Now that the news is official, a few Memphis outlets have had the chance to react. Namely, SBN's Grizzlies blog and its phenomenally named djturtleface. What do Jane Fonda and Allen Iverson have in common? Neither one can stomach authority.
Some other turtleface musings:
And if A.I. provides an opportunity for the Grizzlies to reclaim some lost respect as an organization, the Grizzlies are Iverson's final prayer to the basketball gods, who we affectionatly know as Stern and ESPN. If Iverson is to have a place in the league in the coming years it won't be as an injection of instant offense off the bench, his skills will begin fading too fast for that to be a sustainable role. His role will be as the lovable, maverick teacher. You had them before, the teacher who says he doesn't believe in grades. He or she curses in class. They wave shiny, often pointy objects and shout. They pretend like 'The Man' hates them, but secretly 'The Man' loves them because they probably taught you twice as much as all the other teachers in the school combined. Everyone loves them. And Iverson can be one of them, he has the passion and the eye for the job, which isn't a common trait.
Which brings me to my final point. Please, please don't ever tell me that Allen Iverson is going to be a bad influence on O.J. Mayo or Mike Conley. I'm a young adult. You were young adults. It's borderline offensive to act like O.J. Mayo is an impressionable youth. First of all, young adults don't particularly like listening to anyone. Second, they're not children that just aimlessly follow every example before them. Iverson will teach Mayo what Mayo wants to learn: opponent tendencies, new moves, how to draw fouls. If O.J. Mayo wants to learn how to skip practice, yeah, Iverson can teach him that too, but chances are he would have found out on his own if the desire was in place.
There is really no right way to assess the Grizzlies taking Allen Iverson, because it damn-near had to happen. You can call it good or bad. Maybe, if you believe in determinism, you can call it fate. I called it necessity. But chances are Allen Iverson is going to call it home. And I couldn't think of any other term that would make me more confident that things are going to work out.
Meanwhile, traditional media had its say, as well, albeit in shorter paragraphs.
The jokes were flying all over the country yesterday. None of the national experts seem to think much of the Grizzlies' latest move.
Of course, none of the national experts have had to sit through 41 home Grizzlies games a year.
This is a city that has never been all that picky when it comes to its diversions, after all. See Saturday morning wrestling. See Graceland. See Tyson-Lewis or, better yet, Tyson-Etienne.
Absolutely, it would have been nice to get an early Tyson fight. But a star like Tyson wouldn't play this city at the height of his career. So Memphis got him at the end.
And you know what?
People loved him. They loved the whole ridiculous act.
Indeed, that Tyson analogy seems to be a microcosm of everyone's attitude in Memphis: they don't love him, necessarily, but there's also a collective realization that this is the way it had to be for both sides. Is conflating Iverson with Tyson fair? I don't think so, but it's on par with the way he's been portrayed in the media this summer and in the past, so I don't doubt that most of Memphis thinks of him in those terms. Another troublemaker.
And either way, turtleface's point is well taken: assessing this move only gets you so far. Criticize the basketball sensibilities if you must, but really, it had to happen for both sides. Call it fate, call it necessity, call it bad management--whatever the case, Allen Iverson is in Memphis, and this is how it was always going to end.