NBA fans know that Allen Iverson has had his problems in the NBA.
We've all heard the now infamous "Practice" rant.
His time in Detroit was a complete debacle.
If you blinked, you probably missed his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies.
But with all of his problems, was there ever a player on the court with Allen Iverson—playing with or against him—who outworked him?
This man has been vilified by GMs around the league, some fans, and some of the media, but there is nobody on this planet that can tell me he couldn't improve an NBA team right now.
He got to the NBA Finals with a supporting cast that included Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Tyrone Hill, Matt Geiger, Todd McCullough, and Theo Ratliff. Nothing against those guys because they all played incredibly hard, but none of them ever set the world on fire.
The general rule of thumb in the NBA is that you need two stars to challenge for a title. Iverson was the only guy on that team who could create his own shot. Nobody else on that squad inspired any fear on the offensive side of the ball.
Obviously Iverson has taken a ton of punishment since then and he's not the same player, but the fact is that he was still putting up 26 points a game two years ago.
So why has Allen Iverson made the decision to retire?
I would guess that it's simply a pride move. After everything that happened with the Pistons, GMs didn't want anything to do with him. When the Memphis Grizzlies are your only option, there is a problem. No one thought the Grizzlies marriage was going to work out anyway.
However, too many of the NBA higher-ups are judging what Allen Iverson can do on the court on what happened in Detroit.
People have put the blame solely on Iverson for what happened in Detroit, when the real culprit was Joe Dumars. Dumars has a great mind for basketball, but he should not get a pass for this move.
Iverson was never a good fit there and Dumars knew it. He was brought in strictly because his contract was expiring and Dumars was trying to clear space for LeBron James.
Joe Dumars, not Allen Iverson, made the decision to promote Michael Curry to head coach when Curry was clearly in over his head and had no idea how to juggle the services of Iverson, Richard Hamilton, and Rodney Stuckey.
The main gripe against Allen Iverson has been his reluctance to come off of the bench. That's certainly legitimate, but the issue should be why he is being asked to take a reduced role.
Would anyone really take Stuckey or Hamilton over The Answer right now?
That's the point. For whatever reason, some organizations think he is just a role player now. I have struggled for a while to understand why that is. Again, he averaged about 26 points in the 2007-08 season.
We also need to remember that, while he has been killed for not wanting to come off of the bench, he has been on a bad team every time he's been told he's not going to start.
Why should he come off of the bench for a bad team when that team would be better served to start him? It makes no sense to constantly bring him off the bench when you are lucky to win 30 games in a season.
There are only five teams that have a legit shot to make it to the Finals right now. Everybody else is playing catch-up.
If he should happen to go to Miami with D-Wade, Jermaine O'Neal, and Michael Beasley, does he not make them a threat to the top teams in the league?
How about the Bobcats, who seem like an almost perfect fit?
It is just ridiculous that a first ballot Hall of Famer is sitting around with nothing to do and no team has pursued him.
So is Allen Iverson really done? I doubt it. Judging from how he worded his statement , I'm sure that he wouldn't hesitate to come back if he felt it was the right situation. For now, I'll look at this similarly to how I look at boxer's retirements.
All Iverson wants to do is win. You can say whatever you want about him, but every time he plays, he is the hardest working man on the floor.
Isn't that all NBA teams want out of a player?