By: Chris SchaeferMark my words: The press conference scheduled in New York on Friday with Allen Iverson and the Turkey Besiktas will NOT happen. The contract will NOT be signed. Allen Iverson will NEVER, ever, ever, ever, ever, play one minute on a basketball court in Turkey. Why? Because it just isn’t right. It just isn’t fair. There is still time, and if any NBA team out there has respect for the game, they will have respect for Iverson and offer him a deal.
Back in 1996, Michael Jordan told Allen Iverson “If you don’t respect anyone in this league you have to respect us (referring to the Bulls).” Iverson replied: “I don’t have to respect anybody.”
Well it’s time for someone to show some respect. If you don’t respect anyone in the NBA, you have to respect Allen Iverson.
The man has not only revolutionized the game of basketball, he’s changed the culture surrounding it. Before Iverson no one was sporting tattoos and cornrows. No one was wearing ice. He even brought headbands back to the NBA.
But we shouldn’t respect him as a fasionista; we should respect him as a player. We should respect him for giving countless 76er teams a chance to win even when his supporting cast was lacking at best. We should respect him for standing up for himself, playing his heart out and putting his body on the line night in and night out throughout his 14 year NBA career.
We should respect him for being a four-time scoring champion and for breathing life back into horrible 76ers squads year after year for 10 seasons.
I really thought his emotional press conference last year when he inked his second deal with the Sixers would be the storybook ending we all wanted. No one wanted that ending more than Allen himself. I read in countless newspapers and blogs how Iverson was a bum and this was a bad move.
But the fact is, no matter what you think of A.I.’s antics off of the court over the years, you have to RESPECT what he’s done on the court. He has changed the game as we know it and for this he must be signed to an NBA team.
In a sports world of second, third and forth chances for athletes, Iverson has to be in an NBA uniform by the end of the season. There will be a need for him once injuries kick in as the season unfolds.
Shaq is still in the NBA. Michael Vick is back in the NFL. Brett Favre is still somehow in the NFL as well as Terrell Owens who is perhaps the biggest cancer to join any team. How is Iverson about to sign a deal with the Turkey Besiktas?!
If Iverson went with football instead of basketball would he still be relative in the football world or would he be the outcast he has become in the NBA? It’s not often that a guy has such talent at more then one sport. Allen chose the NBA, for better and for worse. Why has the NBA given up on him?
Iverson’s former coach Larry Brown said, “I think it’s sad having him have to go to Turkey to finish his career, I wish there was some way I was in a position to help.”
Larry may not be in a position to help right now but somewhere, someone else is. The NBA has to show the same respect, the same dedication, and the same heart that Allen has displayed throughout his career. It can’t end like this.
Iverson has had a rough year. He turned 35 in June and has been out of work since leaving Philly in March to deal with his 4-year-old daughter Messiah’s undisclosed illness. His wife filed for divorce the same week he parted ways with the Sixers.
He doesn’t need the money that the Besiktas are offering him. He needs to be needed. Hell, he needs to be wanted at this point. He just needs one more chance.
Iverson needs an NBA team to step forward in the next 12 hours and make it all better. If he signs that deal with Turkey, it’s supposedly written into the contract that he can’t return to the NBA this season regardless of if he stays in with their team.
There is still time. Someone in the NBA needs to pull the trigger and show Allen Iverson the respect that he has earned.
This article was also published here: Bleacher Report