Well, for the NBA’s, Allen Iverson, there seems to be ‘no place like home’. Much like with Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, Iverson is making his own personal journey in the form of his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. As to what this bodes for the rest of the season for the franchise and the player. One can only speculate. But it’s clear to see that this was a last ditch effort by the player to find a place to play out what may very well be his last days in the NBA.
Iverson makes his views known on ‘practice’ ? Yes we’s talkin’ ’bout practice !
The ‘prodigal son’ has returned and it appears that all might well have been forgiven. The player’s woes of late have been well chronicled , from his inability to play as a teammate with the Denver Nuggets. An experiment that I might add, was doomed before it even started ! His brief tenure with the Detroit Pistons and the very fact that he and the organization could not see ‘eye to eye’. And then there was the sideshow there in Memphis, with the Memphis Grizzlies. One minute he’s being viewed as perhaps the franchise’s savior , the next he makes himself feel about as welcomed as a child molester would be on the first day of his incarceration in prison. Suffice to say, that the Grizzlies’ front office were at a loss with regard to Iverson’s demeanor. The team’s coach, Lionel Hollins, the general manager,Chris Wallace, and the team owner, Michael Heisley , went out of their way to welcome him with opens arms , when they signed him as a free agent. In the blink of an eye , Iverson ‘wanted out’ of Memphis and just about anything to do with the team.
Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports
By Dan Gelston, AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Allen Iverson’s first stint with the Philadelphia 76ers ended with the team yanking his nameplate off his locker and editing him out of video highlights before he was even traded.
The Sixers might want to find him a new locker and cue up some clips. Philly fans, pull out that No. 3 jersey from the closet. A.I. is a Sixer again.
In a move that appeared farfetched after their acrimonious split in 2006, the 76ers reunited with the briefly retired Iverson on Wednesday in a move designed to spike sagging attendance and fill in for the injured Lou Williams.
Coach Eddie Jordan said Iverson will likely start and stay the entire season.
“I told him I would like for him to start, and that’s where it sort of ended,” Jordan said. “And he was really like a kid at Christmas.”
Iverson will make his debut Monday night at home against Denver—one of three teams he’s called home since leaving Philly. The 10-time All-Star-turned-journeyman is determined to prove he still has something to offer in that No. 3 jersey.
He antagonized his coaches and opponents his first time around. Perhaps humbled, he signed after being reduced to a bench player in Denver and Memphis and forced to accept the veteran’s minimum salary to return to his NBA roots.
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For the time being , it’s hard trying to figure out what to make of this all. But with the apparent injury to the team’s point guard, Lou Williams and his impending loss for an indeterminate period of time. Coach,Eddie Jordan and the front office staff felt it an urgency, to bring the player in and gauge his interest in rejoining the team. Ed Stefanski, as the team President , General Manager and owner of the franchise, felt it to be a good idea. Albeit , that he indeed had some reservations as to how the fans may well have felt about the player returning to the franchise. But the advantages he felt far outweighed the negative aspect of it all.
With Iverson, having been formally signed by the team, they expect to make him to make his first appearance in the Sixers’ uniform on Monday. Then the team will formally reintroduce him as player back on their roster. And with the team’s record now at (5-13) within the Atlantic Division. The team now is looking up at the likes of the Boston Celtics (14-4), Toronto Raptors (7-12), beneath them the New York Knicks (4-14) and the woefully inept New Jersey Nets (0-17). The division itself , though not devoid of talent , might just be one of the weakest in all of the NBA, in terms of a real top flight team. Other than the Celtics and the somewhat inconsistent Raptors, there’s nothing there, that one would say is an entirely competitive team to watch. The Knicks remain an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum , even with Mike D’Antoni in tow as their coach. The Nets are proving that their problems are way beyond solving ,as of now. Much like the Middle East ‘peace process’ is at present, now. There’s no road map there to guide them. And by all accounts even with the aid of a compass and a map, Nets’ interim coach, Kiki Vanderweghe, will be hard pressed to lift this team off the scrap heap. Such are the vagaries of what we’re now seeing within the division.
If Iverson is to come and assist this team in being or providing some semblance of being competitive. Then , he’ll have to show that as the elder statesman on the roster, he’s prepared to show leadership skills and a great deal more maturity than he’s been showing as of late. Despite his fourteen years in the NBA, there’s still that ‘thug mentality’ and immaturity that’s still being shown by the player. The ‘baggage’ that he still continues to carry with him , despite his undoubted talents as a player will continue either drag him down, or that of an organization.
There’s no denying that Allen Iverson has the ‘heart of a lion’ and his willingness to compete is unlike any other. But what may well detract from his a player is his unwillingness to admit that he cannot do it all by himself and being prepared to put his trust in others and in particular those around him in the guise of his teammates. He’ll defer to others but only after he , himself feels that they’ll be prepared to reciprocate in a similar manner. And for the team at present , one has to look at the likes of Samuel Dalembert, Elton Brand, Marcus Speights,Andre Iguodala , Rodney Carney, Jason Kapono and Thaddeus Young, can get along with a player of Iverson’s demeanor. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise but at the first hint of dissent from Iverson. The last thing that the Sixers’ organization could withstand , would be to follow suit in that of their erstwhile predecessors, who had to deal with Iverson at his worst. No one man can be an island but Iverson gives you the very best impression of being Robinson Crusoe at times without his ‘man Friday’. If it’s not about him than mightn’t be about anyone else to begin with.
Who can fail to forget his classic rant about practice ? If that’s not an indication as to what Iverson has been about over a large part of his career. Then, the world of the NBA may well have been asleep when he was on his very best behavior. It’s always good to have someone back in your home because they made you feel at peace, and it was gladly reciprocated by that individual. For Allen Iverson, it’s not so much thought of ‘returning home’ but the fact he felt the need to be loved and wanted by someone. No matter who they may well have been. Luckily enough for the player, the entity who’s now showing him ‘the love’ , is in fact the first port of call at the start of his professional career. The organization may well feel that they owe Iverson, something. But in reality , it really is the other way around. Allen Iverson owes the Philadelphia 76ers ‘a debt of gratitude’ for taking him at the start of his career and now for welcoming back with open arms , as his career now winds down formally to its inevitable close.
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
42 Elton Brand F 6-9 254 03/11/1979 Duke 10
7 Primoz Brezec C 7-1 255 10/02/1979 Postojna, Slovenia 7
25 Rodney Carney G-F 6-7 205 04/05/1984 Memphis 3
1 Samuel Dalembert C 6-11 250 05/10/1981 Seton Hall 7
33 Willie Green G 6-3 201 07/28/1981 Detroit Mercy 6
11 Jrue Holiday G 6-4 180 06/12/1990 UCLA R
9 Andre Iguodala G-F 6-6 207 01/28/1984 Arizona 5
12 Royal Ivey G 6-4 215 12/20/1981 Texas 5
72 Jason Kapono F 6-8 215 02/04/1981 UCLA 6
14 Jason Smith F-C 7-0 240 03/02/1986 Colorado State 1
16 Marreese Speights F-C 6-10 245 08/04/1987 Florida 1
23 Louis Williams G 6-1 175 10/27/1986 South Gwinnett HS (Snellville, GA) 4
21 Thaddeus Young F 6-8 220 06/21/1988 Georgia Tech 2
Eddie Jordan (College – Rutgers)
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Mike O’Koren (College – North Carolina)
Randy Ayers (College – Miami (OH))
Jim Lynam (College – Saint Joseph’s)
Aaron McKie (College – Temple)
Kevin N. Johnson (College – Indiana State)
Scott Faust (College – Alabama-Huntsville)