The Sound That You Hear Is The Lead Balloon Falling In The City Of Brotherly Love ………
Well it has all come to this , wherein , Philadelphia 76ers’ player Allen Iverson looks as if stay with the team will be short lived. Having been given a leave of absence to deal with the health of his young daughter. It now appears that once and for all the player is prepared to finally call it quits. Why Iverson didn’t do this after his brief stint with the Detroit Pistons is beyond me ! His best years are indeed behind him and as a ‘fourteen year veteran’ of the NBA , he has little left to offer a team or organization from an athletic standpoint.
Many were obviously skeptical that the situation would last or prove to be fruitful and the case was brought home by the very fact that Iverson’s productivity with the team had become anemic to say the very least. And apart from that, he was never fully fit to begin with. He still had recurring ailments that obviously would take longer to heel, given the fact of his age and the profound battering that his frame has taken over the years. And while no one doubts his zeal for the game, it has to be said that the skill-set that we were all so often in awe of , was no longer there to be seen.
Courtesy Associated Press & of NBA.com
Philadeplhia- (AP) Allen Iverson’s second stint with the Philadelphia 76ers ended on Tuesday when the team announced he would not return for the rest of the NBA season.
Iverson has mostly been absent from the team for a month, returning to Atlanta to be with his family as they deal with an undisclosed illness of his 4-year-old daughter, Messiah.
Iverson, who returned as a free-agent to the 76ers in December, has not played since Feb. 20.
“After discussing the situation with Allen, we have come to the conclusion that he will not return to the Sixers for the remainder of the season, as he no longer wishes to be a distraction to the organization and teammates that he loves very deeply,” team president Ed Stefanski said. “It has been very difficult for Allen and the team to maintain any consistency as he tries to balance his career with his personal life.”
The former NBA MVP and four-time scoring champion averaged 13.8 points in 28 games this season. He started the season with the Memphis Grizzlies but played only three games before he announced a short-lived retirement.
The 34-year-old Iverson made a tearful return to Philadelphia eager to prove he wasn’t finished after disastrous stints in Detroit and Memphis. He returned to a sold-out crowd dotted with No. 3 jerseys, but he showed only flashes of his former playmaking self when he ruled the NBA as one of the best guards around and led the 76ers to the NBA finals. He scored at least 20 points six times — including a 23-point effort in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers that turned into a retro 1-on-1 duel vs. Kobe Bryant.
Iverson said at a Feb. 15 practice that it was emotionally draining to leave his family to play basketball.
He was hobbled by an arthritic left knee and constantly needed it drained. His dwindling production didn’t bother his fans — Iverson was voted an Eastern Conference All-Starter, though he did not play.
Dalembert, who played with Iverson in both stints, said A.I. was not the same player who once terrorized the opposition. But Dalembert also noticed a more reserved, humbled Iverson who just wanted to fit in instead of dominating the ball or making splashy headlines with controversial or selfish actions.
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In light of this all, the Sixers are on the outside looking in , in terms of gaining a playoff berth within the Eastern Conference . They are two spots out of the eighth and last playoff berth held by the Miami Heat (29-31) , .0483 % within the NBA. With their own less than respectable record of 22-37 within the Atlantic Division . Six and a half games out the final playoff spot and there’s nothing to suggest that this Eddie Jordan coached team has what it takes to mount a serious challenge of attaining a playoff berth. And then one has to bear in mind that another seasoned vet on the Sixers’ roster has been about as omnipresent as ‘The Invisible Man’. Elton Brand coming off an, injury has seldom played this season, if at all. And when you then look down this young roster , you begin to realize that there’s very little ‘seasoned experience’ beyond the quartet of Brand, Iverson , Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert . Hardly what one would expect to see of a team that you would’ve hoped to have seen in contention for postseason play in the NBA. One now has to wonder what has to be going through the minds of the members of the Sixers’ front office ?
We talkin’ bout practice. But ‘AI’ was ‘too dumb’ to think that it also was about the camaraderie of being with his teammates during ‘practice’ .
President & General Manager Ed Stefanski alongside Chairman & CEO Ed Snider have to be profoundly disappointed in what they’ve witnessed this season from this team. Much of this has been self inflicted in terms of poor play and the less than well conceived rationale of bringing Iverson back into the fray. Whilst on the face of it , it had that air of altruism on the part of the organization. It has in fact ended up being an unmitigated disaster from start to finish ! And much of the blame lies in the joint decision made by Jordan and Stefanski together to bring Iverson back to where his NBA career began. Admittedly, the player felt he still had something to offer the franchise but nothing tangible at all ever came out it productively, that benefited either party. And what of the fans you may ask ? Well they had the pleasure of seeing ‘a broken down old nag’ in the guise of Iverson , who still thought that ‘he was a thoroughbred’. He’d have been better off sent to a glue factory for all of the effort he has provided on court for the Sixers !
If the Sixers are to have any hope then it won’t come about this season , as that’s now all but over with. It would take a monumental effort on the part of the team to play themselves into contention. And quite frankly, I don’t believe that they possess the stomach for such a challenge. Never mind the fact that beyond the top six teams in the Eastern Conference standings , you suddenly see what a large drop-off there is in terms of the quality of play. The talent is there but it also boils down to poor execution and poor coaching. God knows, but whatever it is that David Stern has been trying to sell to the public , he and his hierarchy really do need to look at how bad the ‘bottom feeders’ have become within the NBA’s Eastern Conference !
As to Iverson’s impending future and what may well lie ahead for him. I hardly believe that he will return to the NBA , unless it’s with a team with a legitimate shot at winning an NBA title. Much like Brett Favre , Iverson will now take time to ponder of his immediate future. For fu_k’s sake do we really need another scenario where ‘a past his prime player’ mulls over his fate ? Brett is on the clock and so is Iverson. Thankfully, for the NBA’s sake none of their franchises are about to be held hostage by a ‘prima-donna’ athlete ! And what of Brett ? Who gives a flying f_ck what he now does, as the idiots within the Minnesota Vikings’ organization sits and wait on his sorry ass !
Alan Parkins aka tophatal
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