Allen Iverson to Reportedly Announce Retirement from NBA Before 2013-14 Season
According to Tzvi Twersky of Slam, a source close to Iverson said a retirement announcement is imminent.
Iverson last played in 2010 for the Philadelphia 76ers in what turned out to be a farewell tour. By that point, he wasn't the same player that had wowed fans around the world with his fearless drives and brash attitude.
But nobody will remember the Answer as he was in his final years. Instead, people will celebrate his incredible toughness and truly remarkable athleticism. At just 6'0" and generously listed at 165 pounds, Iverson was never afraid to throw his willow-thin body into traffic. He took more hard falls and suffered more brutal contact than any player of his era.
Yet he kept getting up.
Through his first 11 years in the league, Iverson led the NBA in minutes per game a whopping seven times. With a career average of 41.1 minutes per game, he ranks fourth on the all-time list.
And his minutes weren't ordinary minutes, either. A.I. had the ball all the time and was constantly the focal point of every opponent's defense. He couldn't jog down the court without getting bumped, elbowed or hounded by at least one defender.
Despite the constant defensive attention, Iverson managed to put up some truly remarkable point totals. He led the league in scoring four times and will finish with a career average of 26.7 points per game.
Rarely efficient, Iverson probably benefited from playing in an era just before advanced stats began to condemn high-volume, low-efficiency shooters like him. Regardless of his debatable overall value, the Answer was on the short list of the league's most inspiring, entertaining players to watch.
More important than all of that, though, is Iverson's iconic status as a representative of hip-hop culture in the NBA. The two areas are synonymous now, but there was a time when Iverson's tattoos, cornrows and throwback jerseys were the source of real concern among image-conscious NBA executives.
Never apologetic for the way he dressed or carried himself, Iverson was largely responsible for the infusion of a new attitude in the NBA.
You can also probably blame him for the league's dress code, which commissioner David Stern implemented in 2005.
Iverson's legacy, like his career itself, will be the subject of great debate. But now that it appears he'll be putting an official period at the end of his basketball sentence, the conversation about his place in history can begin.
But first, let's talk about practice.
Godspeed, Allen. Thanks for playing every second like it was your last and dominating press conferences.
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