Allen Iverson has made an art form out of making questionable decisions, between the spats with Larry Brown, and the now infamous ‘practice’ rant. In 2011, Iverson even snubbed lucrative offers from China league teams to play in Turkey. His decision Wednesday to retire from the NBA at 38 years old, however, is the best one he’s made in recent memory.
Iverson spent the 2010 season with his beloved Philadelphia 76ers, where he averaged a respectable 13.9 points per game; that’s pretty low for the 11-time All-Star who had the world’s most famous cornrows, but it was still reasonable. Iverson always overruled the norm, and certainly marched to the beat of his own drum, but it’s a sad end to a career that was always shadowed by his own ego.
Iverson has now become a case study in the harsh realities of the NBA. He has rewritten the rule book at a time when the NBA had no control over its new stars. ‘The Answer’ single-handedly wore the title of most polarizing athlete year after year, due to his defiance to conform to the NBA’s increasingly weary corporate sponsors, and we loved him for it.
Iverson’s famous clashes with former Sixers coach Larry Brown eventually led to the pair splitting ways, even after reaching the NBA Finals in 2001. His production on the court, however, usually placed second to what he did of it. By 2005, the league had adopted rules of conduct that were mostly attributed to Iverson.
What is Allen Iverson’s legacy and career moving forward?
When it comes down to it, Iverson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s one of the most prolific scoring guards the game has ever seen. His tenaciousness, given his small stature, showed he had more heart than players twice his size. Iverson is also the Sixers’ franchise leader in 40-point games (76) and 3-pointers (885), and is second behind Hal Greer in points (19,931).
It’s unclear what will happen to Iverson next. A December divorce filing revealed drinking and gambling problems that have led to massive debt. It’s a sad end to a career that riveted the nation. We all watched his rise, and now we watch his downfall. But we’ll always remember the name.