UPDATE: Tuesday, June 18, at 7:35 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
TMZ reports that Iverson returned the children and he claims he was never holding the children 'hostage' in the first place.
Former NBA superstar Allen Iverson has returned his kids to their mother ... and insists he was NEVER holding them hostage in the first place ... at least that's what A.I. claimed in court last week...
...Allen appeared in Fulton County court in Georgia last Wednesday and told the judge his ex-wife had full access to their kids during their stay at the hotel ... and therefore he wasn't doing anything wrong. We're told Tawanna also testified that she could have picked up the children from Allen but didn't want to drive 45 minutes to his location.
After A.I.'s testimony, the judge decided the former Philadelphia 76ers star didn't deserve to be thrown in jail -- despite his ex-wife's request before the hearing. The kids -- ranging from ages 3 to 16 -- were returned to their mother following the hearing.
In fact, sources connected to the case tell TMZ ... Allen and his ex have worked out some of their issues ... and she has already allowed Allen to spend more private time with the kids.
---End of update---
TMZ first reported on the legal filings, in which Tawanna, who filed for divorce from the Philadelphia 76ers great in 2010, claims Allen planned a vacation with their kids from May 22 to May 26 but has yet to return them. Tawanna has sole custody of the couple's five children, whose ages range from three to 16.
The documents claim that Allen never took the children on vacation and currently has them holed up in a hotel in Georgia. The former NBA Most Valuable Player was purportedly taking them to Charlotte, a vacation that Tawanna had initially agreed to.
She also claims to have set up a meeting with Allen to exchange the children, but states that he never showed up.
A judge awarded Tawanna custody of the couple's five children in 2012, calling Allen a "hindrance" to their well-being, according to the Washington Post's Kent Babb. The 11-time NBA All-Star lost the custody battle with his former wife after investigators claimed that Allen smelled of alcohol and that his drinking and substance abuse was causing harm to the children.
In her court testimony during the custody hearings, Tawanna accused Allen of multiple instances of absenteeism. She noted instances of Allen missing lunches with their son, who was in group counseling, and other acts of malfeasant parenting.
She also claimed that Allen once left the children alone at a hotel on a weekend vacation, eventually having to pick them in the wee hours of the night.
"I always thought that my kids needed their father," Tawanna testified. "And what I've learned is that they don't need him if he's going to be that destructive in their lives."
Though Allen has appealed the rulings, Tawanna retains full legal custody of all five children. Tawanna is asking the court to return the children to her custody and for punitive charges to be placed on her former husband. TMZ's report notes that jail time is a possibility.
Allen has filed documents through his legal team denying the allegations, but neither side has released a public statement on the matter.
Commonly referred to as "A.I." during his playing days, Allen appeared in the NBA during the 2009-10 season as a member of the Sixers. His indefinite leave from the team in February 2010 to tend to his ill daughter would spell the end of his decorated career in the Association.
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