Recent reports have Allen Iverson preparing to leave the NBA to take his game to Turkey on the grounds that no NBA team wants "The Answer." Sure there may be some baggage that comes along with acquiring A.I., but he is far from completely done in the NBA. It would be a tragedy for the league to lose its greatest little man of all time, before he is ready to go. Here is a list of 10 reasons why Allen Iverson should still be playing in the NBA.
It's simple. If Tracy McGrady, who gets injured every other game and Shaquille O'Neal whose game has deteriorated ever since winning his last ring in Miami, can find jobs in this league, there is no reason why Allen cannot. It is not necessarily a talent thing. Allen Iverson was 10 times the player McGrady was, and was just as important a player to his team as Shaq was. It is more of a respect thing.
Allen Iverson's game has deteriorated no more than either McGrady or O'Neal's and he deserves a chance to continue competing in this league.
Allen Iverson will forever go down as one of the best NBA players to never win a championship ring. The former MVP will be on that list with the likes of players like Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. It certainly was not a factor of effort considering that he did lead the Sixers to a Finals appearance against the Lakers in 2001. Iverson was also one of the unlucky few to play for the Olympic team in 2004, the only USA basketball team to not win Olympic gold since NBA players were inserted into the Olympics.
Just like Karl Malone and Gary Payton did with the Lakers, Allen Iverson is supposed to be chasing a ring with some contender. Teams like Boston, LA and Miami could easily accommodate a player like Iverson on their roster. He would not clamor for minutes knowing that he has a chance to win a ring.
Allen Iverson stated this past offseason that he just wants to play in the NBA again, and he would be willing to take any role that an NBA team is willing to give him. Frankly, there is no reason not to believe him. No one can question his love and desire for the game of basketball, and perhaps that love has indeed caused him to change his ways.
For the few people who actually watched Sixers games last year, you have to admit that he definitely has something left in the tank. Of course his game has diminished some and that is understandable considering the number of injuries he's incurred but he can still play. His production might not be suitable enough to be a team's starting SG or PG, but he could easily come off of the bench and contribute a couple of baskets every night.
One of the best things about having Allen Iverson on the roster last year for the Sixers was the simple fact that he taught that team how to play tough. In a game versus L.A., Iverson was bumped and bruised all night, but led the Sixers in scoring. He persevered on every play and an example like Iverson could be awesome for a young team trying to learn how to play tough because if you made an all-time NBA "toughness" team, A.I. would have to be the first pick.
I know that this is not technically basketball related, but come on. You have to admit that his shoe commercials were amazing. His first commercials which featured him explaining the crossover to an interested scientist was pure genius. And no one can forget the commercials for the A5 and A6 which both featured rapper Jadakiss. The commercial for the A6 also featured a solo by A.I. himself. Although he has not had a shoe commercial out for sometime, this had to make the list.
The drastic drop in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, since Allen's first departure from the Sixers was sheer proof of the attendance that the Answer generates. Iverson has drawn crowds at games and press conferences since he entered the league in 1996, and it's no wonder why international teams want to cash in on that. Iverson may not pack an arena in the NBA like he used to, but it's guaranteed that with A.I on the team, the arena would not be empty.
No reporter who has ever covered Allen Iverson can ever say that he was boring. From the notorious "practice" press conference to his heartfelt press conference in his return to the Sixers, it was clear that for every question, there was an "Answer." Iverson wore his emotions on his sleeves and that came through in his dealings with the media. When he was sad, you knew he was sad. When he was angry, you knew he was angry. And when he was happy, you knew he was happy. Allen Iverson was as real as it gets and the NBA could use a few more players like that.
The No. 1 reason why Allen Iverson should stay in the NBA is his passion and love for the game of basketball. Basketball saved Allen Iverson from the rough upbringing that he had in Newport News, Virginia. It helped him to find a way to circumvent unwarranted jail time and to wind up attending Georgetown University where he met his mentor and coach John Thompson. It made him the No. 1 pick in 1996 and allowed him to become an international icon. Iverson never forgot all that the game did for him. He put his body on the line every night for the game he loved. He allowed it to show through passionate reactions with the fans, and on-court actions like the famous step over Tyronn Lue after knocking down a huge shot in the 2001 Finals.
Any player who exudes this kind of passion for the NBA should get to leave it on his own terms. He should not be cast aside because he can clearly still offer something to an NBA roster. It is a shame to know that the NBA may not see the "Answer" ever again and it is surprising that it is ending this way. But do not be surprised if Allen Iverson dons an NBA jersey again one day. This scrappy little guy definitely has just enough fight in him to make that happen.