Is An All-Star Game Without AI, Really an All-Star Game?

Scott SerlesCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2011

CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 22: Allen Iverson #1 of the Detroit Pistons looks on from the bench during a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 22, 2009 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 99-78. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With the NBA All-Star game hours away, I could not be less excited. As a casual fan of the NBA, living in a town (St. Louis) without an NBA franchise, it is not easy to get amped up about the gala.

Today's NBA superstars, besides Kobe, I find very vanilla and quite boring. LeBron, Kevin Durant, Carmelo, D-Wade are not that interesting to me, the casual fan without a team anywhere near.

One superstar is conspicuously absent from the game, in fact from the league altogether.

Who? You might ask?


And I'm not talking about Andre Igoudala.

Allen Iverson, a true NBA superstar and an intriguing personality that the NBA currently lacks.

Iverson, from what I hear, is in the United States and on the mend from an injury he suffered playing in the Turkish league for an un-Answer like $2 million a season.

What is Iverson doing playing in the Turkish league?

I once read in ESPN the Magazine, in a column they call, "Player X" (which honestly has become the only interesting thing in the magazine as of late) that certain players are blackballed from the league and exiled to the foreign leagues to finish their career.

Are you telling me that Allen Iverson, at 35 is not better than the 12th man on the Cleveland Cavaliers? Don't you think that some team could sign this global icon to increase ticket sales?

I can see a player like Stephon Marbury, with his insane youtube videos or Rashad McCants getting put on rain delay and never being let back into the league.

But not AI.

Does anyone remember what Iverson did for this league post-Jordan. He, along with Kobe Bryant carried the league.  And if it was not for those two, a guy like me, the casual fan in St. Louis would have lost interest in the post-Jordan apocalypse.

Now I am bias, Iverson is my favorite all-time athlete.  Not only for what kind of basketball player he is, but I liked him because I believed he could have made the NFL and been a star.  Add this to the fact that the man is probably the toughest guy to ever play the game and played every single game like it was his last.   I think inner-city youth, who the NBA SHOULD be marketed to, liked his uncompromising approach.  I know I always respected it.

Now I know that Iverson made the 50 year old white males who bought luxury boxes uncomfortable.  I know his disdain for 'practice.' So what?

The NBA lacks personalities now.

Rasheed Wallace retired, and Ron Artest has been neutered in Los Angeles.  The league has an abundance of great players, but they are all walking the company line.  

You know how you always hear people talking about who is going to be the next Jordan, the next NBA superstar that's going to turn the NBA back into the global phenomenon that it was during Jordan's rule.

Who has come along to fill Iverson's Reeboks? No one, yet.

I thought Brandon Jennings had great promise, when he dropped the double nickel, early in his rookie season. But he hasn't quite approached Iverson-like status or respect, or controversy for that matter.

He has been persona non-grata as of recent.  I still hold out great hope for Jennings, but right now, I am still looking for the next AI.

Somebody in the NBA, please sign this guy, I think he has learned his lesson and would welcome a chance to come off the bench for a team like the Clippers or Golden St.

Forgive me if I ignore the All-Star game this year,  the game for me, without Bubba Chuck doesn't matter.  Not "ALL" of the All-Stars are there.