Allen Iverson’s career may be wrapped up. At 34, his best years are behind him. Age and injury wear down even the best NBA players, but an even more fearsome obstacle stands in Iverson’s way: gambling and drinking.
Various NBA sources say Iverson’s season is over with the 76ers because of this lifestyle choice, one that ruins many people’s lives. Iverson, nicknamed the Answer, has made plenty of money during his career. Casinos will gladly accept cash from people whether it’s from NBA ballers or Joe Average who lives paycheck to paycheck. But not from Iverson, who has been banned from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, N.J..
What is someone doing wrong to get banned by a casino? And what about the drinking? Iverson’s hard-partying ways are no secret. Mentally, Iverson must be having a rough time considering he retired once already this season after lackluster play in Memphis.
The Answer still has plenty of game left. Iverson may not recklessly drive to the basket as often, but he is still a speedster and knocks down clutch jumpers. Life is more important and Iverson must get his in order.
Tawana Iverson, Allen’s wife, filed for divorce last week. They have five children and she’s seeking full custody. Iverson’s daughter, Messiah, has an undisclosed illness. These problems, coupled with the gambling and drinking, mean basketball must take a backseat.
Iverson must overcome his demons and retire on his terms. He shouldn’t be forced to retire because he owes the wrong people money or hits the bottle too hard. It would be difficult for the Answer to find another team to take a chance on him.
A player of Iverson’s talent could fit in with contending teams looking for someone who can score or provide leadership. However, that usually means coming off the bench, something that Iverson said he didn’t want to do last year when he was looking for a team to put his talent to use.
Most people will remember Iverson as the fearless player who led the league in scoring four times and took the 76ers to the Finals in 2001. That year Iverson was a dynamo, winning the regular-season MVP as he led the 76ers to an unlikely win in game 1 of the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who hadn’t lost a game in the playoffs up until that point.
Hopefully, Iverson will recover from his difficulties and maybe even find a team to take a chance on him to finish out his career. That way the basketball world will remember him as the dynamic ballplayer, not the man who lost control of his life.
…and he ruined my weekend!
At 5 am Pacific Standard time Sunday morning, I was running across Harmon Blvd in Las Vegas. This wasn’t a heavy jog, like most grown people do when they’re “running,” I was in a full-on sprint. I was running like a crazy person across an empty street because I had just left a cab at a different hotel without paying and I needed to get to my room before he saw me and called the cops. I’ve never run out on a cab fare on my life, but I had to because I was stranded in the middle of Las Vegas with no money at five in the morning. This was all Les Miles’s fault.
Everything started on Thursday, when I noticed that LSU was somehow a four-and-a-half point underdog to Ole Miss. Mississippi was at home, and in Vegas line world that somehow seems to justify a team getting an extra 10 points on any line. As I was planning a trip to Las Vegas for the upcoming weekend, I decided to place a little wager on the game.
Realizing that there was no way LSU could possibly lose by four-and-a-half points to Ole Miss and believing that my college football acumen was much greater than it actually was or is, I put an unjustifiable amount of money on the Tigers winning straight up.
Four hours later I was crying – literally crying – into the most expensive drink I’ve ever purchased. Prior to that, all I remember is screaming. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the idiotic coaching performance I witnessed, maybe it was the fact that I felt like I was watching my money being set ablaze, but I have never yelled as much or as hard at an inanimate object as I did at the television that day.
As Les Miles sat there on the sideline like a buffoon for those 17 seconds, while precious time ticked off the clock at the end of the game, I felt like I was watching George W. Bush in that classroom on 9/11.
“The country is under attack, Les! The country is under attack! Do something!”
I may or may not have actually yelled this out loud at the bar I was in – everything between LSU recovering an onside kick and the final scoreboard reading LSU – 23 Mississippi – 25 is one big whirlwind blur of anger, sadness, joy and disbelief.
I died a little that day.