Allen Iverson needs another epiphany in Memphis
I wonder if Iverson remembers that moment or season. Sure, the tiny combo guard treated coach Larry Brown’s offense like an all you can shoot smorgasbord. And sure, the 76ers succeeded -with Iverson, of course, being the featured player …
Breaking NBA news mixed with analysis …
Their News: “Iverson is telling close associates that he might retire instead of returning to the Grizzlies. Not shocking since he said he’d rather retire than come off the bench while in Detroit.” (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
My Quick Analysis: I remember thinking this would be Allen Iverson’s epiphany.
It was game five of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson, unable to sink a shot from the floor, became a distributor, handing out eight crucial assists in a tight 89-88 victory.
After the game, the television cameras showed the 76ers celebrating. Former Philadelphia owner Pat Croce was hugging Iverson and proudly yelling into the camera “you (Iverson) handed out eight assists tonight. Eight.”
Croce’s point was simple: Iverson was a team player. When necessary he’d gladly defer to others. Critics be damned.
I wonder if Iverson remembers that moment or season. Sure, the tiny combo guard treated coach Larry Brown’s offense like an all you can shoot smorgasbord. And sure, the 76ers succeeded -with Iverson, of course, being the featured player.
But Iverson also sacrificed. He bought into Brown’s play-the-right-way mantra, defended like a madman, played hurt, and challenged bigger, tougher opponents. And it paid off with a 56 win season and a trip to the NBA Finals.
Over the past nine years, there have been ups-and-downs. At times, Iverson put others first. Other times, he put himself first. Even during the lowest of lows, I’d never have imagined he’d quit on the Memphis Grizzlies two weeks into the regular season because of playing time.
Whatever your opinion on Iverson, he isn’t a quitter. That’s the last thing he is. For now, he must remember his time with Croce and play a role for the Grizzlies. Any role, for that matter. His career depends on it.
Hopefully, this epiphany the future Hall of Famer gets.
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