Allen Iverson: Last Laugh

morgan spoknyContributor IJanuary 29, 2010

In tribute to the upcoming All-Star weekend.

A.I. is not only a 2010 all-star, but he is a starter, and without a doubt must be on cloud 9.

It seems like only yesterday that he couldn't even find a job.

Iverson was a pariah.

He was told to just hang it up.

But the Allen Iverson saga is finally behind us.

Iverson ended up signing a humbling, non-guaranteed contract worth the pro-rated veteran’s minimum, or for those not familiar with NBA mandates, about $1.4 million.

Despite his apparent talent, his alleged lack of ability to listen to authority finally agitated the so called “management” so badly, that even teams who could badly use the talent, unanimously decided to collude against him and tell his agent that, “AI was just not worth the hassle”.

I can just hear the calls now, as the agents/management men hold in the laughs and let Allen’s people hear the tough news. 

“Uhm, you heard me, we just don’t want him, go on, get out of here.

Na, we’re going to go another route.

Yes, that’s right; we’re going to sign Sebasatian Telfair.

Yes, we know he can’t find his way out of a paper bag.

Yes, we know he’s more or less garbage.

Yea, we’re good with Ricky Davis. 

Yes, we’re aware he can’t even defend J.J. Reddick’s anemic dribble and drive attack.  

Alright, well you let Allen know that were really going to miss his services this year!

Be sure to wish him luck on the sale of his 6.5 million dollar estate.

He’s going to need it in this economy!”

Don’t get me wrong, I unlike what seems like the rest of the world believe in Iverson, and believe in the Sixer’s chances. 

I think they’ve actually got a pretty nice roster.

Iverson, Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, and Samuel Dalembert round out a pretty nice top 7 and the Sixer’s also tout a nice bench of athletic youngsters (Rodney Carney, Jrue Holiday, Royal Ivey, and Willie Green) to carry the workload and provide a spark when needed. Let’s also keep in mind that the East is weak at the bottom.

I’m in Iverson’s camp. Practice is practice.

Talent speaks volumes, and his play has always backed up his loud mouth and even larger persona. But who cares about all that mumbo jumbo, what is important is that Iverson is still capable of scoring 20 + a night, dishing out 6 + assists, snagging a few steals, and competing at an All-Star level.

Before you start sending the hate mail. Before you start setting me straight and siding with the media and all the supposed experts about how washed up Iverson is and what a complete cancer his utter presence is in the locker room, let’s just get the facts straightened out.

Iverson has a career average of 27 points per game in 889 games over 14 seasons, and is tied for the fifth-highest scoring average in NBA history. He ranks third among active players. Well those are some nice stats and if we can‘t agree that Iverson has a sick resume, then that’s a you problem.

But seriously lets just delve a little bit deeper with a fine tooth comb.

Iverson has career stats of, 27 ppg, 42.5 percent FG %, 31.3 3p %, 41.3 minutes p/g, 3.6 turnovers p/g, 6.2 assists p/g, and 2.2 steals p/g. Iverson’s true value was always in his heart, his hustle and his ability to create and take a volume of shots.

Yes, even to this very day, Iverson still possesses all of these attributes, and no, I am not crazy.

You sir, are the crazy one if you have given up hope on this legendary baller.

Just because the flavor of the month is to hate on Iverson, I’m not buying.

Nope, no scoops for me, and certainly no sprinkles on top.

Nothing has changed. Stop hating on a guy for being 34.

I mean c’mon man.

Iverson averaged 26.4 points per game as recently as the 07-08 season.

Actually, Iverson averaged some other superb career numbers that year, as in 45.8 percent FG %, 34.5 3p %, 41.8 minutes p/g, 2.99 turnovers p/g, 7.1 assists p/g, and 2.0 steals p/g.

As you can tell from the numbers ladies and gentlemen, Iverson posted some of his finest numbers only 2 years ago.

His FG %, 3p %, minutes p/g, and assists were all up above his career averages and his turnover rate was actually down as well.

Guys don’t just fall in a blink of an eye, unless they suffer a severe career threatening injury or something similar to that magnitude e.g. (Steve Francis, Jason Willams, Shaun Livingston, Jonathan Bender).

But that is not the case here; Iverson has never had any major or threatening injuries. Sure, Iverson was chronically plagued with broken fingers, twisted ankles and what not.

Who could forget his infamous partial arm brace that sparked a fashion fad all across the league and even morphed into the now even more infamous “Kobe band”. But these injuries were self inflicted because he was such a relentless slasher and even bigger competitor.

He was willing to sacrifice his body and limbs for 14 + years, night in and night out, to win, score points and this how you treat him?

Shame on you America.

Seriously, take a look in the mirror and tell me with a straight face that you are willing to sacrifice your body for a game.

Yes, he has a tad out of control ego, but after 14 + grueling years in the NBA, and the many accolades he has accomplished, I have no problem granting AI a little slack when it comes to being “selfish” and having a bloated view of his self worth.

Iverson is and was a scorer.

Don’t forget about his dominance and how he led a cast of nobodies to the Finals in 2001. Yes, he was ultimately destroyed by the Lakers, but he did a hell of a job just getting that cast of phys ed flunkies into the Finals.

People often only remember the here and now, and not what has happened only a few years ago.

Iverson showed me his passion for the game many times during his illustrious career and once again during his post signing conference with the Sixer’s, when tears poured out of this mans eyes because he wanted to play basketball.

He missed his passion.

He missed the game.

He missed his love.

Yes, Iverson is a selfish basketball player, but he is also someone who wants to badly be on the court and that’s a lot more than some players can say. 

How many countless times has he sacked up and played through injuries?

But there is no doubt in my mind that AI will be playing on the court soon, once again dominating and leading his troops to the playoffs. He’s not a bench player, and just because he is 34 and doesn’t fit in the rebuilding plans, doesn’t mean he should be chronically hitting the pine on the reg.

I’m confident that once he gets his legs back and has his body back in prime form, the East had better look out, because a motivated, pissed off, and bitter AI is going to be a force to reckon with down the stretch.

Poor organizations look for the weaknesses and reasons not to play a player.

Well run organizations find ways to minimize that weakness and maximize output.

All I’m saying is that everyone shouldn’t jump off the bandwagon because of one piss poor season in Detroit, where obviously Iverson was plagued by an ill suited situation and system, and a 3 game stint in some place called Memphis, with some team called the Grizzlies.

By: Morgan Spokny

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