Allen Iverson, Ray Emery, and Michael Vick: Three for the Money

Phil AndrewsCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

Iverson, Emery, and Vick. Sounds kind of like a law firm doesn't it? Ironic when you consider at some point in their careers, all three of these athletes actually required the services of attorneys.

That, however, is not the only thing Ray, Allen, and Mike have in common, because in 2009 they also caused quite a stir in the city of Brotherly Love and for the “City that Loves you Back,” two of these athletes were welcomed with somewhat open arms.

Can you guess which one wasn't?

Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles shocked everyone when they signed Vick to a contract this summer, drawing the wrath of animal lovers everywhere.  Financially it was a move that really didn’t hurt the team or its precious salary cap.

Remember, at the end of 2006, Sports Illustrated magazine estimated Vick's annual income between his NFL salary and endorsements at $25.4 million, ranking him just below NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a listing of highest earning athletes.

Then of course in August of 2007, Vick pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and was sent to prison for the better part of two years.  With the loss of his NFL Salary and product endorsements, Michael had to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2008.

The Eagles signed him to a non-guaranteed $1.6 million contract with a $5 million option for 2010. So far the return on their investment has been that of a part time role in which he has completed 6 of 13 passes for 86 yards and 1 TD to go along with 1 rushing td.

As for Flyers goalkeeper Ray Emery, well, his introduction to the fans of Philadelphia came earlier in the year. His signing coming after spending a season  playing in Russia. Like Vick, Emery arrived with a some baggage, although his was more of the carry on variety and not the kind that gets you locked up for 23 months.

There were certainly no protesters lining up when word got out that the Emery ate a cockroach on a $500 dollar bet with former Ottawa teammate Daniel Alfredsson. Hey, I know a little protein is good now and then, but come on peanut butter is a whole lot smoother and not as crunchy.

If you are a fan of You Tube, then maybe you have seen the video of Emery shoving and swatting his team trainer during a Russian league game.  Emery had just been pulled after allowing three goals in the first period of a game.

According to his agent, J.P. Barry, Emery didn't like being "pestered" by the trainer to wear a sponsor's hat. After the following midseason break, Emery failed to report back to the team due to a financial dispute.

Philadelphia signed Emery to a one year, $1.5 million contract in June of 2009. For their investment, Emery has played in 21 games, compiled a 901 save percentage, a 2.83 goals against average and had amassed an 11-8 record before an abdominal injury forced him to the sidelines.

Last but certainly not least, there is Allen Iverson. The former first round draft pick who dazzled the league during the 1996 season while on his way to NBA Rookie of year honors, just one of the many accolades Iverson has picked up along the way.

Four times during his career he averaged 31 points a game or more for a season. Hoisted the All-Star Game MVP award and led the 76ers to the NBA finals in 2001, the same year he collected league MVP honors. His career has without doubt been note worthy and some might even say Hall of Fame worthy.

None the less, A-I wore out his stay in Philadelphia and after a ten year tenure, was traded to the Denver Nuggets.  Many fans were happy to see Allen go, but most were not. Let’s just say that during his absence, pro hoops in Philadelphia had been hell.

It is probably because of that reason

Sixer fans were delighted when the team recently resigned the aging warrior to help fill an injury void at the guard position.  The evidence of fan interest was on display when the team sold out the

Wachovia Center for his first game back.  

The Answer is certainly not the player he once was, which is why the team was able to sign him to a non-guaranteed $650,000 contract. A far cry from the $70 million deal he signed with Philadelphia back in 1999.  By the way as of December 5, Iverson getting a bit of a boost in salary as the Sixers guaranteed the remainder of his prorated one-year contract wor th $1.3 million. Iverson was signed by the Sixers as a free agent on Dec. 3.
In the nine games since his return, Allen has averaged 12.3 points and 3.7 assists a game, not a huge impact, but he just looks like he belongs in a 76ers uniform.

So just to recap, Emery, Iverson, and Vick, three players who at one time or another were at the top of their games and making over a $100 million combined. Today their three combined salaries total about $4 million.  Man, talk about a recession.