Blog Entry

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:59 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2009 7:33 pm

It seems poetic that Allen Iverson announced his signing with the Memphis Grizzlies on Twitter. Think I'm too old? I'll break news on a medium that most 34-year-olds don't understand.

That's my A.I. Always tweaking (tweeting?) the doubters, never shy with the rhetoric.

Iverson in Memphis, a city that can barely support its NBA team with a league-worst average paid attendance of 7,570 last season -- is a sad bookend to an otherwise remarkable career. The problem with Iverson, though, is that the end will be much like the beginning and the middle. Too much sizzle and not enough substance.

Selfishly, I wanted something better for Iverson. So did he, presumably. I wanted him to swallow his pride and accept a reserve role for a contender. He didn't accept such a role in Detroit last season, then boldly proclaimed that he'd retire before coming off the bench ever again. He almost had to make good on those words, which came back to haunt him. No contenders came calling. Only teams desperate to squeeze the last few drops out of Iverson's uncanny ability to sell tickets.

One of the fascinating aspects of Iverson's Hall of Fame career has been his ability to connect with fans -- especially kids. No one who has watched Iverson for any substantial length of time can say that they haven't been struck by how hard he plays -- every night, every play. No one who has watched him can deny the ooh-and-aah factor. It's still there.

But if Iverson couldn't win with Toni Kukoc or Chris Webber, how is he going to coexist on the same floor with Zach Randolph? It promises to be one of the boldest and spectacularly doomed experiments of modern times. I suggest the following promotion to the Grizzlies' marketing department. It'll be a smash hit. Sign up a watch company -- Bulova, Movado, get your bids ready -- and see how many a lucky fan can smash with a sledgehammer during a timeout. No. 1, it's got to be better than the T-shirt toss, and No. 2, the Grizzlies now have the two biggest clock killers in the NBA.

Iverson gets a one-year deal from the Grizzlies, and at 34, it's sure to be his last. That's too bad. There was still a place for Iverson, who by his own doing has never gotten enough credit for his basketball IQ. His ability to score ... and score, and score ... combined with his knack for steals would've been valuable off the bench for a team that is close to championship contention. There could've been no better stamp on Iverson's career, no better way for him to quiet his critics, than coming off the bench with equal doses of scoring punch and humility to win his first NBA title in his last season. Obviously, that isn't going to happen in Memphis. What's worse, his presence is going to be beneficial only in the attendance column -- not the win column. The minutes and touches Iverson will demand undoubtedly will slow the growth of the Grizzlies' younger guards, who need the experience and the burn.

Will Iverson pass to Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, or Darrell Arthur? Sure, because he knows they'll give it back. If I were Randolph, I wouldn't expect Iverson to be looking for me too often. Once the ball goes into the post for Z-Bo, it rarely finds its way out.

What do I hope? I hope Iverson can play the role of veteran mentor for a team that, despite its unfortunate surroundings, has built a pretty solid nucleus of young, inexpensive players. But I also take note of all the winning teams that took a pass.



Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2009 11:49 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

i agree. the guy who wrote this article is an idiot.

Since: Aug 12, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2009 10:46 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

It's not sad, it's a business.  Iverson damaged his own value in free agency when he said he'd rather retire than come off the bench.  Because really, with all the talented guards in the league today, why should anyone HAVE TO start Iverson?  Now as a result, Memphis was the only team in the market for him, and still having the desire to play, it's only natural for him to sign.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2009 9:22 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

Does Memphis have craps tables like Detroit does??? Iverson's bad back aka "craps back" was all messed up from tossing dice at the Detroit casinos...If there are no tables in memphis A.I's concentration wont be there until he can gamble.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2009 9:12 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

After the last two years, im at least excited about the nba season this year, maybe he can bring us to the playoffs, you never know.

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: September 9, 2009 8:43 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

True that the ball never leaves Zach's hands when he gets it, but I think he is getting to a point in his career where he notices his previous ways were not working for him. I believe A.I can push the Grizzlies to playoff contention. He brings a much needed scorer to this team. Last year the Grizzlies were a very poor offensive team. Teams with Allen Iverson had never had a problem with putting points on the board. With future stars like Rudy Gay and O.J Mayo I believe A.I will have the confidence in his teammates to give up the ball. He did in Denver when he was surronded by great offensive talent. So things are looking up for the Grizzlies.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2009 8:42 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

Amen!!!! Then no one who texts people can spell... AI is a phenomenon from the old NBA days.... Larry Bird, Magic, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain.... Their teams looked to them to be the option one and Iverson was that for a long time. Thirty four is where we start to see that first step lost... Thirty four is where we make changes and adjust to the lost step. All I am saying is give AI a chance in Memphis. He knows that this isn't a championship team but if he rubs off on the younger gaurds in heart then Memphis will be tough to deal with in 3 years as long as those gaurds are still there.

Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: September 9, 2009 8:09 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

"whats even sadder, bebout, is that you can't spell"write." "
I tell you what's sad, people who post about some ones grammar on a blog post.
come on, really!

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2009 8:08 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

I stopped being a fan of his in Detroit. After a win in which he started, but played ineffectively he basically told reporters that the reason for his drop in production was his lack of having the ball in his hands. In other words, he can't play with other good players... just 4 stiffs who can rebound and play defense while Iverson runs the show on offense. Look back at the 2001 76ers... isn't that what they were? He can't coexist with other stars. It's either 100% Iverson or 0%... he's either option number one or he's not on the court at all.

I was a big fan of his when he was in Philly, and frankly I still find his competitive edge inspiring. He's small physically, but when it comes to heart Iverson is a giant. Yet his stint with the Pistons proved to me that all of those critics are right. Iverson is a star who can't play alongside other stars. His former coach George Karl complained about the ball-hogging even while Iverson led him to a 50-win season. He was a winner in Denver and a superstar in 2001, overcoming every obstacle a defense could throw at him. But in the end it was self-imposed obstacles that kept him from becoming a champion.

Since: Aug 26, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2009 8:07 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

Perhaps Iverson would be liked more if he kept his mouth shut and just played basketball.  Basketball is a team sport after all and if someone gets a reputation for being selfish on the floor then who is going to want to play with him?  Sometimes players reinforce the perception others have of them with their behavior.  No one doubts Iversons ability to score.  What's at questions is whether anyone wants him on their team anylonger.  The only person who can change that perception is Iverson and it doesn't seem like he has any interest in doing so. 

I do think it is important for teams like Memphis to try to find ways to make their teams draw more fans.  That's simply a reality for small market teams.  I should know, I watch the Wolves.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2009 7:51 pm

Iverson to Memphis: Sad

whats even sadder, bebout, is that you can't spell"write."

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