Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Allen Iverson: The Soldier Who Refused Help

And so it ends for Allen Iverson.

Unwanted and unloved, the answer for Iverson is retirement.

He remains too stubborn for his own good but stubbornness is not a strength—it's a weakness.

At one time or another, everyone of us has had to accept change. Like it or not, it's a part of life.

Those who adapt, learn from it, move on and usually become better people.

Those who don't end eventually up being forgotten and passed over.

After a career of being "the man" and being in spotlight, when it dimmed, he didn't want to step away.

For all his prodigious talent, Iverson wasn't a leader. He was a soldier who didn't know how to bring the best out of his team mates.

His career was always all about him. He didn't know how to share and he looked uncomfortable when he was asked to do it.

legacy is one of contradictions.

He was truly a great individual talent. Someone who fought well above his weight. He was tough and uncompromising.

But he would bend to nobody. No player, no team.

Everyone had to accommodate him. Change their game, their style.

It was his refusal to compromise that would prove to be his undoing.

When he was traded to the Pistons last year, it gave him a chance to prove that he winning meant more to him that scoring titles did. For years, he groaned and griped about not having team mates to help him compete for a title.

Finally, he got one in Detroit. For the first time in his career, he would be playing with a group who had won it all together. Maybe that Pistons team together was coming to an end as well, but it was hoped that Iverson would be the injection the Pistons needed.

This would be the ultimate test of Iverson's character.

And he failed it. Miserably.

In Memphis it was the same story this year. He talked a good game but didn't back it up.

He lasted only three games.

It didn't have to end this way for Iverson. It could have been and should have been more.

He's only 34. Still young enough and healthy enough to play for a good few years.

He still has the talent to play at the NBA level.

Unfortunately though, Iverson just doesn't have the smarts to go with it.

He just doesn't understand that no team is going to build around him. He's had his time and now it's over. There are other roles for him now, but he's not interested.

For him, it's all or nothing and the league's teams have spoken: nothing.

Once again, Iverson gets his way.

It's reasonable to think this isn't the last we've seen of Iverson. As injuries mount, teams will surely consider him as the playoffs draw near, especially if they feel that the former MVP and scoring champ can get them over the line.

For now Iverson in the NBA is no more.

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