If you would have told me five years ago that in 2009 a healthy Allen Iverson and Michael Vick would be close to unwanted in the NBA and NFL I would have said you were crazy. These two Virginia natives seemed destined for athletic greatness, Hall of Fame careers, and incredible legacies.
Both Iverson and Vick made names for themselves as great High School athletes, Iverson being a two sport star and considered by some to be the greatest QB in state history. After starring in college both were No. 1 picks, Iverson in the 1996 NBA Draft and Vick in the 2001 NFL Draft.
On the court and field there were plenty of great performances, amazing plays, ankles broken and big games won. Iverson having more success in the NBA winning the MVP and making it to the finals, A.I. seemed on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Vick on the other hand was a work in progress, dazzling highlight runs, a powerful arm but lacking the accuracy to live up to all the hype. Even so, Michael Vick was one of the faces of the NFL and because of him, the Falcons game were must see TV.
Off the field both have had their controversies and brushes with the law, obviously Vick's current situation being the most serious. Iverson's famous "we talking about practice" rant, albeit funny, has become a part of how he is viewed by some as selfish and uncoachable.
Both players extreme talent allowed teams to overlook a lot of things, but here we stand in 2009 and both are looking for work.
It is understandable why teams are hesitant to sign either of these players.
The crimes Vick committed are horrifying to many and even with him serving his time in prison, Vick is a public relations nightmare. Iverson's performance in Detroit and his refusal to become a sixth man or come of the bench doesn't help his cause nor does the fact that he is a volume shooter that dominates the ball to his teams detriment.
Professional sports is made up of great athletes, but these two were blessed with an off the charts amount of natural abilities that you can't coach. The speed and elusiveness they both possess is a thing of sports beauty.
Michael Vick had the potential to revolutionize the quarterback position, but through his own poor decisions sabotaged his own career.
Iverson has wowed on the court since he joined the league and is respected as one of the greatest players who ever lived. I think he's the second greatest little man in NBA history (second to Isiah Thomas, who also seems to be in the business of ruining his image) but the "Answer" has become more of a "Question".
The questions being:
Will Allen Iverson help my team win?
Is A.I. worth the money?
Will Iverson set a bad example for my young players? (If no NBA team wants Iverson, maybe he can go run the "Wildcat" for Parcells.)
It's funny how much Iverson and Vick have in common and it's sad after all the great plays and eye-popping performances, their own lifestyles, attitudes, and decisions have affected their legacies.
The fact remains that even with their warts these two can still produce and perform at a high level and put fanny's in seats.
Which teams should take the chance?
What's the best NBA fit for Allen Iverson?
What's the best NFL fit for Michael Vick?
If you owned an NBA or NFL franchise would you want either of these guys on your team? What do you think?