Let me first start off by saying that I was never a big fan of Allen Iverson, but I give credit where credit is due and in his case there is a lot of credit to be given. In Iverson’s career he averaged 26.7 points per game and six dimes to go with it. He also won Rookie of the Year in 1996, an MVP award in 2001, and three All-Star game MVP awards. In the end he will ultimately end up in the Hall of Fame as well as on the list of greatest players to never win a championship (even though he visited the Finals in 2001.)
Word has spread that Iverson (who is 38) is eying a return to his beloved NBA. But would another return tarnish his legacy? I think so. Much like people say Michael Jordan’s legacy is being tarnished by his failure with the Charlotte Bobcats they could say that Iverson’s would be tarnished by his failed returns to the league.
Iverson was the face of the Philadelphia 76ers for 10 seasons until he was shipped to the Denver Nuggets in 2007. He lasted all of one season until he returned to Philly. After his short trip in Philly he went back to Denver and then visited the Detroit Pistons and then went back to Philly again. His NBA career ended with him in Memphis wearing a Memphis Grizzlies uniform. Talk about a run around, he went through six teams in eight seasons!
With all of that in mind I think it’s time for Iverson to sit back and accept the end of his professional basketball career. A return would bring up questions like; who would sign him? Where would he fit in and would he be worth the risk? I don’t know who would make the risk of signing Iverson and if I recall correctly his style of play was ego-centric, it was all about himself. He seemed to care more about scoring titles than rings and thus racked up four of them. That style of play doesn’t fit with today’s definition of a point guard and may prove costly if a team takes the risk on him. Besides the fact that he is 38, the last time he played in the NBA was in the 2009-2010 season and averaged a career low 12.3 points per game.
Iverson has a legacy and it would do him well to keep it the way it is instead of trying and inevitably failing to further it. You don’t see Stephon Marbury contemplating an NBA return do you? No you don’t and it’s because he knows that his NBA days are over (plus I heard he has achieved legend status playing in China). Iverson has yet to accept that and insists that he has one final NBA run in him despite the fact that he is turning down NBA D-league offers and offers to play in China. You can’t just walk back into the game Iverson, you have to take a few baby steps first and a D-league venture would be that step.
Watching Iverson growing up was amazing and despite my dislike of him I never denied his ability and his raw talent, but his refusal to work with coaches, his attitude towards modifying his game and his much talked about dislike for practicing will leave him unappealing to teams and thus he will remain in limbo hoping a team will sacrifice to take him. It’s time to hang up the jersey Iverson, your spot in the Hall is solidified and there is nothing left to prove. A return would only harm what you have done in the past.