Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Understand Allen Iverson's Choices

Iverson's family life
[Photo from Dead Spin]
Over the past couple of weeks (not so much recently, though), there's been a lot of talk about Allen Iverson, his daughter being sick, his divorce, his gambling debts, etc. His latest twitter tweets from March 8th:
To my fans: You all know that my life isn't perfect. I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure that we all do
from time to time. However, I will stand tall like always with "rhino" thick skin. Even though I have become used to hearing people say
things about me that aren't true, it still hurts. I encourage you to continue your ongoing support and I want you to trust that this is
another obstacle in my life that, with God's help I will overcome. God Bless You All.
Writers and fans have predicted that this could be the end of Iverson's basketball career since he
took a leave of absence a little before the All Star break from the 76ers to be with his sick daughter. Ish hit the fan with all his other problems coming to light. He's been in the news more than he's been in the box scores for games these past few weeks. But bringing this back to basketball, people talk about how he'll be a guy who never won a ring and should have come off the bench for a championship contending team. Not just people; sports analysts, general managers, owners, commentators, coaches, fans; everyone.

Put yourself in Iverson's position. Put yourself in his kind of position with something you can relate to. Let's say you're in college and you're working part time at an office job. You're going through your classes and you're struggling with your major. Your coworkers start discussing amongst themselves what YOU should be doing in school. What classes you should be taking, whether or not you should switch your major, how you should be reworking your hours at work. How annoyed would you be? Your coworkers don't know what's best for you. They don't know your what's going on in your life, what's going on in school, circumstances beyond your and their control. And whether or not they're right or wrong, you don't want to have someone else making decisions for you.

Back to Iverson. Sports writers, bloggers, fans... they don't know Iverson's whole story. Sports writers write what they think about Iverson. But Iverson knows Iverson and whether or not the sports writers are correct, do you really think Iverson would concede and say, "You know what, you're right. I'll come off the bench for a championship contending team and win a ring before my career is over. Thanks Sports Illustrated, LA Times, NY Times, and every blogger and twitterer, you've guided me to the right path"? Yeah, me neither.

So while everyone hates on Iverson's decisions and pride and think that they know what's best for him, I understand Iverson's stance. He was the #1 draft pick and has been considered a top player during the earlier part of the decade. He doesn't wanna go out like other 1996 draft class dropouts. Stephon Marbury tried to go along for the ride for a ring in Boston. Antoine Walker went along for a ride for a ring in Miami. Iverson is a lot better than those guys, plain and simple. Even with Walker's ring, Iverson's career is more impressive. [Side note: 1996 draft is my favorite draft class of all time and I wish Marcus Camby had been an all star at least once in his career but alas...]

So while Iverson deals with his personal problems and family issues and maybe later on, his basketball future, no one's opinion is going to matter except his own. While people may think they know better, right or wrong, Iverson's going to do what Iverson wants to do. And that's something I can understand and respect.


KneeJerkNBA said...

It's crazy that Camby won DPOY and didn't make the All Star Team. Tree sloth Memo Okur got in over him. Lame.

In terms of AI, I'd argue that he DID chase a ring. That's what his move to Detroit was, right?

ReadBetweenTheBaselines said...

Oh yeah, no doubt he was always playing for a ring, he wanted to start and win a ring, not go along for the ride on the bench and come behind Rip and Stuckey. When they benched him for Rip, he said eff it and didn't play.

KneeJerkNBA said...

The irony, of course, is that if he'd just been a good soldier and stayed in Philly the whole time, he probably would have been given a Reggie Miller sendoff.

ReadBetweenTheBaselines said...

Dang I got a little misty eyed watching that video!

KneeJerkNBA said...

Me, too. And I hated Reggie Miller.