That’s Steve Nash going for a spectacular 21 point 20 assist game against the 76ers, taking what is considered to be a relatively undermanned Phoenix Suns to an impressive 7-1 record.
Seeing that stat line along with the realization that the Suns are averaging 109.7 ppg largely due to him makes one happy doesn’t it? I mean here is one of the greatest players on the planet, a two time MVP taking his average team amongst the top of the league. That’s what great players are supposed to do, right? They play great, they win games.
Which now brings us to..
Allen Iverson was granted a 10-day pass by Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley to deal with a ‘personal matter’.
While the issue seems cut and dry, no one is biting into the press release. AI is widely known as difficult to work with and the Grizzlie’s strategy of playing him off the bench is probably the reason for it. Iverson has already remarked the ff. “I had a problem with my butt sitting on that bench for so long, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a bench player. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a sixth man. Look at my resume and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll show IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a sixth man. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think it has anything to do with me being selfish. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just who I am. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to change what gave me all the success that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had since IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been in this league. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a sixth man. And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s that.”
A few months ago I bought and read Allen Iverson’s ‘Only The Strong Survive‘, AI’s biography from a life of poverty in Newport News, Virginia.
I’m not exaggerating when I say he lived in poverty. Even in third world standards, living in a house with no electricity and sewage seeping in to your living room is a sign of being impoverished no doubt about it. Forget about the availability of drugs. Even in high class neighborhoods these days, drugs are always available. AI lived in a world of shysters, gangsters, dope dealers and low lifes all hanging around him waiting for a piece of the pie when he became the big thing.
It got so bad as a friend claiming he was the one who thought of the monicker ‘the answer’, and sued for percentages from the use of the word. The book gave me no doubt that even people he felt he was close to would turn against him in an instant to make a quick buck. It made me realize how important it was to have people to trust, especially for one like he, who has made something of himself. Just as amazing as his natural born athleticism, his story is nothing short of incredible as well, given the circumstances he had to go through.
This is the story of Allen Iverson and sadly, the reason as well why he insists on doing things his way. As far as he is concerned he got to where he is because he got himself there, and anyone saying otherwise is just flat out wrong.
So when I hear situations like above where he insists on being a starter, I understand Allen, but I also understand this is a team sport, and realize that someone’s got to give. And the thing is it’s happened so often, from Philadelphia to Detroit, from Charlotte and now Memphis (and it’s just the start of the season my God), that I can’t help realizing that maybe, after all this time, it’s Allen that’s got to give.
And that makes me sad. Not just ‘this is the worst of the week’ sad, but really sad, because he really is a phenom and he deserves better.