At this stage in his career, is Allen Iverson, 36, worthy of enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame? It’s definitely a question worth debating.
Join me as I take a deeper look into what the retorts might be about the future enshrinement possibilities for the controversial player nicknamed "The Answer.” It’ll be entertaining, educational and could get moody.
Tempers often flare when discussing Iverson. Even A.I.’s nickname is contentious; he was once sued by a former friend who claimed to have given him the handle.
There isn’t any hullabaloo about A.I.’s handles with the dribble, though. Iverson and another sure Hall of Fame former player from Pennsylvania, Kobe Bryant, made the crossover illustrious.
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Basketball Hall of Fame last Friday inducted a certain lightning rod for controversy named Dennis “The Worm” Rodman. He was enshrined along with honorees including Chris Mullin, Reece “Goose” Tatum, Tex Winter and Herb Magee (Philladelphia University head coach).
When considering a person for enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame, the individual’s morality is a key concern among voters.
Some could argue that if the admittedly decadent Dennis made it, then Iverson should. Unlike Rodman, though, A.I. hasn’t won any Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophies. D-Rod won five. Advantage: Rodman.
Mullin doesn’t own an NBA championship, but he did win a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. Unlike the pro football and baseball halls of fame, basketball awards accomplishments worldwide. A.I. hasn’t won an Olympics gold medal. Advantage: Mullin.
Amateurs are eligible to be honored in basketball. That’s not the case in football and baseball. The former Harlem Globetrotter, Tatum, has zero NBA awards. Advantage: Iverson.
A.I. was one of the elite professional players in the world. The honors committee is the elite body that approves candidates. The Hall’s board of trustees, however, has the power to remove a candidate it has deemed to have damaged the game’s integrity.
Allen Iverson is perhaps dangerously close to teetering on that edge. After his troubles in the league with coaches in Philadelphia, Detroit and Memphis, and his recent trouble with the law, he’s more of a question mark than an answer for the Hall of Fame at this point.
If he’s given another chance in the NBA and proves he’s overcome his adversity, then it will go a long way to helping him into the Hall. The new owners could win an infinite number of brownie points by bringing A.I. back to Philadelphia. He’d probably be inducted as a 76er.
His Philly swagger is certainly off the charts, but he’s not a braggadocios player like Deion “Prime "Time” Sanders who was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A.I. usually thanks his teammates for sacrificing and most of them appreciate his unique gifts.
Like Sanders, while Iverson’s fizzled rap music career was probably a good thing, he does have the media rap of being a non-team player, deservedly or undeservedly. A.I. isn’t as surly to the media as Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, though.
In my experience interacting with both my surly and pleasant readers, Allen Iverson is viewed as either a unifying force and a winner or a divisive diva and a loser by Philadelphia fans. Not many other athletes have managed to be more polarizing to a base.
But, Iverson’s fans are worldwide and that’s what the Basketball Hall of Fame is all about. Across the seven seas, believe it or not, Iverson is almost as popular as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are.
Back in Philadelphia, some people love A.I. and some hate him because of his swagger. But, his haters must, like his teammates, respect the electrifying skills Iverson possessed.
Isn’t that what the Hall is about…skills? Yes, of course. The elite of the elite players have some type of skill that sets them apart from the others. Rodman’s was being a cross-dressing wedding diva. I digress, but you get the general idea.
Iverson’s ideas about scoring, getting steals and assists could cure his candidacy. Some say he’s a cancer and doesn’t choose to help younger teammates, but I ask those critics to provide me one example where a player has said such.
Not many played the game as determined, concentrated and all-out on a nightly basis like Iverson. Rodman played just as hard, but A.I. could surely give a better Hall of Fame induction speech than Dennis.
A.I. has done more for his community than his critics and Rodman, probably admittedly, could ever do.
In my humble opinion, A.I. will someday be a Pro Basketball Hall of Famer. What’s your
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