The unauthorized biography on Allen Iverson by Kent Babb “Not a Game” isn’t so much a biography as it is a love story.
A love story about Allen and Tawanna Iverson. If you took out their part of the book, you probably know most of A.I.’s story, at least the framework of it. The book fills in some of the blanks, but you know that A.I. had a rough upbringing, his clashes with coaches specifically Larry Brown, his distrust of the media, his tardiness, his spending, gambling and drinking habits. You knew all of this, you might have not known how bad some of it was, but you knew about it.
What a lot of people didn’t know was how complex his relationship with Tawanna was. Iverson declined to be interview for the book, so a lot of the stories about him are coming from 3rd parties. You find yourself wondering as you read could Iverson be as bad as they are describing him. It is a situation where you want to believe there is a reasonable explanation, but are you wanting to believe that because you don’t want your image of A.I. tarnished or are these people really are exaggerating the stories. Even if say 75% of the stories are true, it will make you think differently about Iverson and not in a good way, but we may never how much was true.
Tawanna’s story is different not because she spoke to the author of the book, she did not, but all of her quotes are public record from their various divorce and custody hearings. When Iverson had a chance to refute a lot of her horrific stories about him, he declined to testify. There are too many stories to go over, so my suggestion is to just read the book. Their volatile love story is what makes the book, it will make you get a lump in your throat and your eyes watery while reading.
Which brings us to the Reebok contract and one of the most amazing things I have read. We reported what I had read earlier in the book, that Reebok’s CEO thought it would be a good idea for Iverson to have a yearly stipend ($800k a year) and then a balloon payment of $32 million when he turned 55. They did this because they feared Iverson’s spending was out of control and he needed something to fall back on when he was older. That was a prophetic and wonderful gesture for Reebok.
Before Tawanna and A.I. were married, Iverson’s lawyers drew up a prenuptial agreement. At the time Iverson was in the middle of $70 million contract with Sixers so it made sense. But, A.I. couldn’t bring himself to make Tawanna sign it, so he burned the contract.
When Tawanna filed for the divorce in 2010, there was no prenuptial agreement in place, but A.I. desperately wanted her back. Tawanna said she would take him back but only if Iverson agreed to the following Post-Nuptial agreement.
- Can not cheat or have children outside of marriage.
- No physical or verbal abuse.
- Must attend Marriage counseling.
- Must speak to therapist about drinking and gambling problems.
- Can never gamble again.
- Must be home by midnight.
- Must discuss any purchases over $5k
If Iverson broke any of the provisions and it led to a divorce, he would have to immediately put $100k in a trust fund for each of his 5 kids, all property would be transferred over to Tawanna, all remaining debt would be solely Iverson’s responsibility, Tawanna and the 5 kids would be owed 25c for every $1 Iverson made for the rest of his career and finally…….
THE FULL $32 MILLION REEBOK TRUST WOULD GO TO TAWANNA
A man would have to be crazy to sign something like right? A.I. signed the contract and I think you know what happens next.
He broke several of the provisions, Tawanna refiled the divorce petition and was awarded everything that was in post-nuptial agreement when the divorce became final in 2013 including the $32 million.
But there is a twist and I have tried to figure out how it should be looked at. Before the divorce became final, Tawanna even though she didn’t have to, agreed to give Iverson half of the $32 million Reebok trust when he turns 55.
Was she showing mercy or the fact he put him in this position to begin with was cruel and unusual punishment? Does A.I. shoulder the majority of the blame for it even coming to this? Did Tawanna set him up knowing he was vulnerable and could never live up to the stipulations? Was Tawanna just looking at for her kids?
Like I said at the beginning it is a complex love story, maybe one day they will make a movie about it.