Allen Iverson is the type of athlete that fifty years from now they are going to make a biopic about.
He is the anti-Jordan.
Everyone wanted to be like Mike, but more inner city kids were actually like Iverson. Allen Iverson didn’t take the easy route to super-stardom.
He dealt with things that a lot of African-American youth had to deal with. Racism, police prejudice, poverty, drugs, violence and just a hard life growing up.
When you think of Iverson you feel like he both overachieved and underachieved in his career. Considering the things he went through it is a minor miracle he made it to the NBA, but he was so talented you felt like he could have done more.
Robert Huber of the Philadelphia Magazine traveled to Istanbul to see how Iverson was doing and ask him some questions that we all wanted to know the answer to:
That’s where Iverson lands every night, for all of his first week in Istanbul.
I kid him about going to Friday’s in Istanbul, though he doesn’t seem to see it as teasing:
“Man, listen,” he says. “I didn’t know that the Philly cheesesteak wrap was that good when I was in Philly. I tried them when I got out here and every day since then. Every day since then!”
“Everybody is making a big deal out of the money and making $2 million — what do people want me to do? Sit at home and just watch basketball, or play at the YMCA? I had to do what I had to do to continue playing basketball.”
Ah, yes, two big issues there. First, whether he is broke — a guy who has pocketed some $200 million in salary and endorsements over the past 15 years. It would emerge a week or so later that Iverson- is selling some of his collected memorabilia on eBay, and a lot of people are saying he’s gambled and partied and supported hangers-on to the point of going through all that cash. But Iverson laughs softly, high up in the Besiktas stands:
“I would be a damn fool to blow that much money and have five kids to take care of. One thing I do have, and I can say, is that I do have money. A lot.”
I ask Iverson if he has a gambling problem.
“You find out when dealing with people that doesn’t have nowhere near as much money as you,” Iverson says, “that a lot of people who don’t have that money and can’t fathom it, would never understand. If I had that much to lose and I know it, then it’s not a problem for me.”
How about drinking? “Everybody I know, damn near, drinks. How is it a problem for me? I don’t remember getting any DUIs or going to jail for getting drunk in public.” Iverson laughs, because, really, are we talking about drinking? “I’ve never been reprimanded or anything, with any team or anything like that, because of any drinking.”
It is a great feature I suggest you read the entire thing. According to the article, Iverson and his wife Tawanna have reconciled. Iverson says there are plans to bring her and their five children to Turkey to start a new life.
I want to believe Iverson when he says he isn’t broke and doesn’t have a drinking or gambling problem. My years in this business have taught me never to take an athlete’s word at face value, but I do hope he is telling the truth not just for his sake, but the sake of his children.
Iverson claims he doesn’t want back in the NBA, that part of his life is over and he has moved on to his new life in Turkey.
Allen Iverson nickname has always been “The Answer”.
But some questions still surround A.I. many that won’t be answered for many years to come.