...if you look at it in a certain perspective...the non championship winning perspective. In the end, the man accumulated a total of 20,040 points, 1965 steals, 36,786 minutes and a career points per game average of 27.0. He did this in almost 14 years in the league. Without question, he is a future member of the Hall of Fame. This is Allen Iverson.
The Answer announced his retirement today from the NBA; this after being released from the Memphis Grizzlies after only playing three games and a failure to find an NBA team to play for that will let him "run the show." Although Iverson still feels he can play the game and this retirement announcement could turn around "Brett Favre style" in the snap of a finger, for now, we'll assume that Iverson has played his last NBA game.
Looking at his career objectively, he Iverson was not "The Answer" for winning. His style of play unfortunately does not suit a championship caliber system. However, that does not take away the ten exciting years of watching him play for our Philadelphia 76ers. The man is a legend in the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone and Charles Barkley in terms of 76ers greats. He provided us with the magical season of 2001. The gritty, scrappy and thrilling Eastern Conference Champions of that season is one of the favorite teams of my life. They're up there with the 2008/2009 Phils, the 2004 Eagles and even the 1993 Phillies (even though I was 5 then).
I remember when he was presented the MVP Trophy in 2001. I was in the building and that is maybe the loudest I have ever heard the Corestates/First Union/Wachovia Center. The place erupted as this controversial and troubled individual had such a positive moment in his life. He was such a small player for the NBA, but he was a warrior at the same time and he represented our blue collar city on the court to the fullest extent.
While I have no regrets of A.I. playing here and ALMOST winning a title, it always sticks in the back of my mind that if we would of taken Kobe Bryant in the 1996 draft instead of Iverson, our fortunes might have been quite different. Yet, even though sometimes I feel that, Iverson is still my favorite basketball player of all time and one of my favorite Philadelphia athletes of all time. I can't wait until next year, the 10 year anniversary of the 2001 team, where Ed Snider and Ed Stefanski hopefully have a reunion and The Answer once again steps on the Wachovia Center floor. It will bring the house down, much more than this team is doing right now.
Thanks for the memories Allen.