A.I. Still Searching for Team, Searching Soul

↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵No one know's what's happening with Allen Iverson. Do we take him ↵seriously anymore? Is he being unfairly left out in the cold? Just cut ↵down by circumstance? And what to make of offers from bottom-feeding ↵teams like Memphis and Charlotte, who may be the teams he stands to ↵benefit (and benefit from) least of all? ↵
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↵To paraphrase Tracy Jordan, The Answer has become the NBA's great, ↵perilous question. Let's forget about all the former strife over ↵whether or not he's good for the league, or can even play the game. ↵Iverson may very well be the Wilt of his day, a gigantic talent who ↵will be both softened and judged more harshly by history. And ↵regardless of what you think of his game, there's no questioning that, ↵in the broader sense of branding, style and marketing, he's the most ↵important NBA player since Jordan. Maybe even the most important ↵post-Jordan athlete in any sport (I know, Tiger, Favre 4ever, some ↵NASCAR guy I've never heard of). ↵
↵
↵But ↵now he waits. And whether we pretend to care or not, we all wait. ↵What's amazing is that, while Iverson's legacy more or less hangs in ↵the balance, the man's opening up like never before. It's like he's ↵realized something has changed, even if he got left out. He made his ↵point, perhaps too strong, but Iverson's influence echoes throughout ↵the league—throughout all of sports, actually. So when former teammate ↵E. Snow sits down with him to ostensibly discuss his next move, AI gets ↵all far-off and cosmic on us, maybe even a little morbid. ↵
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↵The misspeak "team on the uprise" was a nice reminder of how things ↵used to be. But regardless of what he does on the court, today's AI is ↵older and wiser. He realizes he's not perfect, and that maybe he can't ↵do it all himself—even if he knows no other ways. He wishes, genuinely, ↵ruefully, that he'd been a better person, a better student. This is KG ↵on the Wolves intense, where you get the feeling he might have secretly ↵poisoned himself before the interview and is making his last testament ↵unto man. Of course, it all comes back to Obama and a smile. ↵
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↵I'm not going to defend Iverson as a player. I also have no idea if ↵it even matters if he plays ever again. If his farewell tour consists ↵of nothing but this kind of tormented but enlightened whistle stop, I ↵think it'll still go down in the annals of basketball as some kind of ↵major statement—if not exactly a success. ↵
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↵(H/T Living the Good Life) ↵

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↵For more NBA coverage, visit SportingNews.com's new NBA blog, The Baseline. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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