According to ESPN.com, it seems as if Allen Iverson’s chances of making a difference in this year’s NBA season are dwindling even further than they had already. The New York Knicks announced this morning that they will not be signing the 10-time all star. The former MVP and scoring champion was waived on Tuesday after taking a leave of absence for family issues, or for what most believe to be, unhappiness with coming off the bench.
This past summer (when Iverson was an unrestricted free agent) marked a pivotal point in his career. He had two options: 1) Change his attitude and playing habits, or 2) Continue to act like the immature player we have all come to know.
Teams have been scared of what they were getting when singing Iverson, and they had every right to be. Very rarely in Iverson’s career has he helped a TEAM to succeed. He has always been a player with the ability to score at will, and be a great passer as well, but rarely has he displayed the ability to work as a team player for the greater good of the team. There was that one 2001 finals run, coached by Larry Brown, which brings many people to speculate that in this time of turmoil in Iverson’s career, Brown may take a chance on him.
The real issue in signing Iverson comes back to the same point every time: Can he sacrifice his love for having the ball in his hands to create a winning atmosphere? At the end of last season, knowing his time with the Detroit Pistons was coming to and end, he said that he was willing to do anything to win a championship. He wanted nothing more than to be happy and win. But like always, things are much easier said than done. He eventually signed with the one team that showed enough interest, and yet again, displayed his displeasure with a supporting role.
Allen Iverson has always been, and will most likely always be, a cancer to the teams he plays on. He will go in and ruin any type of team chemistry that team may have had. He was able to be successful on the Sixers for many years because they would give him the ball, and let him do his thing, but after 10 years, they grew tired of his selfish attitude. From there, he went to the Nuggets, a team with great potential, and a seemingly great situation for Iverson as he would be paired with a great scorer in Carmelo Anthony, but like in Philadelphia, the Nuggets just could not develop the type of chemistry needed to go deep into the playoffs. He then traveled to Detroit, where the team grew so tired of him so quickly, they milked his back injury for everything it was worth, and basically paid him to sit on the bench for the remainder of the year. And, most recently Iverson and the Grizzlies had to part ways after only 3 games, due to his unhappiness with coming off the bench.
In today’s NBA, chemistry means everything, and Iverson is the antithesis of a player with the ability to develop chemistry. Many analysts suspected that if his stint with the Grizzlies did not go well, that contract would be his last, and in my opinion, it most likely should be. If I were in charge of putting together a team, I don’t think I would want to take the risk of having him disrupt what chemistry has already been put together. Iverson now has two choices: 1) Mean what you say and play as a TEAM player, or 2) Leave the NBA on somebody else’s terms, but please, if you do leave AI, leave with dignity and class.