Life is graded on a scale, it isn’t fair. Chances that some people are entitled to are simply chances that other people don’t get, would never get, and frankly don’t deserve. If you want to make an argument that Allen Iverson burned every bridge he had to the NBA, and the result of which has left him playing out his days in Turkish obscurity, I get that argument. I even understand that he spent the last chances he had creating hassles for the Pistons, Grizzlies, and everyone else who afforded him those opportunities. That’s all well and true.
I still think he should be allowed back in the League regardless of all that though, and that he should be able to retire with the NBA dignity his career deserves. He was too good, and he did too much to go out any other way. Regardless of however he reacted once he realized his skills had indeed diminished forever.
He wants back in, he has to still be as good or better than at least sixty guys currently in the League, and he told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! yesterday that he’d assume any role on any team:
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves – or any of the NBA’s other basement dwellers. Allen Iverson(notes) will take your call. If you’re an NBA team and you have a spot open on your roster, Iverson is willing to talk.
“I’ll play for anybody,” Iverson told Yahoo! Sports.
A 10-time All-Star and former MVP, Iverson still wants back in the league even though he’s 36 and played only in Turkey last season. He’s one of the game’s greatest scorers, but his history of off-the-court drama and issues with coaches tainted his career, even in his last few seasons in the NBA. He complained about his role with the Detroit Pistons and griped about coming off the bench with the Memphis Grizzlies. Iverson took a leave of absence after playing three games with the Grizzlies two seasons ago and was eventually waived. That led him to announce his retirement – but a couple weeks later he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.”
As far as that off-the-court drama is concerned, AI did own that too.
“That wasn’t me at all,” Iverson said. “Obviously, I was dealing with the situation with my daughter and going through a divorce, and I wasn’t there mentally. In my career those last couple years were so hard for me because I wasn’t there. Mentally, I wasn’t there.
“During those 48 minutes on the basketball court, all I [ever] cared about was that time right there. Nothing else distracted me. But at times, I felt myself standing on the court just thinking about my daughter, thinking about the situation with me and my wife. I wasn’t giving [the teams] everything I had mentally.”
He says everything is fine now, and he also knows that him saying he’ll assume any role on any team is met with tons of skepticism. Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess, but I just can’t help but think that it should be Iverson himself who answers that last question by his actions. Even though he understands where teams might be coming from with said skepticism.
“Obviously, they might have some issues thinking I don’t want to help a team in a certain capacity,” Iverson said. “But that’s over with. All that was going on through an emotional time. It cost me to not play. I’m just willing to help any squad in any capacity. Hopefully, one squad will believe in me and we will go from there. That would be a lot better than having to go overseas.”
It would also be a lot better than having to watch a guy who played as hard as Iverson did retire as a member of the Bestikas Basketball Club too. Regardless of any and all the missteps he took along the way to end up there. He was too good for too long in this League, don’t let that practice sound-byte fool you.