The Memphis Grizzlies experiment is officially over.
After playing just three games for Memphis, upper management released Allen Iverson from his one-year contract. Iverson, who has been on personal leave the last few days in a move the team said was “indefinite,” criticized the play of younger players like O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay—and he yapped consistently about his lack of playing time.
I won’t be the first to say this and I also won’t be the last, but here I go: "Allen, please have some dignity and retire from the game already."
Let’s be honest, people. This is not the same A.I. we saw in the late '90s, and it’s not the same guy who led the 76ers to the NBA Finals at the beginning of this decade.
He has not been the most significant player on any team lately, starting with his tenure in Denver. Nuggets coach George Karl was quite ecstatic to get rid of Iverson and getting a better player in Chauncey Billups, and that one Carmelo Anthony character has a little bit more upside than the waning Iverson.
Then there were the Pistons. Iverson thought it was 2001 and wanted to be the focal point of the franchise, but the exact opposite occurred. He complained more than players at a Cleveland Browns practice, eventually leading to his arrival in Memphis.
Enough with the history; let’s look at the present and what Iverson should do with himself.
He is 34 years old, he hasn’t even been playing much because of personal reasons, and he expects to be the centerpiece of any NBA offense. Such ingredients produce a concoction that starts with “re” and ends in “tirement.”
However, I just don’t see Iverson going down in a flaming lack of athletic ability. He can still play in the NBA, but he has just passed his prime. It happens to everyone—Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, and even Shaq has lost a step or two. It’s a part of life as an athlete—skills diminish and teams start entrusting younger players on a higher level.
It’s that way in the NBA and all other leagues. If a player can’t do a job as well as someone else, he gets less playing time or let go. This is what is happening to Iverson, and it is almost getting quite sad to watch. He is never, ever going to get his +25 shots per game anymore, and even when he did he could not make a majority of them.
With players like Kobe, LeBron, Wade, and ‘Melo in firm control of the league’s superstar stage, Iverson needs to step out of the limelight and exit stage left.
Otherwise, if he wants to go out on his own terms, he may end up warming the seat of another bench of another poor NBA franchise.