Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2 comments Allen Iverson Is A Useless Quitter

I started a Fantasy Baseball league in Yahoo if anyone wants to join. I have put the max teams at 10 but I would be willing to open it up to 12 teams if we had enough interest. The League ID is "420904" and the password is "eckstein." We have 3 spots filled right now, so we need to fill 7 more. If you have any questions feel free to email me, otherwise go ahead and sign up if you want.

I don't usually like to do the same sportswriter's columns on back-to-back days, but I am making an exception today. JemeHill has struck again with a column about Allen Iverson. JemeHill has covered Iverson a few other times and some have been complimentary and others have been not so complimentary. I think JemeHill feels a kinship with Iverson for some reason, because she has called herself an Iverson Apologist a couple of times. She is from Detroit and thinks of him as a "Detroit type" player. Either way, that kinship is gone. JemeHill pretty much calls Iverson a quitter for not playing the rest of the season with the 76ers to focus on his marriage, his sick daughter and probably he will also focus on the fact he has a drinking and gambling problem.

Having a gambling problem is fine as long as you have your shit together enough to not let it affect your performance or it is fine if the media likes you, see Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley for proof of that, but apparently taking time off to focus on personal matters makes you a quitter in the eyes of some.

We shouldn't be surprised that Allen Iverson's return to Philadelphia didn't quite work out. Truthfully, when hasn't Iverson's path been an exercise in difficulty?

That may be a valid point, but much of Iverson's path has been an exercise in difficulty caused by himself and some bad luck. Even ignoring his problems before he got to Georgetown, Iverson has been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, recorded a rap song that pissed of David Stern, was kicked out of a casino for urinating in a trash can in Atlantic City, got in an argument at the Taj Mahal casino, and has an ongoing feud with NBA referee Steve Javie (Speaking of this feud, if you read Javie's wikipedia page, it reads like the diary of a slightly incompetent official. I am sure every official has some problems in his career, but I feel like Javie had more than "some").

Not all of that has been Iverson's fault, but he has also caused some of his own problems. I don't feel too much pity for Iverson and his gambling and alcohol problems. he sort of brought those problems on himself. I do feel sympathy for the situation with his daughter and the difficulty in his marriage. I don't know if I would consider him to be a victim in this situation either. He has caused some of his own problems at times in his career. Still, this is something we all know and really isn't a reason his return to the 76ers was difficult. His return to the 76ers was difficult because he didn't want to accept a bench role and wanted to start.

(On a side note, with this revelation that Iverson has a gambling problem, Jordan had a gambling problem, Barkley had a gambling problem, Gilbert Arenas was suspended after drawing a gun based on a gambling debt and Tim Donaghy was affecting games with his officiating and had ties to organized crime...is it possible gambling is a much bigger problem in the NBA than the public is even aware of? With all these people being prolific gamblers, isn't there a probability a couple players have gotten together with officials or players have won some money based on their performance on the court? Isn't it a little naive to think a player would enjoy gambling and wouldn't at some point bring that love to a sport he can control? Isn't it a little naive to think Tim Donaghy was really the only official involved with organized crime and fixing games? I am not going all Chicken Little on everyone, but if so many popular players love gambling so much, how can we not ask these questions?)

To some, this was supposed to be the career move that finally presented Iverson with the chance to leave the game as a celebrated hero.

To the more realistic "some," this gave Iverson a chance to play for the only NBA team that was still willing to play him and give him enough minutes to satisfy him.

It won't happen now. The 76ers announced on Tuesday that Iverson is done for the season, meaning his last game as an NBA player probably came against Chicago on Feb. 20, when he scored 13 points and Philadelphia lost by 32.

If only Iverson has scored 33 more points maybe he could have made the difference and helped the 76ers beat the Bobcats. No wonder he needs to retire, this is further proof he is washed up. Iverson should have stepped his game up, scored more points, and also have predicted the future and known this was going to be his last game in the NBA.

He's been an underdog for most of his life; and even if you hated his cornrows and sometimes childish rebelliousness, you at least respected that he always was true to himself.

Iverson wasn't going to change no matter what.

This was his downfall and part of what made him so special. I do happen to feel right now JemeHill is just killing space and time. Let's get to the point of the fucking article please. To. The. Point.

Even more disappointing is that it feels as if one of the NBA's great warriors will leave the game with the word "quitter" on his prolific résumé.

You are such a quitter Allen Iverson! Even though you have enough money so that you and your grandchildren's grandchildren could retire anytime they want or never have to work, you are a quitter because you want to focus on your sick daughter and failing marriage...not to mention the fact you most likely have a gambling and drinking problem.

Quit being a quitter, rub some dirt in it, and then go play basketball again Allen! You are such a pussy to try and focus on your family. Fuck your family issues and your little girl "personal problems." The only personal problem you have is that you are a quitter of a human being. Allen Iverson, you make Charles Manson look like Mother Teresa. What's more important to you? Your family or meeting JemeHill's expectations for your career? The answer should be easy.

There is no question that Iverson has/had one of the great careers in NBA history. But the way that career is coming to a close could rank among the all-time worst finishes for an athlete who was once a cultural icon.

And the one thing Allen Iverson owes me, you, JemeHill and the world in general is a great finish to his career. That's for sure. I wish Iverson would play one more NBA game so JemeHill could chant "quitter" at him and throw heavy objects at him because he didn't finish his career of with a flourish.

I completely disagree with this position. In fact, it's a stupid position. Closing out your career for personal reasons is no different than Magic Johnson retiring (originally) because he had the HIV virus, Michael Jordan retiring because David Stern suspended him/he wanted to become a mediocre AA baseball player for the Birmingham Barons, or Robert Smith retiring because he got tired of his body taking the beating it did every week playing in the NFL.

Would it be better if Iverson ignored his family and personal problems and then ended his career completely trying to ruin his legacy by hanging around too long, like Willie Mays did? We all love Willie Mays but the way he left the game wasn't on his terms nor was it even being close to when he was at the top of his game. Allen Iverson is a big boy and he can retire for whatever reason he wants and not be called a quitter.

The 76ers didn't get into specifics regarding his departure, but there have been numerous reports that Iverson's 4-year-old daughter is suffering from an undisclosed illness.

A real competitor wouldn't worry about this. I mean, there are such things as hospital beds right? It's not like his daughter is going anywhere or anything. She's sick and four years old. What is she going to do, go off to college or something? Think about your legacy Allen! Don't you want to be known as the guy who played in the NBA until he was no longer a useful player to stubbornly enhance his legacy while his daughter was ill? Better to be known as that then the guy who quit on his team because he was facing a divorce and other personal problems.

This is a lunatic position that JemeHill takes here. I don't even begin to understand it.

Making matters worse, it was reported on Thursday that his wife of eight and a half years, Tawanna, whom he has known since junior high school, has filed for divorce.

JemeHill doesn't want to hear that shit about Iverson's family problems. "Go after some road beef, it will make you feel better."

Family drama aside, Iverson's professional legacy has been unraveling since his last days in Denver. When the Nuggets traded him to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups in November of 2008, Denver coach George Karl was among the first to point out that Iverson -- with whom the Nuggets won 50 games had lost a step.

George Karl was among the first to point this out? He was among the first who had a microphone and coached Iverson to point this out. To any other observer of the NBA, it was pretty obvious Iverson had lost a step. Still, the fact he has lost a step is actually a reason for him to retire from the NBA and only serves to undercut and hurt JemeHill's point that he is a quitter.

And Karl said Iverson's shoot-first mentality had kept the team, most notably superstar Carmelo Anthony, from blossoming.

Again, Iverson's game doesn't match up well with other players necessarily. He likes to shoot and control the ball. When he is not the best player on a team, this isn't a good trait to have in a player on a team. Still, if Iverson recognizes this, then this is another good reason to retire at this point. I don't know if this is really helping JemeHill's case at this point.

Iverson apologists were all over Karl. But then came Detroit, Memphis and now Philadelphia, Round 2. Iverson quit on the Pistons. He quit on Memphis.

I am not 100% sure if Iverson quit in either situation. His real ability didn't seem to match up very well with the perceived ability and how it should be used on an NBA team. Iverson wanted to start when he isn't good enough to start on many teams at this point in his career.

And although there are the family issues to consider in the 76ers case,

"The family issues?" His wife is leaving him, his daughter is apparently fairly ill, and it has come to light that he likes to gamble and drink too much. These are issues it takes a normal hour long television sitcom at least 3 seasons to cover in a dramatic fashion, while Iverson is dealing with these things all at the exact same time. I am trying to think of other issues he and his family could be facing right now that could be worse and satisfy JemeHill. I am also wondering why anyone would use the word "some" to describe these three issues.

it looks as though Iverson, to some degree, has quit on Philadelphia.

That degree being, he has quit on his family to focus on the fact his life is falling apart...you know, to some degree.

It doesn't look as though Iverson has quit on Philadelphia. To some degree, it appears he is valuing his personal life over his basketball reason and has a valid reason to do so.

In a statement about his departure, the 76ers didn't mention his daughter, just that "after discussing the situation with Allen, we have come to the conclusion that he will not return to the Sixers for the remainder of the season, as he no longer wishes to be a distraction to the organization and teammates that he loves very deeply."

I can't believe the 76ers organization didn't release a statement mentioning the state of Iverson's daughter! This is so (not) shocking since nobody really knows what is wrong with his daughter anyway, he had just taken some time to focus on his daughter's illness, and Iverson hasn't elaborated in any fashion. He could just want this problem to stay private. I am sure his daughter being sick is just bullshit though.

Why the hell does JemeHill think the 76ers organization would talk about Iverson's daughter or any of his personal problems in the press release saying he was no longer with the team? This makes no sense as to why JemeHill would expect this to happen.

Here is another part of this press release JemeHill conveniently left out because it pretty much tells everyone why Iverson is no longer with the team:

Stefanski said. "It has been very difficult for Allen and the team to maintain any consistency as he tries to balance his career with his personal life."

What a small, yet incredibly important part of the press release to leave out. The only reason anyone would leave this part out is in case they wanted to make it seem like Iverson left the 76ers for no good reason and he is a quitter. How terrible of an article is this that JemeHill even tries to leave out significant parts of the story that don't support her point and still it is an unpersuasive column in every fashion? Allen Iverson is not a quitter when it comes to leaving the 76ers. Not at all.

What happened to the little guard who would go into the paint no matter how many taller, bigger bodies stood between him and the rim?

He has been in the NBA since 1996 and has endured a ton of punishment. He is 34 years old and his game isn't built to be a secondary player. These type things happen to NBA players at the end of their career. The smart ones realize it and retire or adjust their basketball game to their new skill level or surroundings. Allen Iverson was not able to do this, and he had family problems, so he quit playing basketball for at least this year. It's pretty simple.

What happened to Allen Iverson, the consummate fighter?

It looks like has bigger fish to fry at this point and this overrides his need or want to continue playing basketball in the NBA. Players do have a right to retire when they want to.

What is he really fighting for at this point anyway? It is already been shown he isn't a top-tier player at this point in his career, he refused to accept this, and he is not going to be happy coming off the bench. Really, not playing basketball seems like the logical step at this point of his career. There is nothing really to fight for in this case.

Fans loved that he refused to change, but that refusal to adapt is also the reason that late in his career he was, at best, just a fit for bad teams.

Here again, JemeHill provides more evidence that Iverson is retiring for personal reasons and because potentially he has realized he doesn't fit in with NBA teams at this point of his career. He doesn't want to adapt his game and there are personal problems that have his attention right now, so he is going to stop playing basketball this season. This doesn't make him a quitter, but instead makes him self-aware enough to know basketball should not be the most important thing in his life when he doesn't have the skill set to be the best player on a team.

"Look at my résumé, and that'll show I'm not a sixth man. I don't think it has anything to do with me being selfish. It's just who I am. I don't want to change what gave me all the success that I've had since I've been in this league. I'm not a sixth man. And that's that."

Hell yeah, Iverson was being stubborn when he said this. How is the realization that he isn't at the top of his game anymore make him a quitter? How does the realization his personal life requires his attention right now make him a quitter? A different athlete would be commended for stepping down from the team he plays for when personal problems rear their head and that player realizes he is no longer an upper-tier player. For some reason, JemeHill condemns Iverson for this.

Just like when she thought a girl basketball player hitting another girl basketball player is needs to be treated with equality, by being punished less than a male athlete would, JemeHill's need to take a contrary stance has resulted in a poorly written column. She condemns Iverson for something other athletes would be praised for. Some may see this as a sign of maturity by Iverson or him finally recognizing his own mortality in the realm of basketball, but JemeHill calls him a quitter.

Iverson didn't know how to change, which is why his legacy today is complicated instead of simply great.

Iverson's legacy would have been complicated no matter how he retired. It's just a part of who he is at this point.

I used to contend that Iverson was one of sports' most misunderstood icons.

You still absolutely can. Iverson can still be considered misunderstood. Only JemeHill could defend Iverson through his time in Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit, and Memphis, but come to condemn him now that he actually has a legitimate reason for his behavior. It's just so ironic to me that the one time he actually can be defended for his actions, NOW is the time JemeHill chooses to give up on him.

But as his career comes to a close, it's evident that he isn't the man he used to be, and he's never going to be the man I hoped he'd be.

It's fine if you come to this conclusion for past reasons. It's not fine if you come to this conclusion because you believe Allen Iverson is a quitter for not playing for the 76ers the rest of this year and spending time away from the NBA because his personal life is falling apart. This is why JemeHill has finally come to the conclusion that Iverson is a quitter and I can't possibly think this makes any sense nor is it logical.

So JemeHill thinks Iverson is a quitter because he took time off from basketball to spend time with his family because his daughter is sick, he is getting ready to go through a divorce, and he apparently has a drinking and gambling problem. I don't know why she is drawing a line in the sand at this point, but it's what she is doing.

Personally, I think JemeHill was just trying to write a contrarian article and failed miserably. Any column that forces me to defend Allen Iverson is a column that is not a friend of mine. The bottom line is that Allen Iverson is not a quitter.

-I have been meaning to talk about this for a few weeks now, but for some reason CNNSI.com has given Dan Shaughnessy the opportunity to let his writing get a wider audience. They are publishing some of his columns, and as expected, they generally aren't that great. My biggest confusion is what he actually brings to CNNSI.com that would encourage them to have any type of relationship with him.

He has written 18 columns and 10 of those have been Boston-centric. Throw in the fact he isn't that great of a writer no matter what he is talking about and I just don't get why CNNSI.com started publishing some of his columns. It's not like he really has that wide of a national view in his articles or even a national audience. The only reason he is widely known is because he is also fairly widely hated. So what does CNNSI.com see in him? I guess it is one of those mysteries in life I will never understand.

2 comments:

Dylan Murphy said...

Regardless of whether or not you agree with him stepping away from basketball, A.I.'s career died when he got traded originally. It's shame too, because Philadelphia management let him toil for years with no help. He dragged the corpse of the '01 team to the finals (I think it was '01). Too bad any potential team success was wasted during his prime. Eric Snow and Aaron Mckie are not the most desirable supporting cast.

Bengoodfella said...

I agree. I think his career pretty much ended at that point. Philly basically said they weren't going to give him any help and then he went to Denver where he never really fit in that well with Anthony's development.

It was the 01 team and it was not a good team at all. They even took a game from the Lakers. They never really did surround him with anything resembling talent.