Crying for Acceptance

Posted: 4th December 2009 by DavidBurnett in NBA
Tags: , , , ,

For many other players it would have simply been a happy homecoming. Another feel good end of a career story. But we’re talking about Allen Iverson. Iverson is one of the greatest one-on-one talents to have ever played the game of basketball. If there was a pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch crown, the 6 foot tall 175 pound Iverson would wear it as the undisputed champion of basketball.

But the light is dimming on his career. And sadly on his reputation. Coming home is one last chance to change minds. To regain his pride. To get back into the starting lineup.

Maybe that’s why Allen Iverson cried so emotionally when he announced his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. The tears were real. Iverson’s pain remains deep.

Allen Iverson is the original hip-hop basketball superstar.

He became a man in an era when you were deemed soft if you smiled too much. Allen had the tats, the cornrows, the attitude, and the skills, but most importantly he was a hero who never left the hood. He was still hard. That was the upside for Iverson for a lot of years as he often led the league in scoring and spectacular plays.

But when he was traded to Detroit from Denver last season something changed. Yes, he got hurt, but there were other pains as well. For the first time he seemed irrelevant. A high scoring loser playing out the last days of a forgettable career. He deserved better. But he has mostly himself to blame. And he knows it.

Allen Iverson is struggling. At 34 years of age he is grappling with who he is as an athlete, and ultimately who he is as a man.

This season playing for Memphis, he wasn’t willing to come off the bench. So he quit. For a minute it appeared he had retired. But mostly he was mad. Of course he can still play. He was the best player on the Grizzlies as he would be on most teams. But for Iverson, his reputation as a me-first, shoot-first player, had lost it’s appeal.

Right now Iverson is feeling every possible emotion.

You can’ t always shake the image that people have of you. But you can change the image you have of yourself.

It’s up to Allen now. He’s home.

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  1. Derrick Wilkerson says:

    Allen Iverson does represent the hip hop basketball generation. He represents an image that the NBA has divorced itself from. It’s sad to see a man lost in a world that he once ruled with much confidence. He’s fortunate to have someone like John Thompson in his life who really cares about Allen. Someone who will give him straight talk, not the talk that he wants to hear. Ironically, this is one vote for players to spend some time in college before going to the NBA. If they’re lucky they’ll develop a relationship with a coach or assistant coach or a professor that goes beyond the fame and glory. I wonder who would give Allen the words of wisdom that he would listen to if he had never gone to Georgetown University? Who would care enough to help Allen help himself? Once again, John Thompson shows why his former players would go to the all for him. It’s because he cares about them as men and doesn’t disassociate himself from them when they go through hard times.

    Derrick Wilkerson