An underwhelming season in Turkey along with a left ankle injury have The Answer considering hanging up his Reeboks. From CBS Sports…
“Not many thought it would last the two years he signed to play. Not many probably thought it would even last this long. But according to the Turkish publication Ajansspor, Allen Iverson is ready to retire.
Via HoopsWorld, the translation:
“Turkish Besiktas famous import, Allen Iverson, appears close to end his career in basketball. The former Philadelphia Sixers’ guard injured his left ankle recently and can’t stand the pain anymore. Later today, he will do a press conference to announce that he is going to have surgery in the United States and will be treated here. ‘Leaving the basketball world makes me sad but, sometimes, we have to accept things like they are. I can say goodbye to basketball,’ he revealed yesterday.”
As I’ve said before, I hated the fact that Iverson was even finishing up his career in Turkey, but the fact he’s retiring there after an injury just makes me sad. It shouldn’t have ended like this for The Answer.
Iverson appeared in 10 games for Besiktas (three coming in the Eurocup) and averaged 12.8 points and 4.2 assists in around 30 minutes per game. His team went 5-5 with him.
If this is truly the end for Iverson, it’s been quite the incredible career. It started in Philadelphia and ended in Turkey, but the stuff in between was truly great. He won an MVP in 2001, took the 76ers to The Finals, fell out of love with Philly, then went to Denver and then was traded to Detroit. He stopped in Memphis for a cup of coffee before finishing his NBA career where it started, back in Philadelphia.”
Hold your horses! Before you get to reminiscing, there’s an update, also from CBS Sports:
“Iverson’s injury isn’t career threatening and he may not retire but instead have surgery and be out 6-8 weeks.”
Meh, I suppose we can get to reminiscing now. Even if he does decide to play more professional ball, it appears that the 35-year-old Iverson doesn’t have a whole lot left in the tank. I haven’t seen any footage of his play in Turkey, but 13/4 doesn’t exactly paint a picture of the AI I grew up watching. Speaking of the AI I grew up watching…
Hate him or love him, the guy was a phenomenal basketball (and all-around athletic) talent who’s impact on the game and culture of basketball will be felt for many years after he officially calls it a career. Iverson has certainly been one of the biggest influences on my basketball life. Not only was he one of the first players who sparked my interest in the NBA, he’s the first guy who made me want to play the game myself. Growing up, I never really dreamed of being like Mike… but I damn sure wanted to be like Allen Iverson. I had my little pair of kid-sized Jordans XIIs, but as I grew older and developed a stronger preference in on-court footwear, I always rocked Iversons. Of the many posters on my wall, the one I spent the most time staring at had a picture of The Answer on it. I’ve still got the poster, actually, I’m looking at it as I type this. It was a tear-out two-pager from The Source (back when it was a readable magazine. F@ck you, Benzino!). …he’s rocking a Phillies hat and holding a handful of ice. Those fads? I’m not saying they never would’ve taken off, but Allen Iverson was probably a bigger factor in their explosion into the mainstream than any other athlete.
I’ll always remember one particular quote of his… it went something like this: “I don’t wanna be Jordan, I don’t wanna be Magic, I dont wanna be Bird or Isiah, I don’t wanna be any of those guys… when my career’s over, I want to look in the mirror and say I did it my way.”
As his career entered it’s later stages, many wanted Iverson to accept the fact that he was no longer the 20-something-year-old franchise player who had won MVPs and carried his team to the Finals. They felt that he should’ve joined a contending team and accepted a lesser role, as most aging superstars do before they finish up. There were times when I wished he would’ve done that… but then I’d get to thinking about it a little more deeply, I’d remember that quote, and I’d realize something: that wouldn’t be the Allen Iverson thing to do. He didn’t want to ride the pine in Boston just to get a ring. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have been a legitimate contributor, I’m just saying that it’s not the Allen Iverson way. Call him selfish, say he’s not a team player, whatever… there may be some truth to that… but like it or not, the man left everything he had on the court, and most importantly, he stayed true to himself. I can respect that. Assuming he does retire, he should look in that mirror and smile, because he did it his way… all the way to the Hall Of Fame.