HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Father Time always wins. Not even the all-time greats can survive his pull.
Allen Iverson will become his latest victim sometime this week, with sources telling SLAM Magazine that the former Philadelphia 76ers star will “officially” retire later this week.
It’s strictly a formality at this point for Iverson, who has not played significant minutes in the NBA since 2010 with the 76ers. His last game action professionally was in Turkey in 2011.
One of the league’s most popular players during the height of his NBA career, Iverson closes the door on his career as one of the game’s greatest scorers and one of the best 6-foot and under to ever wear a NBA uniform.
But it was clear months ago that he was prepared for this moment, per SLAM’s Tzvi Twersky:
When he last spoke publicly, at a Sixers game on March 30, Iverson answered a question about continuing his career by saying, “My No. 1 goal is trying to accomplish to be the best dad that I can. And if basketball is in my near future, then God will make that happen. But if not, I had a great ride and I’ve done a lot of special things that a lot of guys have not been able to accomplish and people thought I couldn’t accomplish.”
Included amongst those accomplishments are: 13-year career averages of 41.1 mpg, 26.7 ppg, 6.2 apg and 2.2 spg; 71-game playoff averages of 45.1 mpg, 29.7 ppg, 6.0 apg and 2.1 spg. He also won one regular-season MVP award, four scoring titles and was named an All-Star 11 times. Maybe most impressive of all, omitting the obvious impact that he had on the culture off-court, was the resilience that the 6-foot guard showed in driving into the lane, into men a foot taller than him, time and time again.
“He might be the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen,” Larry Brown, Iverson’s coach from 1997-2003 and the current coach at SMU, told SLAM today. “I don’t think there’ll be another one like him.
“I’m sure we faced a lot of obstacles, maybe even on a daily basis, but when it came time to play, to try to win a game, he tried to play as hard as he could for his coach.”
It’s hard to put Iverson’s career into words for those of us who witnessed his rise from two-sport (football) high school phenom to future Hall of Famer. Few players in the history of the game, drew the attention of fans worldwide the way Iverson did during his best days.
When he does make his retirement official, my main man Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and formerly of SLAM will reflect on Iverson’s impact on the game and hops culture.