Allen Iverson wants to hear Philly roar one last time.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Answer is going to officially call it quits. And when he does, the same fans that worshipped him for a decade will send him off with a final, deafening ovation.
Sources: Allen Iverson will officially announce his NBA retirement at the Sixers' Home opener vs Miami on Oct 30— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) October 17, 2013
It's a little strange that Iverson is making his retirement official three seasons after the NBA decided it was through with him. These last few years have been somewhat sad, as Iverson held out hope that some squad would come calling with a suitable offer.
AI's stubborn insistence that he was still worthy of being an offensive focal point (when he clearly wasn't) made his last few stops with the Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies and Sixers a little uncomfortable.
But Iverson's unimpressive exit from the league can't tarnish his place in its history.
Per Basketball-Reference.com, he'll finish with a career scoring average of 26.7 points per game, good enough for sixth all-time. Not only that, but he'll retire with 11 consecutive All-Star selections from 2000-2010, four scoring titles, three nods as an All-NBA First Team member and a reputation as one of the toughest players to ever put on a jersey.
Iverson's statistical achievements were significant, but his role as a pioneer in the NBA's cultural revolution might be even more important to his legacy. For better or worse, his defiant attitude and brash refusal to change his image made him a cult hero.
He partied hard, played harder and stayed unfailingly true to himself—often to his own detriment.
In every way imaginable, AI refused to compromise.
There's no question that Iverson was one of the single most influential figures in NBA history. The fact that LeBron James—who'll be on hand with the Miami Heat when Iverson makes his announcement—named him as one of his two biggest idols speaks volumes.
His decision to walk away from the game isn't necessarily a surprise. Back in August, Tzvi Twersky of Slam reported that Iverson was most likely going to call it a career before the 2013-14 season started.
But now that AI has picked a time and place for his announcement, it appears as though the end of his playing career is official. However, it's possible that he'll have a chance to stick with the Sixers in the future, per David Aldridge:
Finally: Allen Iverson to officially retire in Philly Oct. 30 (ESPN first), may wind up with a post-playing job with the Sixers, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) October 17, 2013
When he walks out onto the floor of the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 30 before the Sixers take on the Heat, there won't be many dry eyes or intact eardrums in the house.