The End For the Answer: Allen Iverson Retires

Shady BotrosAnalyst INovember 25, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Allen Iverson #3 of the Memphis Grizzlies staands on the court in the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 6, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 114-98.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen A. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that guard Allen Iverson will retire. Iverson plans to move on from playing basketball and spend more time with his family.

It appears that this is how it will end for the Answer. His career started great and it’s sad to see his career end this way.

Here were Iverson’s statements about retiring "I always thought that when I left the game, it would be because I couldn't help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However, that is not the case, I still have tremendous love for the game, the desire to play, and a whole lot left in my tank. I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level."

After the fiasco in Detroit in which Iverson came out as a bad guy in Detroit after being shut down due to a “back injury”. Especially due how negative the press was about Iverson in Detroit and the way Billups rejuvenated the Nuggets.

The last season and a half have been a nightmare for Iverson. He was sent to Detroit in a trade that, now, looks extremely lopsided, released by them, and then signed with a team that perennially stinks.

All because he refused to come off the bench and his services are now refused due to being a me-first player with no interests of being a sixth man. The New York Knicks wouldn’t even offer him a contract.

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The notion around the league has been that Iverson’s skills have diminished and that he’s lost a step. That is partly true, Iverson can now only play well against the guys he used to dominate.

This isn’t the same guy who stole home court for the Lakers and gave Sixers’ fans a chance that maybe they had a shot in this series.

However, Iverson believes that his skills are the same and that he is being blackballed out of the league due to his locker room influence and popularity among most players in the NBA.

The former first overall pick is certainly in the argument as the greatest small guard of all time although most would give the edge to Isaiah Thomas.  Iverson is a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer even though there are questions about how he will be remembered.

Does his legacy stay intact and will people remember him only for his days in Philadelphia?

No, because of the way he went out especially considering his quotes about coming off the bench saying he’d rather retire than come off the bench.

His legacy will change due to how the Billups-Iverson trade turned out and how Iverson looked like a bad guy after Billups almost led his team to the NBA finals. In addition to the fact that Iverson wasn’t there for his team in the end, because of Joe Dumars shutting Iverson down due to what was a back injury when we all know that the Answer would’ve fought off the injuries.

Iverson was also a guy who never adapted to the team but had to have the team adapt to him. In his last full season in the league he averaged 26 points and seven assists which would be great if it didn't cost Denver's young players to be influenced by a guy like Iverson in the process

He had to have the ball in his hands, he needed others to sacrifice their games, he needed all the minutes, and never liked coming out of a game which also earned him the reputation of being a coach killer.

However, I believe Iverson will be mostly remembered for the good. I watched Iverson rejuvenate Philadelphia as an NBA city. People came out to see Allen Iverson; not the other guys. Iverson took the crown from Jordan as the league’s most popular player and made kids growing up want to be Iverson; not Jordan.

It was the personality which made Iverson who he was. Good or bad, Iverson’s character had a great influence on the NBA. Iverson was a guy who stayed true to himself even when it resulted in people having negative opinions about him.

This guy was a warrior who put it on the line night after night fearlessly attacking the basket and played through numerous injuries while doing so.

My take on it, well it’s sad to see a guy of his stature go out this way. Basically he ran himself out of the league because he was never accepting a bench role.

If Iverson had been willing to accept that bench role he might be playing for a contender like Cleveland helping LeBron James by coming off the bench to give his team some scoring punch.

Do I think Iverson is 100 percent done? No. I think that if a contending team such as the Cavs or the Spurs called and said that they would be willing to offer Iverson a contract if Iverson was willing to take a bench role but knowing Iverson, he rather be retired than come of bench.

Well if it is, it was great to watch this guy play. From crossing up Jordan, to the 2001 finals, to the famous “Practice” speech, this guy will be missed in this league.

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