Allen Iverson's Future in the NBA—Questions Surrounding "The Answer"
We all remember the Allen Iverson of yesteryear. The man who stunned the NBA world after two spectacular seasons at Georgetown University. The little guy with a titanic game, and an ego to match.
This feisty little jitterbug effectively redefined the game for undersized scoring guards, with his lightning first step and his unparalleled ball handling abilities. He single-handedly paved the way and earned respect for, an entirely new breed of NBA player: the 6-0 scorer.
In his prime, Iverson was virtually unchallenged for the title of the NBA's most talented scorer, an attribute widely recognized by millions of adoring fans.
Throughout his career, he garnered an astounding 11 All-Star selections, four scoring titles, the 1996 Rookie of the Year award, and most importantly, the 2001 Most Valuable Player award, becoming the shortest league participant to receive this coveted title.
Few, if any, can boast such an impressive on-court resumé, yet he will still be immortally remembered for one word.
I can count on one hand the amount of players that have graced this league with an offensive arsenal of sheer genius like Allen Iverson's. However, he will be forever remembered in similar fashion for his infamous off-court antics.
Can Allen Iverson really play in the NBA again?
And now in the twilight of his career, amidst invading media coverage of his shattered personal endeavours and conflicted family life, "The Answer" must find a solution to the biggest question of all: should I stay or should I go?
His inflated ego and unwillingness to accept a supporting role on a decent team saw his tenure with both Detroit and Memphis end on horrible terms in the recent past.
Surprisingly however, the city that made him the household name he is today welcomed him once more, with hesitantly open arms. Iverson played a total 25 games for the Philadelphia 76ers last season, before he suspended his playing career to deal with personal problems.
Despite his undesirable locker room presence and arrogant approach toward the game, it is rumoured that a handful of NBA teams are willing to take a gamble on the ex-MVP turned drama queen.
Ohio-based NBA.com writer Sam Amico has reported that both the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Hornets may circumstantially have opened their doors to Iverson, resulting in heated debate around many high profile basketball circles.
But these offers beg the question: can he do it? Can he still preform at an NBA level? Iverson turned 35 in June, and those thousands of minutes he logged as an elite scorer are creeping up on him, causing his aforementioned All-star form to desert him.
Many of the fans in Philadelphia last season, and indeed around the league, did not see an NBA star at career crossroads still putting up solid performances (e.g Ray Allen).
Instead, they saw a man battling a severe gambling addiction, and that same man recovering from a period of heavy alcohol abuse.
They saw a man who was portrayed as a player trying to prove to others he could still hold his own with the new kids on the block.
But we all saw was a man, who was desperately trying to prove this to himself.
This summer Iverson announced he would accept a reserve role, if it meant he could gain a place on a championship contending roster.
But this long overdue acceptance of what we all saw a long time ago, may be too little to late. The many years of self denial, and poor off-court personality will likely prevent him from holding a place on most these teams.
After putting his past behind him and ridding his personal life of all ills, can he potentially play at a high level again?
Or has the postponement of recognising the unfriendly truth about his rapidly decaying athletic abilities, and his trademark cockiness prevented him from grasping one final shot at an NBA Championship, and obtaining a sustainable, but short term NBA future?
Only A.I can give us the "The Answer"' to these questions. But the clock is ticking on his spotted NBA legacy.
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