Allen Iverson: Will He Ever Be Back in the NBA?

Dwayne MontellCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2011

When you look across the league, you still see cornrows, tattoos, arm sleeves, headbands and hip-hop culture and then you will realize there is someone missing.

The king of all that, the player who revolutionized the league his way, whether you liked it or not, the dude who broke ankles for 13 straight years and played every game as if it was his last is not there.

He is no where to be found and his story is quite tragic; in a way, he is the forgotten one, the league is missing the one and only Allen Iverson.  

In the 2007-08 season Iverson played on a 50 win Denver Nuggets squad and averaged 26.4 ppg and 7.2 apg.

At the start of the 2009 season he was shipped to Detroit and everything went downhill.

Iverson was put into what he described as "the worst situation of his career" and his reputation was unfairly tarnished by that season.

He went into free agency and signed with Memphis Grizzlies; it only lasted three games and it looked like the end for Iverson.

A month later though things were looking good as Iverson came back to the Philadelphia 76ers.

He was happy and it was a good situation; he was playing a very team-oriented game shooting only 11 shots per game and running a Princeton Offense. 

This all stopped when his daughter came down with an illness and he left the team for the season.

Iverson decided that he was done with the Sixers and both sides agreed to a buy out, however that same day his wife divorced him.

Reports surfaced that Iverson had a drinking and gambling problem and that he was broke.

After receiving no offers from NBA teams, Iverson signed with Besiktas Cola of the Turkish Basketball League.

He played just 10 games in Turkey before a lesion was discovered in his right calf, and right when he was starting to adjust to the European style of play, he was forced to come back to the United States for treatment.

Iverson averaged 14.3 PPG and five apg in 31 MPG playing in Turkey, shooting 44.2 percent from the field and was a hero to the Turkish fans. 

Last week ESPN reported that Iverson has recovered from his injury and is expected to return to his Turkish squad shortly.

Who knows what will happened when he goes back to Turkey, he probably won't be playing 30 mpg until the playoffs and his 35-year-old body will definitely take time to adjust back to basketball pace.

But one thing that has to be asked: will Allen Iverson ever be back in the NBA?

Some say Iverson was blackballed from the league—was he too hip-hop for the league?

Did David Stern decide that he has had enough of the Iverson entourage and the Iverson defiance?

If this is the case, then it is very sad and says a lot about the league. Stern controls the media and the media not only hates Iverson but respects Stern, so we wouldn't ever know for sure.

But say there is nothing going on behind closed doors; can Iverson play out the season in Turkey and show that he still has it, then return to the league in the off-season?

Iverson's had a lot of time off from basketball now and his body could healed up enough to play 30 mpg on an NBA team next season.

The league needs Iverson; they should not let AI go out like this, someone has to make the call.

If guys like Shaq, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter can still start, Iverson should be given that chance as well.

Some say he went to Turkey for the money; Iverson didn't really make a push to sign with an NBA team this past off-season, all signs point toward him having financial problems and it's not surprising, as Iverson basically lived in casinos when he was in the league.

But could he have really have blown over $200 million dollars?

His Denver home was recently foreclosed and he has a store on eBay where he sells some of his old products.

No matter what is said, one thing is certain: Allen Iverson certainly doesn't want to go out like this.

He came to the league in 1996, intimidating everyone in his path; the conservatives were afraid of him, defenders were afraid of him but the fans loved him.

He was misunderstood and it followed him his entire career and is probably the main reason he is out of the league now.

His whole career he did it his way and stayed real; he made his style mainstream and set trends like no athlete ever has. He was the Tupac Shakur of basketball.

If Iverson is to call it a career after he finishes up in Turkey, then he will still go down as one of the most exciting scorers ever.

He is a legendary athlete and is a bona fide first ballot Hall of Famer and I can promise you he will have one of the most interesting Hall of Fame speeches in history.

Iverson's impact will be felt in the league for a very long time; the sleeves, cornrows, tattoos, the hip-hop culture are always going to be in the league and this is all because of Allen Iverson.

Iverson deserves to go out playing meaningful basketball for a contender, he deserves to be in the Playoffs and he deserves the right situation where the coaches will respect him and the players will welcome him.


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