Since I wrote this article http://bleacherreport.com/articles/296409-david-stern-took-this-too-far-the-operation-to-destroy-allen-iverson (abbreviated account http://bleacherreport.com/articles/286323-the-tragic-story-of-allen-iversonhow-media-and-nba-sabotaged-his-career) 5 months ago, the day A.I. announced his brief "retirement", detailing the series of events the media and NBA teams, under the instruction of presumably Stern, undertook to undermine, sabotage, and ultimately destroy Allen Iverson's legacy and career and the publication of this article 3 years ago that eerily predicted A.I.'s demise http://www.nykfanpage.com/editorials/viewarticle.php?articleid=215, a series of other events have occurred that further proved that people high up are out there to get A.I. and drive him out of the league at all cost. These new developments deserve to be scrutinized and analyzed at length with a new article. After this ESPN article http://myespn.go.com/s/conversations/show/story/4937084, no one can dismiss this as a "conspiracy theory". We all know what Stern is capable of and he's the reason the NBA is no longer worth watching. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/370281-david-stern-the-reason-the-nba-is-no-longer-worth-watching
Soon after his forced "retirement", there was suddenly an outpour of supports from loyal fans especially from the City of Philadelphia, old teammates such as Eric Snow and Aaron McKie, his former coaches and father figures such as Larry Brown and John Thompson who both encouraged him to return to the game that defines A.I. The major backlash was obviously a surprise to Stern. A.I. fans petitioned and campaigned their teams to sign the blackballed superstar. When stat stuffer Lou Williams was injured, the Sixers, cornered by the fans, were forced to sign A.I. after he sat at home for a month lamenting that his career was officially sabotaged. There is one major catch to his signing, however. The contract was "non-guaranteed", which is essentially David Stern's way of saying that if you try to be the focal point and the superstar you are still capable of being again, you will be released. It is laughable that a man of A.I.'s talent and resume not only have to take the minimum, but a non-guaranteed contract. The Sixers slapped A.I. in the face and dissed the man who contributed so much to this franchise and this city with this clause. Ultimately, they were unwilling to let A.I. be A.I. That's why some fans were suggesting that A.I. was playing scared.
The coach phased him out offensively despite him obviously being the most talented player on the team (the team is almost .500 with him including blowing 2 games with Iguodala and Carney missing wide open buzzer beaters, rarely losing by double digits. They were 5-15 and on a 10 game losing streak before he showed up and 6-19 after he left. For that alone, he's the MVP for the Sixers this year. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/371301-why-allen-iverson-is-the-mvp-for-the-sixers-this-year) After coming back to Philly after sitting out a month without conditioning or playing basketball and having the learn the Princeton offense on the fly, A.I. was immediately thrown into action and obviously developed arthritis and had to have his knee drained. The arthritis forced him in and out of the lineup, but when he did suit up, he had very limited shot attempts despite getting to the free throw line at a decent clip with the limited amount of touches he was getting nightly. The Sixers also showed improvement as soon as he signed. Despite all this, the media right now continues to insult A.I.'s stint with the Sixers this year as a "bust". Given the trying circumstances (no training camp, fitting in on the fly, arthritis resulted from getting immediately thrown into action after not playing for a month, and playing a limited role), A.I. still managed to make a winning impact.
However, Iverson was not allowed to take the buzzer beater in January 8th 2 points loss against the Raptors and the 1-point loss against the Knicks 5 days later. Both games ended with his teammates missing wide open buzzer beaters when A.I. clearly should had been the one to take the shot or at least act as a decoy.
After Lou Williams came back from his injury, there was a lot of noise by the media hyping up Williams and how good his stats were. They started crying for Williams about how he "unfairly" lost his starting job even though the team was clearly better with A.I. starting than stat stuffer Lou Williams, who was with the team when they lost 10 in a row before A.I. arrived. Where are the media now when Williams needs them the most? He has been buried on the bench even after A.I. left the team. Isn't Lou's stats vastly superior to Jrue Holiday's? Why no love for Lou anymore now that the person starting in front of him is not named Allen Iverson? It happened with Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, and Mike Conley. The media always brainwashes fans into thinking A.I. is now a bench player and whoever scrub who plays his position on that team that the media never previously cared about is somehow suddenly an irreplaceable player. The fact is everybody in the NBA can put up "fantasy-worthy" numbers when he is getting starter's minutes, but whether he could be efficient with it and whether the team is winning or not is the main issue. It is all about maximizing the potential of everyone on your roster.
As A.I.'s return began to gain traction despite the media, Stern, and the front office's best effort to marginalize him, fans began to vote for him to the all-star game. I, for one, wrote an article urging real basketball fans to vote for A.I. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/317586-vote-allen-iverson-to-the-all-star-game, not based on his entire body of work, but for the winning impact he brought to the Sixers this year alone. It would not be far fetched at all if A.I. went through training camp with the Sixers, which would allow him to avoid arthritis, the Sixers would be competing with the Bucks and Bobcats for the 5th seed given that even a hobbled and marginalized Iverson can lead the Sixers to a record close to .500. The overrated Derrick Rose and Chris Bosh can't even lead their teams to .500 with far superior rosters. It is clear who the more valuable player is.
Yet as the ballot was about to close, the media, with dumb so-called "experts" aka Stern's cronies, bombarding fans hourly with hate-filled articles lashing out at the all-star voting process. They went as far as calling fans, the ones who pay them, "stupid" and "uneducated", yet they are the ones who are responsible for choosing role players like "Al Horford", "Jameer Nelson", "Mo Williams", "Rashard Lewis", and "Jamaal Magloire" to the all-star game. It was apparent that Stern had officially lost it at that time. All his effort to brainwash the fans into hating A.I. backfired and he was livid how popular A.I. still was despite almost 2 years of constant brainwashing claiming that A.I. is "washed up", "bench player", "role player", "team killer", "cancer", "loser", and every single name you can think of. The media was coming up with nonsensical rants hyping up stat stuffers like Monta Ellis, Tyreke Evans, Devin Harris, Danny Granger, and Rudy Gay, Stern's pet projects Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy, Rajon Rondo while forgetting that perennial stat stuffing losers like Michael Redd, Kevin Martin, Corey Maggette, Jason Richardson, Elton Brand, Antawn Jamison, and Zach Randolph rarely make the team.
Steve Nash, who was trashed by the media last year in favor of Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Tony Parker and was snubbed by the all-star game in his own home court last year, was suddenly a media darling again simply because he was the only one with a realistic shot to overtake Tracy McGrady. (Stern's preferred choice, Paul, was too far behind in the votes.)
A.I., with his contract now guaranteed and his play picking up (including a memorable duel with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in late January. That was the last time he got 30 plus minutes.), claimed that all-star game is for the fans and felt he deserved to make the team. He openly thanked his fans on twitter and was adamant that he will attend the weekend's festivity. Larry Brown opined that A.I. deserved the nod. Just as A.I. seemed to be finally on his way back to prominence, he was gone. The official reason was that his daughter was deathly ill, but no one with half a brain cell would buy that. Someone high up forced him to leave just so he wouldn't be at the all-star game. Can you picture A.I. at the all-star game and accepting the MVP of the game from Stern? Just as the picture of Mark Cuban accepting the championship trophy from David Stern, Stern would never allow this to happen. Upset that his plan to make the fans hate A.I. did not work, he forced A.I. out of the all-star game and ultimately the NBA altogether.
Interestingly enough, the day after the all-star game, A.I. was back in uniform. He played 3 more games, getting limited minutes and offensive touches. Then, presumably frustrated and disillusioned with the politics of the NBA, he left the team again.
From then on, the media seems to realize that the time is ripe again to keep beating a dead horse. First, report sufficed that A.I.'s wife had filed for divorce. A development that has nothing to do with basketball. Yet, for the first time ever, ESPN, Yahoo Sports, NBA.com all became TMZ and tabloids sites. Dwyane Wade, Vince Carter, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kenyon Martin are just a few well-known NBA players who went through divorce or marital problems in recent years. It had nothing to do with basketball. It did not affect their performances on the court. It was also largely ignored by the sports media. How is A.I.'s situation any different?
A few days later, journalist Stephen A. Smith, a basketball insider who has connection to all the power brokers in the NBA, used the most boring and overplayed argument by detractors of A.I. that Iverson was "gambling and drinking his life away". First of all, plenty of NBA players have similar problems including Michael Jordan, whose gambling problems was a subject of a probe in the early '90s http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/18/sports/pro-football-jordan-gambling-saga-has-new-twist-taylor.html?pagewanted=1. Furthermore, A.I., like many other superstars in the NBA, has been drinking and gambling his entire career. How is this news worthy? It has nothing to do with basketball. It doesn't have any relevance to his play on the court or the fact that he is getting blackballed, unfairly targeted by the media, and marginalized by his team. Aside from the fact that this story will act as justification to the fans when no team will sign A.I. this offseason and a mean to further derail his career and legacy, I fail to see any other purpose.
The newest story related to A.I. reveals that it was Michael Jordan, the golden child of Stern in the '90s and a guy who obviously has direct access to Stern, who prevented Larry Brown from reuniting with Allen Iverson. It is really no surprise at all given that Jordan is obviously part of Stern's inner circle. All these subsequent developments since my last article only make me more convinced that Stern is personally responsible for derailing A.I.'s career.