“You have no idea how hard it is trying to be a perfect man, when you know you’re not.”
I’ve been an emotional train wreck all day. Allen Iverson retired for the 55th time today, only this time it’s officially official.
Let’s keep this relatively short and sweet because Lord knows composing entire biblical passages on Bubba Chuck is one of my life’s callings. Throughout the years, every critique in Iverson’s game has been thrown on me. And in some fashion, they’ve all been correct. He was never the most efficient shooter. He was his own worst enemy more times than not. He’d never be called champion because of his style of play and being hellbent on approaching the game his way proved to be the only suitable option.
Yet, amongst all the negativity, amongst the mounds and mounds of chinks in the proverbial armor lay perhaps the most one-of-one artist I’ll ever see play the game of basketball. Where “The Answer” stands in history or what his all-time rank happens to be is subjective. A lot of what Iverson meant to basketball and basketball fans fail to be quantified in stats – ironic given the fact some of his legacy is predicated on the eye-popping numbers and averages much of his career glorified. Intangibles define A.I. He was a culture shock to sport in similar fashion to what DMX was in rap. Chuck petrified those who misunderstood him and become a hood icon to those who saw parts of him in themselves (many of whom because future NBA stars).
I thank God everyday I saw Allen Iverson play basketball. Imagining another player with his combination of speed, agility, scoring prowess, ferociousness, occasional ignorance, ability to articulate his thoughts and heart is next to impossible. In some ways, he is the most unique and enigmatic personality the game has ever seen.
Whether these words resonate or come off as some blind sheep is up to the person you see every morning in the mirror when brushing your teeth. All I know is the man who delivered a 12-minute speech to media members today in Philadelphia appeared like a man at peace with himself and the countless mistakes made throughout the course of his life as a NBA legend, man and flawed father; the complete opposite of what magazine and newspaper features have profiled in recent months.
I don’t know what the next chapter of Allen Iverson’s life holds. The only thing I’m certain of is I will be in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the summer of 2015 when the Hall of Fame comes knocking.
* – Shouting out the late Phil Jasner was powerful moment. Those unaware, he is the reporter who asked the question that sparked the now infamous “practice” rant.
Related: Allen Iverson’s Most Honest Moment