If you read my post yesterday, you can see that I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about Allen Iverson. I’m quite obviously rooting for his career to continue and, eventually, end on a high note. But I see the writing on the wall for one of the worst retirements ever from a Hall Of Fame-caliber player. It’s become increasingly difficult to defend him, but I recently tried to do just that in a conversation with one of my Outside The NBA colleagues. I wasn’t planning to post this anywhere while we were having the debate, but I thought it was an interesting look at two different perspectives on the situation.
James Herbert: Iverson’s perspective
Two years ago, I am one of the best scorers in the league. Easily. My team wins 51 games. At the start of the next season, I’m traded to an organization that doesn’t have me in its future. They tell me they want me to be the same player I’ve always been; they tell me I will start. Then, I get jerked around in the lineup and the team fails to communicate with me because to them I’m just a contract at this point.
Then, mercifully, they just let me go and play out their miserable season. In the process, my value around the league plummets. Nobody seems to want me in the summer, and it’s one of the hardest periods of my life. Eventually I end up in Memphis, on a young team, where I believe I will get a chance to redeem myself and have some success when nobody’s expecting anything from us.
Then, I get hurt right as training camp begins and have to sit out while my teammates get used to each other. The season starts, and I am eased back into the rotation. The limited minutes are killing me, because I want to play and I know I’m better than the guy starting at point guard, and we’re LOSING GAMES. I want to help the team, but I’m being portrayed as a bad guy again and my coach won’t talk to me. Again. Mercifully, I’m let out of this one-year deal. Now, I’m just hoping for one final chance to show that I still have game.
Julian Guy-McCarvill: A hypothetical business scenario
You are transferred to another section of the company, and the guy who was transferred to your position has much more success in your position than you did. The part of the company you are transferred to fails disastrously, and you end up quitting your job after the quarterly report shows that you went from one of the most successful companies in your field to just another also-ran, and the company wanted to demote you. You end up getting employed by another company, and after missing the first few months on the job, are asked to take a lesser position. You go crazy, and quit. Word gets around, and you’re now unemployable because your act has gotten tired.
But what if the part of company I was transferred to had an unqualified manager? No one in my department respected Mr. Curry’s authority. You can ask anyone who’s still working there (for Mr. Kuester) – the whole situation was a mess. Sure, I made some mistakes there, but the department was rife with dysfunction and doomed for failure. And this new company? You’re right. I quit. But I didn’t go crazy. If anyone was crazy, it was them for thinking they could just demote me like that. I’ve said throughout my career that I want to be a real decision-maker with any company that employs me. You want to make me a middle-manager, now? I don’t need this. I’ve made enough money. I want the chance to do something great, to prove that I can do the things I’ve done for other companies in the past. That wasn’t happening with Grizzcorp.
Julian – Rebuttal
If you want to go off into the sunset, that’s fine. Lots of businessmen have done that, especially after they’ve broken contracts or deals. If you break your word and go back on a deal in the business world, nobody will do business with you again. Also Mr. Iverson, you were part of the reason why Pistco failed.
James – Conclusion
Yeah, I’m going to give myself the last word here. This is me, not me speaking for Iverson. There’s a reason I’ve been trying to communicate Iverson’s perspective, though – that’s what I keep coming back to, when I think about all of this. There aren’t enough people looking at this from his perspective. I get the feeling that Allen wouldn’t even dream of having this argument verbally. He loves basketball, not words. He wants to let his game do the talking. That’s all I want for the man, and that’s why I’m some combination of sad and pissed-off that this Knicks thing isn’t happening. It’s looking more and more like, to use Julian’s analogy, nobody wants to do business with AI anymore. It’s a shame because, even though it looks risky, I think he’s still capable of performing in a way that will benefit an NBA franchise, and, of course, please his fans. Like me, selfish me.