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kate Fagen is reporting that there is in fact “no issue” between Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers about the terms of the contract the 76ers offered Iverson Tuesday afternoon.
According to a report coming out of CSN Philly, the 76ers have offered point guard Allen Iverson a non-guaranteed contract, the “non-guaranteed” part said to be the main obstacle in this deal being done.
The deal, according to this report, is not yet done.
According to a source close to the situation, this report is incorrect and there is no issue between the two parties about the terms of the contract.
It is a bit unclear whether Iverson is okay with a non-guaranteed deal or whether it was the 76ers who changed the terms of the contract to suit Iverson’s needs, but it certainly appears that Iverson is open to accepting a modest contract offer of some kind.
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Dei Lynam is reporting that the 76ers have offered Allen Iverson a non-guaranteed contract.
No word yet on whether Iverson has accepted the deal, but based on this line in Lynam’s report, perhaps that isn’t a foregone conclusion.
It is a non-guaranteed contract, which appears to be the main obstacle keeping the two from reaching an agreement.
You would think at some point Iverson would come to his senses and realize the only way he ever plays again is on a non-guaranteed deal … but have we reached that point? Can Iverson ever be humbled that much? I guess the coming days will answer that question.
Even if Iverson does accept the contract offer and publicly proclaims his humility, don’t expect his act to change, writes Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Wojnarowski writes that the 76ers, of all teams, should know that Allen Iverson’s actions do not match up with his words. Maybe that’s why the 76ers offered Iverson a non-guaranteed deal rather that giving him anything more. With no other avenues left to convince Iverson to be humble, perhaps the non-guaranteed deal is Philadelphia’s only recourse.
It appears the 76ers are about to clear another major hurdle in the journey to sign Allen Iverson. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Kate Fagen is reporting that Sixers team president Ed Stefanski is meeting with Iverson's agent Leon Rose Tuesday afternoon.
For a little while, we’d been trying to temper any enthusiasm regarding the Iverson-to-the-76ers rumors. But now, the more it persists… this must happen, right?
According to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, another stumbling block has disappeared:
The 76ers are proceeding cautiously in determining whether they want to get back together with Iverson, who was traded to Denver in 2006 after a decade in Philadelphia—but at the end of a rancorous period in which Iverson had worn out his welcome with the team’s top management. That included Sixers chairman Ed Snider, whose relationship with Iverson was frayed when he decided to grant Iverson’s request for a trade.
But Snider has signed off on Iverson’s return, leaving it up to Stefanski and the coaching staff, a source said.
“That was then, this is now,” the source said.
Ed Snider was perhaps the greatest obstacle in all of this. His rancor toward Allen Iverson still lingered, according to some reports, and if the owner doesn’t like a player, no matter how popular, it’s unlikely that he’ll sign off on adding him. But if Aldridge’s sources prove accurate, and Snider’s forgiven Iverson, then there’s really no reason this move shouldn’t happen. As a basketball team, the Sixers are in no-man’s land, drawing sparse crowds, and well on their way to another modestly successful, generally disappointing season. Why not roll the dice?
After meeting with Iverson this afternoon, the 76ers released the following statement:
This afternoon, we met with free agent Allen Iverson in Dallas for the first formal discussion regarding a possible return to the Philadelphia 76ers. The meeting lasted approximately two hours and covered a variety of topics, all of which we would prefer to keep between the team and Allen.
The meeting was attended by Allen, his agent Leon Rose and his personal manager Gary Moore, along with 76ers Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager Tony DiLeo, Head Coach Eddie Jordan, Assistant Coach Aaron McKie and me.
At this time, both parties remain non-committal regarding a final decision and we will continue to discuss internally whether or not to pursue this course.
We want to thank Allen, Leon and Gary for taking the time to meet with us today.
The Sixers will have no further comment at this time and further updates will be provided as they become available.
Clearly, if Philadelphia adds Iverson, they plan on doing it on their terms, and unlike the Knicks flirtations, this won’t be played out in the media. Still, a face-to-face meeting with Coach Eddie Jordan was a major hurdle, and provided the interaction was positive, you’d have to think this will help Iverson’s chances. The 76ers have struggled mightily to generate attendance this year, and that, coupled with the team’s persistent struggles on the court and void in the backcourt, might just be enough to make this dream scenario a reality.
Iverson riding into the sunset as a Sixer. Just seems so… perfect.
Maybe Stephen A. Smith’s hunch was correct after all.
According to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, the 76ers brass, including coach Eddie Jordan and team president Ed Stefanski, are meeting with Allen Iverson as we speak (mid-afternoon on Monday) about potentially signing him.
The Sixers are meeting in Dallas to discuss whether or not to bring back Allen Iverson.
Head coach Eddie Jordan and president Ed Stefanski are meeting with Iverson to discuss the possibility of bringing the 10-time All-Star back to Philadelphia.
The meeting, as of 3 p.m., had been going on for about an hour.
You know, sometimes I think stories like this get a life of their own simply because of sentimentality. That’s not to say Allen Iverson definitely isn’t returning to the Philadelphia 76ers, because I suppose it could happen. But after a couple days where it appeared a reunion was destined to happen, the chances of Iverson returning to Philadelphia are as slim as ever.
Want evidence? 76ers coach Eddie Jordan told reporters that he hasn’t even talked to anyone about about Iverson. Stephen A. Smith had previously speculated that Jordan would talk to Iverson as soon as Tuesday.
’’It’s something that’s probably more in the media than it actually is,‘’ the Sixers’ coach told reporters. ’’We’re just going about our daily operation of practicing and trying to win a game. But certainly I have not talked to anybody about Allen Iverson.’’
More evidence? Iverson is reportedly being considered, but is just one player among a group that includes Antonio Daniels, Brevin Knight and Tyronn Lue, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the interest is mostly coming from Iverson’s camp, not the 76ers.
So while a reunion may indeed happen, it doesn’t seem like it’s imminent, even though it would certainly be the proper send-off for Iverson.
Although he has announced his retirement, recent developments have suggested that Allen Iverson is not done in the NBA. PhillyBurbs reports that the Philadelphia 76ers, Iverson’s team for most of his career, are considering him as an option.
Poor attendance, no buzz and an injury have apparently changed the 76ers’ minds about Allen Iverson.
The Sixers are thinking about bringing back the mercurial guard who earned league MVP honors in leading them to the 2000-01 NBA Finals, according to a source close to the situation.
Check back with our Sixers blog, Liberty Ballers, for further insight into Iverson’s possible return to Philadelphia.
This report from Comcast’s Chick Hernandez certainly doesn’t mean A.I has no plans to retire, but it does throw a wrinkle into the story:
Comcast SportsNet’s own Ron Thompson reports Wednesday night that in fact Iverson has not retired and has not filed formal papers with the league, and this evening, had a phone conversation with his former college coach John Thompson.
The outcome of that conversation: Iverson will meet with John Thompson sometime in the next week after the holidays to discuss the player’s future. Thompson is on record Wednesday night as being vehemently opposed to Iverson ending his 14-year career.
Again, Comcast SportsNet’s Ron Thompson is reporting Wednesday night that Allen Iverson has not retired from the NBA, contrary to an earlier report.
If nothing else, Iverson’s comments Wednesday night certainly seemed to leave the door open for him to continue, or return to, playing basketball.
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie writes that what made Allen Iverson great, also led to his downfall from the NBA:
Every step of the way, Iverson stayed true to himself. And, in a game and a culture that had grown up around him, that steadfast refusal to do anything but stay true to himself resulted in this early, unnecessary retirement.
It was that personality that won him those awards, that personality that inspired Larry Brown to build a team around a shoot-first 5-foot-11 guard, and that personality that made him so, so popular. He should have been popular. The man had the heart of a giant.
And in the end, it did him in. Iverson never adapted. His game never grew, it hardly changed, and everybody knew. He could still get his — A.I. was still averaging over 26 points and seven assists for the Nuggets two seasons ago — but at what cost?
Allen Iverson’s retirement statement in full is located at Stephena.com:
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.
This is something we ran a few weeks ago, when it looked like Allen Iverson might retire. Now that the news is official, some thoughts on the meaning of his retirement and his career are reprinted below...
For the past few days, while the Iverson controversy has simmered, I've tried to remain pretty apathetic, at least in writing. But with rumors surfacing that Iverson may retire, it's impossible to keep on ignoring it. The surprise isn't that a player like Iverson--with nothing left to prove and having banked $100 million at least--might consider retirement. But that someone who was once so iconic would be reduced to an ending like this.
I mentioned elsewhere that it's difficult to write about this situation because it's just so damn depressing. Like writing a profile of the city of Detroit, I joked. And while that was just me being a sarcastic dick, it's also a little bit true.
Detroit's a city that is dilapidated in practically every sense. Politics, economy, crime, the freakin Lions... Hell, even the weather is depressing. And relatively speaking, the landscape directly mirrors the Memphis Grizzlies franchise over the past few years. Let's see... Their owner doesn't want to own a pro basketball team, they have one of the more hapless GMs in the league, their attendance is among the worst in the league, they have a team full of selfish players, and... well, you get the point. They traded an All-Star Center for Kwame Brown and Javaris Crittendon. As far as the NBA landscape's concerned, Memphis=dilapidated.
But what makes it even more difficult to write about this situation is that Iverson mirrors Detroit, too. That city's trajectory over history--from prideful beacon of American evolution to a sad symbol of our decline--is disturbingly similar to Iverson's. For most of my youth, Iverson was an icon of the post-Jordan generation. An incredibly polarizing, occasionally maddening figure, but an icon nonetheless.
And watching his decline over the past few years has been oddly personal. He played a pretty critical role in how I came to understand basketball. AI was never my favorite player, but that's because he was so overwhelmingly popular that calling him "favorite" just seemed redundant. I remember watching him work out during his freshman year at Georgetown and returning home wide-eyed. Never in my life had I seen someone that quick.
Photo courtesy of the Hampton Roads Daily Press.
I remember watching him dominate the Big East, making other All-Americans like Ray Allen at Connecticut look downright boring in comparison. It's hard to imagine now, but Allen Iverson could DUNK back then, and you couldn't take your eyes off him when he was on the court. He defied our notions of what won basketball games--while scouts frothed over size and versatility and shooting, here was Iverson, this 5'11 kid who did nothing but score and attack people. And yet, he was such a force of nature that even the greatest cynics couldn't deny his value to a basketball team.
That continued throughout his career. But somewhere along the line, he acquired additional meaning, and became more than a basketball player. Suddenly, he was this counter-cultural figure that transcended the success of the Philadelphia 76ers--by succeeding in opposition to the stereotypes of star athletes before him, he was lionized, regardless of whether he ever actually won anything with the Sixers.
Nothing epitomizes this more than that legendary play from his rookie year, when he embarrassed Michael Jordan:
Nobody cared that Iverson's team lost that game. It was looked upon as a torch-passing moment between icons of different generations. The Bulls and Jordan may have reigned at that point, but everyone could point to that play and say that Iverson--and the Hip Hop generation--was coming. Except, it never did.
Iverson had his moments, particularly during the 2001 season, but the rise of some tattooed, swaggerific next generation player never happened. People forget, but these are the terms in which Iverson was viewed.
He was a departure from what we'd come to expect from athletes, clad in tattoos, white t-shirts and nappy hair, and disregarding the approval of others. And as a generation of superstars raised on hip-hop was coming to maturity, many believed that Iverson was who they'd become. He was seen as a harbinger of a new culture. For this, he was crucified by traditionalists, and deified by American youth. But we all sort of missed the point.
Iverson was, and is, unique. A generation of anti-authority, corn-rowed, tattoo-covered superstars never came--instead, hindsight leaves stars like Stephon Marbury and Iverson looking like history's accident, a brief blip on the radar between the Jordan era and contemporary times, with deferential stars like Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul taking up the torch from Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, two guys who, in every concievable way, are the antithesis of Iverson's ethos.
Iverson never got to carry that torch, after all.
And that's sort of hard to stomach. Because however misguided we were in assigning this deeper meaning to Allen Iverson, it was very real, and he represents a generation of fans that came to understand basketball through a cultural prism that was established with him at the forefront. And yet, if this is how it ends for AI, then it sort of undermines everything, doesn't it?
I guess I'd been hoping for one last renaissance for Iverson. Holding out hope that this year in Memphis, he could carry the Grizzlies like those old 76ers teams, and even though they wouldn't advance far in the playoffs, getting them there, on the strength of a broken down body and a Herculean will, would be a testament to Iverson's greatness in itself.
And then, even though he'd never won a title, we'd always be able to look back and say, "Iverson was one of the toughest players I ever watched." Instead, we see a guy unwilling to accept a backup role even for a few games, and so frustrated by the perceived lack of respect that he'd rather go home and sit on his ass in Atlanta.
Iverson, then, just looks like a heroically stubborn basketball player that was great for a long time, and then, the second he stopped being great, became too stubborn for his own good. No deeper meaning, there. Just an overly-prideful person who made enough enemies in the NBA to wedge himself out of the league a few years earlier than expected. He was a great player and his impressive career definitely happened, but The Allen Iverson Era never did.
And for someone that spent his youth as a basketball fan waiting for that era, it's hard to accept that reality. It's like the whole experience--the Reebok Commercials, the All-Star Games, the hair, Tyronn Lue, that damn press conference... It's like none of it mattered. And Iverson's reduced to just someone that was supposed to make history, but never did.
But God damn he was quick...
Yahoo!'s Marc Spears reports:
Breaking News......Breaking News: Allen Iverson's folks just called to inform me Iverson has announced his RETIREMENT. I'll blog later today
Yep, that's how it (reportedly) ends for Iverson: With a phone call from his parents to Stephen A. on a day when no one is even around the internet to read about it. A whimper, not a bang, you could say.
This all comes a week after Iverson parted ways with the Grizzles, after which a deal with the Knicks that seemed imminent fell through.
We'll have much more on this news, along with reactions, as it develops tonight.
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