Another day of the NBA off season goes by and Allen Iverson is still a free agent, a free agent that hasn't got any interest from any team in the league(except the Miami Heat). A player who has been forgotten, a player who has been ignored, a player who has been disrespected and blackballed. It is a tragic story and one that needs to be looked into more.
Many are quick to point out why Allen Iverson is not getting any interest from teams this off season. Team owners throughout the league fear that Allen can disrupt a teams chemistry and become a distraction, they believe he has lost a step and his ego is too big to accept a 6th man role. But if you look deeper into this tragic story you will learn Allen himself is not the reason he is unemployed, something is up and other people throughout the league have to be involved.
A player of Allen Iverson's caliber shouldn't be left unemployed. A player that has accomplished as much as Allen Iverson has throughout his career should not be left unemployed either. Just take a look at his resume and the things he has accomplished in this league.
97 Rookie Of The Year
97 Rookie Game MVP
97 All Rookie First-Team
7 x All-NBA Selection
3 x steals champion(01,02,03)
4 x NBA Scoring Champion(99,01,02,05)
11 x NBA All-Star
2 x NBA All-Star Game MVP(01,05)
2001 NBA MVP
1983 Career Steals (12th all-time)
5624 Career Assists(4th Actively)
24,368 Career Points in just 914 games played (17th all-time)
One of only 5 players in NBA History to average at least 30 ppg and 8 apg in a season
Career Average of 2.2 SPG(7th all-time)
Career Average of 6.2 APG
Career Average of 26.7 PPG(6th all-time)
The resume speaks for itself, Allen Iverson has done everything you can possibly do individually in the NBA. He is a bonafide first ballot Hall of Famer. There are only about 4 other active players that have accomplished more or just as much. He will go down as at least one of the 25 greatest players of all-time. So how can somebody with a resume like that be unemployed right now? How can somebody with a resume like that even be ignored in free agency?
Don't give me the Shaq has a better a resume and he is also unemployed, the truth is Shaq will get on a team and nobody is preventing Shaq from getting on a team except for himself. Shaq was offered a contract by teams this off season but he turned it down because he felt the money wasn't good enough for him, even though he has made more than any player in the league. Shaq had interest from the Spurs,Hawks and even the Heat but that interest was lost. Currently Shaq has a offer from the Boston Celtics sitting on the table and it is also worth the league minimum, now that Shaq knows that is all he will get, he will eventually sign with the Celtics.
The Tracy McGrady story is different because a.) He doesn't have near the resume Iverson and Shaq do and b.) Teams are passing on him because he is very injury prone and that is why he is considered a risk.
Allen Iverson is not injury prone, he is not asking for anything more then the league minimum, he even said he would play any role the team wanted him to. Yes he is 35 years old but he is a freak of nature and has that gift of being able play along time like many legends in the past. In the right system with the right minutes Iverson can still give a team 23 ppg and 6 apg, he can also help lead a team to the playoffs. If a 36 year old Steve Nash can have one of his best individual seasons and lead a team to the Western Conference Finals, then Iverson can definitely still play in the NBA and still play 35 mpg.
Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Derek Fisher and Ray Allen all guards that are as old or older then Iverson are all still playing meaningful basketball and leading their teams and none of them have near the athletic ability Allen Iverson has or has ever had. So why is he still left unemployed?
Allen Iverson can help many teams in the NBA right now either as a 6th man or a starter, he can lead a team to the playoffs himself or be a 2nd or 3rd option on a contender. Teams are afraid of him ever since his stint in Detroit where he was misused by Coach Curry. Look at the numbers Iverson had in Detroit and before you say this is when he slowed down look at the mpg, the shots per game, the usage rate and you will realize he sacrificed more then ever and more then any player of his caliber should have to.
After the season in Detroit, Allen was more motivated then ever and worked very hard over the off season. The only got interest he got was from the Memphis Grizzlies and even they thought he was a 6th man. Iverson did not want to waste a summer of hard work sitting on the bench for a team full of youngsters in a year where he was supposed to prove to everybody that he is still one of the leagues best stars.
When Lou Williams went out with a broken jaw the Sixers needed a replacement and at that point just sell tickets and jerseys so they brought back their legend Allen Iverson. Allen came to Philadelphia after a month off from basketball, in that month off Allen must have gambled, drank and partied excessively. He was free to do whatever he wanted, no longer did he have to follow diet plans or workout because for him basketball was over. He took a month off and it wasn't just any month off it was an Allen Iverson month off and that is what hurt him.
When he got to Philly he was rusty, a bit fatter, slower, weaker and he wasn't in game shape. A 34 year old taking a month off and eating and drinking whatever for a month without working out is not going to be ready to play NBA basketball. It showed in Philly, all of AI's points came off of jumpers, he was still getting to the line but he couldn't finish through traffic like he once could, his first step took a small hit, his conditioning was bad and his jumper wasn't as wet as usual.
The league was all of a sudden brain washed into thinking Allen Iverson is a bench player, the NBA didn't help Iverson either all the writers wrote Iverson off and supported the theory that he was a bench player. These articles that ran on NBA.com were articles that are read by fans all across the world. ESPN who has a history of bashing Iverson did their part, every week Iverson was given negative press and labelled as a washed up superstar who's ego is too big.
Everyone that has followed basketball for the past decade knows Iverson and NBA Commissioner David Stern don't have such a good relationship. As a matter of fact one can argue that Stern has hated Iverson ever since he entered the league. Allen Iverson changed the league by turning it hip-hop. Before Iverson you did not see players with cornrows, tattoos and hip hop clothing on. Iverson was the first to do it and the rest of the league now thought it was okay as well. Michael Jordan had retired and Allen Iverson was the face of the league but he was intimidating to a lot of people.
As the years went by Iverson became one of the most popular athletes in the world and now all over the world kids were wearing Iverson jerseys and sleeves. David Stern did not like this, the best player in the league looked like a criminal and the rest of the league was following his lead. Iverson made his style mainstream and the world loved him, he made the league a lot of money.
Stern realized that Iverson was the face of the league and there was nothing he could do about it. Stern wanted Iverson to become an angle, he wanted Iverson to be the clean cut superstar that doesn't make any mistakes. Iverson found this fake and wasn't changing for anybody, he valued his identity and always spoke his mind. When Stern enforced a dress code in 2005 which was mainly because of Iverson players across the league weren't to happy and Iverson was the first to speak his mind about it.
Iverson spoke his mind on any controversial issue and Stern didn't like it, now that LeBron James had entered the league it was time to change him into the face of the league. LeBron was the perfect clean cut superstar Iverson wasn't, James said all the right things and endorsed the NBA. The league was slowly turning into what Stern had always hoped for it to be.
When Iverson was traded to Denver he showed no signs of slowing down, he had some of the best statistical seasons of his career. But the Nuggets failed to get past the Lakers and the media blamed Iverson. In Iverson's contract year he was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups, the media immediately wrote Iverson off and said he needed to sacrifice more then ever. The Pistons had a new coach and failed to mesh as a unit, Iverson was a free lance player being forced to play half court basketball for the first time in his career and he struggled. The Pistons had one of their worst seasons of the decade and were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. All of a sudden the media in the NBA just started destroying Iverson, they unfairly blamed him.
The Nuggets did better with Billups, they won 54 games which was four more then they did with Iverson. In the playoffs they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals, with Iverson they also lost to the Lakers in the playoffs except that was a sweep. So really with Billups the Nuggets improved just a little bit, had that Nuggets team with Iverson won 2 more games in 07-08 they wouldn't have had to face the Los Angeles Lakers and were capable of beating any other team in the conference. Now that the Nuggets had a better season without Iverson the media continued to destroy him.
This bashing may have been called for by David Stern, for so many years he wanted to destroy Iverson but couldn't because Iverson was the most popular player in the league and was if not the best player in the league then usually in the top 5. In his contract year Iverson was being killed by the media weather it was on NBA.com, or ESPN and one thing everybody knows is that David Stern controls the basketball media. If Stern had an agenda to destroy Allen Iverson then it had to take full effect in his contract year because that is the year that would determine how the rest of his career will turn out. Iverson's reputation had been tarnished, the leagues owners and coaches were brainwashed into thinking Iverson is a washed up distraction who has no value.
Due to this bashing from the media Iverson had lost a lot of respect throughout the league, after a season of averaging 26.4 ppg and 7.2 apg he was all of a sudden a bench player in peoples eyes. No longer could he demand shots, touches and minutes and if he did he would be cut form the team. Many people say that Stern was privately telling teams to keep Iverson on a leash and not let him take the team over.
In Dave Zirins "Louder Than A Bomb" column in SLAM magazine he says sources told him that teams were afraid to sign Allen Iverson because they knew the referees don't like him and he doesn't get all the calls, teams did not want to have a player that was going to cost them games because the officials don't like him. It is a very sad thing and Stern might know about these things.
In disgraced referee Tim Donaghy's book "Personal Foul" he reveals that officials hated Iverson and did not give him calls to teach him a lesson. Donaghy is now out of prison and very active on the internet, last week I e mailed him asking about Iverson. My question was: "Tim what do you know about the Allen Iverson situation in the league, is Stern and other league officials trying to run him out of the NBA and making sure he doesn't get good press? do they have an agenda to ruin his career?"
Donaghy replied the next day: "Yes, Stern has always hated Iverson and is killing him right now he controls the media and this is why Allen Iverson is in the situation he is in". I was shocked when I read this but apart of me always thought Stern and the media had an agenda to destroy AI.
Notice now when ESPN or TNT plays national tv games they purposely forget about Iverson when certain records and achievements are brought up, in 2009 when LeBron James won MVP Mike Brown also won Coach of the Year and TNT brought up all the players and coaches that won MVP and Coach Of The Year on the same team in the same year and every name was there except for Allen Iverson and Larry Brown.
In a Clippers-Nuggets game on National TV last season Baron Davis had just recorded his 5000th assist, this was on the day Allen Iverson was waived by the Grizzlies. The commentators for that game repeated the following line at least 5 times in about 2 minutes: "With that assist Baron Davis now becomes the 4th active player in the NBA to have 5000 assists for his career he joins Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Andre Miller". Allen Iverson's name was not mentioned and he has over 5000 assists.
In TNT's player of the decade list Allen Iverson was not included, despite accomplishing more then LeBron James and Steve Nash have in the past decade. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Jalen Rose all thought Allen Iverson should have been at number four on that list behind Kobe, Tim Duncan and Shaq but sadly Iverson's name wasn't even mentioned.
David Stern could very well be pulling some string to destroy AI. I know something was up when Allen Iverson's only supporter in the media Stephen A. Smith revealed that Iverson had drinking and gambling problems, this was a week after Iverson had been released by the Philadelphia 76ers. Stephen A. Smith out of all the people was the first to add insult to injury at that point Iverson's image was already tarnished enough and the only supporter Iverson has had in the media throughout his career does that to him?
Then David Stern the genius he is tried to cover it all up by giving Iverson's manager Gary Moore a call and showing concern for Iverson, he said Allen can come to him for help. This was all a cover up, Stern does not care for Iverson and never has he put Iverson in this whole and tried covering it up by calling him then telling the media he called him. Its almost as funny as when he went to that Barber shop in New York with cameras and talked to a couple of guys about the dress code.
I find it weird how Iverson still remains a free agent with no interest. Could Stern be calling for this to happened? Is Iverson purposely being ignored? sadly it is possible. It is a tragic story and before you think Allen Iverson has fell off just remember the NBA itself may have thrown him off as revenge. It would be a very cruel and evil think to do, Iverson made the league millions of dollars and bridged the gap between the Jordan and LeBron era.
If Iverson doesn't get on a team before the season starts it will be evident that someone is keeping him down and preventing it from happening. It maybe the end of "The Answers" era but I am really starting to question the end.