Shaquille O'Neal signed with Boston Celtics, the Detroit Pistons decided to take a chance and sign Tracy McGrady, but Allen Iverson still doesn't have an NBA contract. There have been many rumors about David Stern and the NBA blackballing the most prolific scorer of his generation and no other facts seem to back this up as much as these recent signings.
Let me preface this post by saying there is not much evidence either way on this topic and my conclusions can only come from what I see on the outside. No one can know what goes on behind closed doors.
Allen Iverson is a first ballot hall of famer, no question. 1996 Rookie of the Year, 2000-2001 NBA MVP, four time scoring champion, eleven time all star and the list goes on. All of this being said he has definitely lost a few steps since he first came into the NBA. He is a SG in a PG's body and the more his skill-set diminishes, the more this physical disadvantage will affect his game. The question, however, is not whether Iverson can still be a star in this league but whether his is deserving of an NBA contract. Last year in 25 games with the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 13.9 ppg/4.1 apg/3 rpg. The year before that he posted 17.4/4.9/3.1 line and the year before. Based on pure ability, it seems that Iverson is still an NBA player.
Why is he not on an NBA roster then? As we have seen in the past, team chemistry plays a big part in constructing a successful team. Iverson's track record shows that he is prone to insubordination. Who could forget his famous practice rant in response to his coach, Larry Brown's criticisms? The fact that reports have come out that claim he wants to be a starter and not come off the bench doe not seem like team oriented demands. Iverson presents himself as a locker room cancer and teams should be wary.
Allen Iverson comes with a lot of baggage but the fact is that he comes to play on game and gives it his absolute all. He is the definition of a warrior and could add a lot to NBA team. It is for this reason I believe rumors of David Stern blackballing him are true. For all of his faults, you could find the same or worse in other currently employed NBA players. Ron Artest for example. Here is a player who adimmted to drinking during his years in Chicago and started the brawl while playing for Indiana and yet we don't allow his faults to define him. Instead we see him as an NBA champion. Rudy Fernandez is holding his team hostage, forcing a trade. Reports have even come that he doesn't want to play in the NBA anymore. If players such as these players have contracts, Iverson whose passion and love for the game cannot be equaled, should have that same privilege.
Agree? Disagree? Lemme know!