55: The (New) Allen Iverson Story

By Jared Mintz
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll never forget being 11-years old, standing on the basketball court and arguing with my friend over which one of us could pretend to be Allen Iverson.

Ready to begin his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76er’s, the most recent No. 1 pick in NBA Draft history was a hot commodity, and I wasn’t going to let my buddy pretend to be him. He’d been my favorite player — outside of Patrick Ewing, which is what brought me to watch him marvel at Georgetown — for two years already, as I watched him play with a flair I had never seen before from a college player.

I think my friend settled on being Scottie Pippen, as I was granted the right to stand there and struggle to put the ball between my legs.

17 years, nine all-star appearances, an MVP award and 24,368 points later, and we’re not talking about how great of a career Iverson had (which he did). Instead, we’re talking about how he held teams back on and off the court, his relatively new-found financial struggles, how bad of a parent he is (which is constantly drawn to his drinking problem) and why he’s “deservedly” been “black balled” from the league.

Just last week, Iverson was in the news for “abducting his children,” (which he denied) whom his ex-wife Tawanna has sole custody of. And the most recent disheartening Iverson story is centered around owing and refusing to pay Tawanna child support.

Multiple reports surfaced on Saturday that Iverson has been ordered to pay his ex-wife over $70,000 in past due child support and if he doesn’t make the payment, he’ll immediately be jailed. What makes this scenario worse is that Hip Hop Enquirer is reporting that Iverson told his ex-wife he doesn’t intend to pay the child support despite being capable of footing the amount owed (and then some).

If you go down the laundry list of recent shake-your-head-worthy Iverson stories, he admitted just months ago that he couldn’t afford to buy himself a cheeseburger, let alone pay child support.

I don’t mean to look at Iverson as a spectacle, but to make the story more interesting, Reebok, Iverson’s sneaker endorser, set aside a $30 million rainy day trust fund for their former superstar … which he can’t touch until the year 2030!

You got that right, Iverson, who seems to be in desperate need of a rainy day fund … actually has one dangling in front of his face until he’s 55-years old.

If the ESPN “30 for 30” Broke wasn’t already made, it looks like a new movie/documentary just wrote itself.

I can’t imagine, even if he gets sent to jail, that the reports to come out over the next couple of days will be any worse than what has unfolded over the last few years since Iverson left the NBA. With that said, please, basketball fans, try to remember Allen Iverson for the impact that he had on your life.

I’m not talking about jewelry debt, cars being repossessed, stints in Turkey, China or wherever else will pay his “bills.” I’m not talking about a drinking problem, a less-than-attentive father, and I am sure not talking about practice. And for what it’s worth, I’m not talking about the guy who was given a chance to really win after being traded from Philadelphia and never finding his niche again.

Allen Iverson was a volume scorer, which isn’t the most glorious role in the league to play, but for the better part of 14 NBA seasons, David punched Goliath in the face on a night-to-night basis. Crossovers, and-one’s, commercials with rapper Jadakiss and 50-point games should be our lasting impression.

I don’t mean to address Iverson like he’s on his death bed, but in a day and age where we laugh at and slander before we feel sorry, I truly do feel sorry for one of my former heroes.

I’m not saying that you should too, but you should at least remember why we ever liked him enough to allow him to let us down so profoundly.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter at @JMintzHoops

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