There was a time when Allen Iverson filled arenas to see him play, when he was the player symbolizing the bridge to the hip-hop culture in the NBA, when his jersey sales were at the top of the league, when he was one of the most dynamic players in the NBA.
That was a decade ago. Today’s Iverson can’t get an NBA team to even call him. He is contemplating playing in China next season, but his personal manager Gary Moore said he was stunned by this development.
“We’re very astonished, to say the least, that not one team has contacted us with any interest,” Moore said. “I just don’t understand it….
“What has Allen Iverson done to not warrant interest in him?” Moore said.
Well, um, there was last season.
He put up good stats for the Grizzlies in the three games he played for them — 12.3 points per game and a PER of 16.9 — but was such a distraction, refusing to come off the bench and throwing Mike Conley under the bus, that they let him go. (Memphis had a good season and good chemistry once Iverson was gone.) He went back to Philadelphia where he was pedestrian for 25 games then had to leave the team to deal with a family issue — a legitimate issue but the timing and how it was handled left other teams questioning.
At age 35, no team trying to build wants and aging Iverson to take up a roster spot and no veteran contending team feels he’s worth the risk. We can tell you there is no buzz whatsoever for Iverson around the league. Nobody feels the production is worth the hassle.
So maybe that’s how one of the NBA’s legendary careers ends. With a whimper. Playing in China against Stephon Marbury. I wish it was different, but that is the reality.