After a few weeks of speculation, Allen Iverson, one of my favorite athletes ever and one of the most controversial of my lifetime, is publicly hanging up his famed Reeboks. Unhappy with his playing time in Memphis, AI apparently was unable to find any team willing to take a flyer on him. As a Celtics fan I can tell you this: He’s better than Eddie House.
I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association. 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.
Why isn’t AI getting phone calls? Because of the perception that he’s damaged goods. His actions in Memphis and Detroit the last year suggest a man unwilling to accept the limitations forced upon him by age. Maybe he didn’t get a fair shake this time. In fact, maybe he never did.
His retirement eulogies by other outlets label AI as the man who brought Hip-Hop to the NBA, and, implicitly, all the “distasteful” things about the Hip-Hop image that turn off corporate suits and suburban white people. But last I checked, AI came into the league in 1996. The Fab Five and their baggy shorts were a distant memory. Shit, Shaq had already released two albums.
Luckily for Iverson fans, there’s plenty of wonderful Iverson moments that will last in eternity. Personally I will always remember his ferocious playing style, always willing to take it into the lane even though the average NBA freak outweighed him by 100 pounds. He survived on quickness and instinct to become one of the best little men in a big man’s game.
Still, barring the inevitable un-retirement to play for some team looking to take the short-term risk for the title in Starbury-esque fashion, here are one Iverson fan’s three greatest moments.
3. Crossing Jordan out of his new kicks during AI’s rookie year.
2. Ethering Tyrone Lue. As an AI-head and Laker Hater, I did believe at this moment Philly could pull it off.
1. One word: Practice.