Friday, November 28, 2008

When It Comes To Iverson, You Take The Good With The Bad

On Thanksgiving, Allen Iverson skipped practice so that he could be home with his family and friends and relax a little. Yes, this is a good example of a player putting himself ahead of the team and yes, Iverson was rightly fined and suspended for this. However, is anyone surprised by this? Iverson's antics are well documented and sometimes very funny (You talking 'bout practice?!?).
However, unlike many athletes of the "me-first" generation, Iverson's mis-steps are almost always harmless to his team. Have you ever heard whispers about A.I. not being a good teammate? Ever hear a mention that A.I. doesn't lay it out on the line everynight? Iverson's had some problems with coaches and a done some dumb things, but he's far from the team cancer that the Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, or Vince Carter have all been at times.

In fact, Iverson has seemingly been on teams that couldn't win the title his entire career but he continues to play all out and give his team a chance to win every night. A.I. was ROY, MVP, and an 8-time All-Star and has the third highest career PPG average at 27.9 (only behind MJ and Wilt, no less). Iverson has been barrelling into the paint and giving his body a beating for longer than anyone has thought possible. At less than 6' tall, A.I. has continued to battle everynight against the odds for years. How he gets his shot of in lane bending between 7 footers is outstanding.

Historically, there may be better players, but A.I. is the first and probably the last of his breed. As time passes, you'll be explaining to your confused kids about the things A.I. did on the court, and probably forget about all of the dumb things that happened off of it. The man was a warrior for four quarters every night, it's just a shame that so few other players can match his determination and intensity on the court or the game of basketball would be a lot more fun.

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