From NBC Philadelphia
Allen Iverson, arguably that greatest small guard in recent NBA history, could have taken his final shot.
A.I., who has spent this season playing in basic obscurity in Istanbul, Turkey, needs ankle surgery and likely won’t return to his current team Besiktas Cola after getting the procedure done in the U.S., reports Turkish site Ajanspor. Hoopsworld.com tried to decipher the Turkish-language report:
“Leaving the basketball world makes me sad but, sometimes, we have to accept things like they are,” Iverson said Tuesday. “I can say goodbye to basketball. The 35-year-old former Sixers star was only playing overseas in the first place because no NBA team would take a shot at signing him during the off-season despite his remarkable career.
On the court “the Answer” was brilliant as he overcame small stature and injuries to become the biggest draw in the NBA selling out nearly any stadium the Sixers played through the first part of this decade. He was named to 11-straight All-Star Games, sits No. 22 on the All-Time scoring list (24,368) and earned a league MVP while leading the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals.
Should Iverson officially hang it up, though, he would likely be remembered as much for what he did off the court as on it. His rant on “practice” remains a part of sports lore and his propensity for T.G.I. Fridays is well known — and seemed to continue even in Turkey, according to a recent Philly Magazine article.
But he also dealt with demons in his personal life as came out following his short-lived second act in Philly. Iverson looked like a shell of himself last season as he battled family issues and injuries in his second stint with the Sixers.
After playing just 25 games he left the 76ers to tend to family issues including caring for his sick daughter. But after he left the problems seemed to become magnified as reports surfaced of his alcohol and gambling issues and his wife filed for divorce.
Iverson wound up inking a two-year, $4 million deal to play in Turkey. His arrival made headlines as fans swarmed the airport to welcome A.I. to Istanbul. But, he looked like only a shell of his former 30-point-a-night self while playing in just 10 games for Besiktas as he averaged only 12.8 points and 4.2 assists in about 30 minutes per game.
Continued at NBC Philadelphia