What Drove Iverson Out Of Memphis?

SB Nation’s Straight Outta Vancouver weighs in with some interesting thoughts on Iverson:

I’m not trying to say that Allen Iverson is over the hill. I believe that Iverson should be starting on the Grizzlies, and I believe that Iverson still has talent. The problem is that I’m a blogger, not an NBA executive or coach. Iverson has to prove himself to the likes of the NBA management to regain their loyalty.

Of course A.I. knows that, but it’s a reality too deeply incompatible with his experience and knowledge of self. Remember this is a player who’s always faced doubts about his viability and personality, and yet has always been a good enough basketball player to demand love on every level. Today Allen Iverson isn’t a good enough basketball player to demand love, which is a truth he refuses to recognize only because he’s still a damn good basketball player.

This is the source of the identity conflict. Allen Iverson doesn’t care that he’s coming off the bench; he’s been around the league long enough to know how easing into the lineup after injury works. Lionel Hollins isn’t fundamentally opposed to starting Iverson and hasn’t penned Iverson into a 6th man role. Allen Iverson is disheveled because he is being both subversively disrespected in the open and possibly openly insulted behind closed doors.

So I don’t know just what it would take to make Iverson leave the team. Even late in his stay in Philadelphia and after being lied to in Detroit, A.I. stuck with his team unless benched with “injuries” like in Detroit. Did Heisley or Hollins lie to him? Did they lock their doors to him? I have a suspicion that something is going on behind the doors of the Grizzlies’ castle that we’re not hearing.

[…]

Sometime in the future the truth will come out, as it did with Detroit, but until then I’m loathe to put the onus on Allen Iverson so long as Michael Heisley is a part of the same old boys club that has manipulated A.I.’s image of an cantankerous gangster throughout his career.

It’s a well done, interesting take, so definitely check out the full article.

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