Published August 22, 2013
According to SLAM Magazine , Allen Iverson is going to announce his retirement -- which is funny, because you don't hear washed-up public figures like Chingy or Tila Tequila announcing that they won't be doing anything anymore.
Allen Iverson isn't retiring. He's accepting what everybody else already knew. He's done. Allen Iverson's ability and Allen Iverson's NBA are both things of the past.
SLAM doesn't name its source, but it does quote that source extensively.
"He had a magnificent career, and he enjoyed every minute of it," the source said. "He enjoyed the places basketball took him, he enjoyed the camaraderie with his teammates and he especially enjoyed that his job was playing the game that he loved. He loves his fans more than anyone. He loves how they ask for his return constantly, on the streets and on the Internet. But now that they know it's not happening, he can just focus on his future endeavors."
Iverson, 38, last played in the NBA in 2010 -- but his career really began its rapid decline in 2008, when Iverson went from Philadelphia to Denver to Detroit and his scoring average dipped from 26 points per game to 17. In a last-ditch effort, he returned to Philadelphia for 25 games in 2010, averaging 13.9 points. In the 2010-11 season, he played in Turkey.
Iverson was the 2001 NBA MVP, a four-time scoring champion and an 11-time NBA All-Star who will be best remembered for his crossover, his cornrows and his courage. Standing just 6-feet and weighing 165 pounds, Iverson fearlessly threw himself into the lane, carrying a mediocre 76ers team to the 2001 NBA Finals. But he often clashed with coaches, most memorably Larry Brown, and came to be seen as the face of an era of the NBA that was defined by runaway player contracts and dress codes.
In the late '90s, a national debate swirled around Iverson's cornrows and wardrobe. By 2005, the NBA adopted a dress code that banned all of Iverson's signature fashion statements. It wasn't just Iverson, however, and he wasn't the first -- but he was the one who got people talking about it.
And this little guy never would apologize for any of this.
That was at the end of the 2001-02 season, a year after the 76ers had made the Finals. The Celtics took the 76ers out in the first round, and Brown placed some of the blame on Iverson for missing practices. This was Iverson, who averaged 31 points per game that year, at the peak of his power and influence. Those in positions of authority saw a spoiled brat. Young people saw a maverick standing up to The Man. He was that kind of figure. He seemed to be flipping somebody off with his eyes at all times.
Sports columnists started writing things about the "inmates running the asylum" -- and before long, the NBA got pro-active about its image. There have been a couple collective bargaining agreements since then, and the NBA is thriving on the strength of a compelling corporate machine called "LeBron James."
Yeah, Allen Iverson's time in basketball is up, in more ways than one. But, man, did that guy ever have his time?