Fans who went out and bought tickets for Texas Legends games in hopes of seeing Allen Iverson play may want to look into the team's returns policy.
In a tweet sent on Tuesday, the 37-year-old thanked the Dallas Mavericks' D-League affiliate (along with others in the organization) for their interest, but politely declined the Legends' offer.
I thank Donnie and Dallas for the consideration and while I think the D-League is a great opportunity, it is not the route for me.— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) January 29, 2013
Though done respectfully, Iverson's declining of the Texas' offer should shock no one. He's long been a player and a person who seemingly lacks the most fundamental concept of self-awareness and perspective.
For evidence of his continued immaturity, Iverson's fully realized statement declares he hopes to one day return to the NBA, but understands that's not ultimately his decision alone.
My dream has always been to complete my legacy in the NBA— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) January 29, 2013
To my fans, I love yall! Not a day goes by that I am not asked when am I coming back, we all must accept my return is not up to just me.— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) January 29, 2013
In one sentence, Iverson "acknowledges" that his actions contributed to the abrupt end of his career. Almost the very next, he's talking about how his "dream" to return to the NBA is "not up to" him.
Am I the only one who sees the irony there? Iverson is (partially) scapegoating teams for his unemployment...all while declining an opportunity to prove himself to an NBA affiliate.
That contradiction is the crux of Iverson's persona. Self-deprecating one moment and deflecting blame the next. It's the reason no actual NBA team will give him a chance, and is ultimately why he's better off officially retiring to end this charade.
Unlike Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and a few other notable veterans, Iverson has refused to age gracefully and accept his late-career destiny as a role player. During his last NBA season (2009-10), Iverson and the Memphis Grizzlies "mutually agreed" to part ways after the veteran guard wasn't happy with his three-game stint as a bench player, before he ultimately returned to thePhiladelphia 76ers.
And here's the thing about Iverson's second stint in the City of Brotherly Love: He wasn't very good. The then-34-year-old averaged a career-low 15.7 points per 36 minutes, shot only 41.7 percent from the floor and was used more as a distraction from the Sixers' bad season than anything resembling an asset.
His once-legendary speed and quickness had all but evaporated. Iverson took only 63 shots all season at the rim, where he finished at a paltry 47.6 percent rate, per basketball-reference.com.
Essentially, Iverson was J.R. Smith with mid-range jumpers substituted for three-pointers and an inability to dominate athletically. Iverson was himself in name and attitude only, which understandably made his stay with the Sixers a short-term arrangement.
In the three years since his last run in Philly ended, Iverson has been pretty much blackballed by the NBA. He's continually stated his desire to return to the league, only to be rebuffed by every team in the contiguous United States. There have been teams that have been reportedly interested, including the Los Angeles Lakers last season, but ultimately nothing has come to pass.
The Legends (and thus the Mavericks) have been the only NBA-related team to pursue Iverson on a tangible level—especially when considering it's been a season-long pursuit, per ESPN's Marc Stein.
Should Allen Iverson retire?
However, much like his playing days, Iverson's problem is that he doesn't want to play by anyone else's rules. The D-League "is not the route" for him because that's not what Allen Iverson wants. And if Allen Iverson doesn't get what he wants, Allen Iverson will take his ball, stay at home and pout about being shunned by the Association.
Here's the thing that Iverson doesn't get: The NBA is doing just fine and dandy without him. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and others have ushered in a new era where top stars not only get their shots, but actually feign interest in their teammates and a little thing we like to call practice.
Call it the new world order of the NBA. Even infamous malcontents like Rasheed Wallace have toned down their contentious attitudes in favor of becoming a role player and beloved teammate. That's something that Iverson seems fundamentally incapable of doing.
He wants to return, likely with a prominent role, on his terms, and he doesn't want to "lower" himself to the D-League in the process.
Well, good luck. The NBA and its fans have moved on (for the most part) and are arguably better off for it. Iverson should take his cue, hand in his retirement papers and move on while he has a handful of people who still believe in him.