Like so many NBA players before him, Allen Iverson has jumped the pond to refine his basketball skills. Not quite NBA-ready as coaches and general managers would like, Allen Iverson took his talents to Iztuzu Beach in Turkey.
In his defense, Allen Iverson is not the first player (and won’t be the last) to try to adjust to the physicality and speed of the NBA by honing his trade outside of the United States. American-born German, Dirk Nowitzki, returned to his native country to eat their growth-inducing food to become seven-feet tall, ultimately becoming the world’s tallest shooting guard.
So who can blame Allen Iverson for doing the same? Looking at the immediate success of a guy like Brandon Jennings has left an impression on all basketball fans.
Sure, he could have retreated to the Developmental League like ex-Celtic-Hawk-Maverick-Heat-Timberwolve Antoine Walker to pursue fame, riches and glory.
But Allen Iverson is no punk and wants to do things the right way.
Here’s a look at the most viable destinations for Allen Iverson when he returns newly skilled and ready for the rigors of the National Basketball Association.
Nobody benefited from the absence of Michael Jordan more than Allen Iverson. Iverson seemed to be the immediate answer to the general disinterest hanging over the NBA since the 1998-1999 season.
Merchandise, ticket sales, gone was the face of the game—the entire league seemed to be going down the drain.
Then, Commissioner David Stern saw Allen Iverson’s crossover.
The ball would start from the top of A.I.’s right ear and tucked tightly to his tiny frame. It then moves downward and out, away from the right side of his body. His hand would slip underneath the ball, lugging it from extreme right side to extreme left side.
Ankles were shattered. Fans were in love. And whistles were swallowed.
The carry was officially considered a crossover. Papa Stern could do nothing but smile; an elite scorer was born, bred on the backs of the black-n-whites whose instruments were no longer constructive to the game of basketball.
Now those days are gone. The carry is illegal…again. Referee's jobs are more secure then ever, as the demand for whistle-blowers is at an all-time high.
Once there was a mutual hatred between NBA referees and the cross/carry-over artist Allen Iverson. Now, who better than Allen Iverson to wear the stripes? Who could more easily recognize the move that made him famous?
The Los Angeles Lakers need a starting shooting guard. Other than their solid four starters at every position, LA lacks a legitimate scorer that can take over games when it matters most.
The Answer: Allen Iverson
Putting Kobe Bryant on the bench, where he belongs, will offer Phil Jackson and company the desired 6th Lakers title in the last 12 years.
Let’s be honest, the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t getting it done this year.
Kobe Bryant’s measly 26.7 PPG is holding this team back from being an elite team in the Western Conference and they’re struggling to keep up with league’s cream of the crop such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the only team worthy of the luxurious Staples Center, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Allen Iverson can provide what this team needs: scoring, some know-how and a team-first attitude.
The triangle offense needs a player like Allen Iverson to be effective. When the shot clock is dwindling to as low as 17 or even 15 seconds, Iverson can put the Lakers on his back and hoist shots up to beat the buzzer.
The Doug Collins experiment is over.
The lowly 10-15 Philadelphia 76ers need a no-nonsense individual to step in and take the reigns from the loosey-goosey hands of head coach Doug Collins.
Collins set plays aren’t working and over the last 15 years, nobody has had more success in Philly than Allen Iverson.
The player-coach hasn’t been used since the 1980s, but has had some success. Even the mediocre Boston Celtics center Bill Russell made use of the strategy in the 1960s, guiding his team to the Eastern Conference Finals, only to lose to none other than the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1966-67 NBA season.
Known for his discipline and strict demeanor, Iverson could revise the city of Philadelphia from their lackluster success since he left the city.
Player, coach, the Answer—sounds more like God stepping in to provide some much-needed manna from the heavens.
General Manager of the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, has lost his mind. If the Celtics were to have this roster 7-8 years ago, it would make the current Miami Heat laughable. James, Wade, Bosh—the Bigness of three would be no big deal.
And who would care? Probably nobody would give a talent-taking speech a second thought when the Boston Celtics already employ five legitimate NBA superstars, six if you believe the whispers about the T-happy Rasheed Wallace returning.
But…this isn’t 7-8 years ago. Most of the Celtics are grandfathers, smoking pipes, playing harmonicas and competing to be in Just For Men hair color commercials.
The other Bostonians are troublemakers by nature:
Marquis Daniels is throwing up gang signs at elementary school children as they get off the bus.
Half the time that Nate Robinson sees the court, he is unsure of what hoop to shoot at. But he is sure of one thing—he will be shooting the ball.
Delonte West re-performs his favorite Robert Rodriguez films in his spare time and pretends to be his favorite actor, Antonio Banderas, riding through the streets of Maryland with a guitar case full of weapons.
Von Wafer likes to throw punches in practice, which is mostly fine with Coach Doc Rivers because team officials have confiscated all guitar cases at the door. He knows it won’t get out of hand.
And don’t get me started on Glen Davis, whose “Big Baby” nickname stems from archaic eating habits.
This got me thinking: With the combination of troublemakers and over-the-hill-ers that the Celtics seem to employ, what better team for Allen Iverson?
He won’t be a media nightmare, testifying about boxing matches at practice, because, well, he most likely won’t be there.
Secondly, this gives Boston a Shrek and Donkey backup of Shaq and Iverson. If Baby and Nate aren’t playing well, or if the pace of the game is just too fast for the rickety, wobbling legs of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet, Doc Rivers can slow it down to his liking.
If there is one thing that Commissioner David Stern excels at, it is selling his product. What do David Stern and Allen Iverson have in common? Well, it’s not the love they receive from basketball fans. That’s for sure.
Allen Iverson has been a trendsetter for the NBA for over 10 years and we’re still seeing the effects of it. Add Stern’s uncanny ability to sell, resell, package, repackage and distribute the players as Athens-esque gods and you have the newly appointed position of Official Trendsetter of Basketball Operations, Allen Iverson.
Whether it’s the ridiculous sock-sleeve, the cornrows, the removal of cornrows, the tattoos from head-to-toe or zippers on already-hideous sneakers, Allen Iverson can make it cool.
And what makes David Stern so great is that he can publicly scowl all he wants about the Allen Iverson archetype player, then retreat back to his luxury suite and count his coins like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Nobody really knows what the arm sleeve does, mostly because nobody has asked since the early 2000s when Allen Iverson surprised everybody with a ceremonial sock to commemorate himself as awesome.
The cornrows were an instant favorite. Then Allen Iverson shed the locks and other players followed. Richard Hamilton and Carmelo Anthony soon gave in and made themselves presentable.
Then the hardest hit came; Lil Bow Wow became old enough to own a pair of sheers. The trend followed outside of the locker rooms of the NBA and into the fans’ hearts, which in David Stern’s mind, leads right back to their wallets.
With David Stern selling whatever A.I. can come up with, no need to worry about a possible lock-out next season; the non-basketball products will still sell.