It was with much reluctance today that an embattled and perhaps largely unwanted Allen Iverson leaked the news to reporter Stephen A. Smith that he is set to retire from the NBA after a simply brilliant 13 year playing career.
This announcement comes on the heels of no. 3 being released from the Memphis Grizzlies after the two parties didn't quite see eye to eye about A.I.'s role on the team....
For the past week and a half there had been rumors that the New York Knicks were going to step up and offer him a contract if he cleared waivers, which he did, but after the weekend they erased those notions completely, denying that they would bring Iverson aboard. Supposedly they sided against his addition because they were worried he'd interfere with the development of their younger players...
So, just like that The Answer was without a team. After scoring 24,000 points in his career and largely becoming considered the best player six feet or under of all time no team was knocking on his proverbial door...That's when he decided to mull retiring and released this statement via Stephen A. Smith's website:
I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association. I always thought that when I left the game, it would be because I couldn’t help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However, that is not the case.
I still have tremendous love for the game, the desire to play, and a whole lot left in my tank. I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level.
For now I'm saddened that the man who I rooted for my whole life is being shown the back door. From the time he was a Hoya, to dazzling us in his rookie season crossing up MJ, to when he was winning the MVP making his lone run at the Finals, A.I.'s career is worthy of much higher regard. He's being pushed out of a league that is becoming more and more conservative by the day and that loved to falsely label him an unwilling, un-bending troublemaker.
A.I.'s poster hung on my wall while I was chasing hoop dreams throughout middle and high school and no one symbolized my struggles and generation more than him. He deserved to go out on his own terms and was thee best little guard ever to lace em' up. Helping revolutionize ball handling and putting up awe inspiring numbers all while maintaining his status as a sturdy iron man who rarely was injured, few were in his class in terms of skill or will. The NBA has blackballed him out of one final run and it's appalling...
I do think there is some glimmer of hope that maybe his retirement will be short lived. That last sentence in his statement certainly indicates that, but if in fact he's hanging up his Reebok's for good I just wanna say this....Thanks for the memories A.I., you were the greatest, the most misunderstood and the illest all at once...see you in Springfield in five.
-BIG D O
Link to Iverson's full retirement statement: