Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Allen Iverson, You Jive Turkey!

Man, there are few things worse than watching an athlete who just doesn't know when to give it up and check into Shady Knolls. I suffered through the Wizards' version of Michael Jordan, so I know that of which I speak. When Jordan arrived in DC, he still had some of that mystique about him. But once he took the court, it was clear he shoulda stayed his a$$ in Chi-Town. When he wasn't busy pounding the ball into the floor, draining the clock, and launching contested 18-footers, he was getting his a$$ handed to him by players who had posters of him on their bedroom walls growing up.

It was like finally discovering Santa Claus was actually just your Pops assembling Big Wheels at 2am on Christmas morning. Or something like that. Needless to say, between his on-court futility, his awful front office decisions, and his after hours philandering in Dupont Circle (no, don't draw any wrong conclusions) I lost a lot of respect for MJ, not that I was ever a huge fan in the first place. Clearly, he needed to know when to hang it up, but didn't. The results were just awful.

Of course, Allen Iverson's no student of history, and now he's taking his own special brand of ball hogging and unconscious chucking to the only place still willing to put up with his chicanery. That's right, Eastern Europe.

Allen Iverson has agreed to sign a two-year contract worth $4 million to play with Besiktas of the Turkish professional league, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports. Iverson is expected to sign the contract this week, and is expected to report to his new team sometime during the first week of November.

The contract reportedly gives Iverson the ability to opt out after this season, but not to leave before then and return to the NBA.

Iverson last played for the team he created his legacy with, the Philadelphia 76ers, back on February 20 of this year. He left the team for personal reasons to be with family to deal with an undisclosed illness to his four-year-old daughter, although that was just the latest of the likely three strikes that has left him without opportunity in the NBA.
I predict AI's stay overseas will be shortlived. There's no TGI Fridays' in Istanbul. He reportedly would have signed even sooner, but his camp and the team disagreed on a key sticking point. Reportedly, Iverson wanted it written in his contract that he couldn't be fined by the team.

No, really, stew on that one for a sec.

I have no idea why Iverson's still playing, in a terrible league, for a mere pittance. Well, actually I do.

It's sad that a guy who probably still has some game left in him can't get out of the way of his own ego. If he showed a willingness to accept a reserve role, lose the attitude, and mix in an occasional pass, I have little doubt teams like Miami and Boston would have had interest. Instead, by clinging to the relevance he last enjoyed, oh, about 5-6 seasons ago, AI basically bought himself a one-way ticket out of the league. And now he'll be plying his wares in a country most people (Iverson included) probably couldn't locate on a world map.

Sad, but it is what it is.

Question: How long will Allen Iverson last in Turkey? What could he have done to avoid such an end to his career? Got any other examples of athletes who just didn't know when to hang em' up?

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