By Michael Tapia– Every avid basketball fan remembers the night of March 12, 1997 when Allen Iverson as a rookie took “His Airness” to school when Michael Jordan was in the pinnacle of his career. The man who once awed the basketball world when he stunned Jordan with two left, right ,left, right crossovers is now playing in Turkey.
The Answer as he was regarded arrived in Istanbul, Turkey on Monday to commence his tenure with Turkish basketball club Beskitas. Iverson who signed a two year deal with the team did not hesitate to promise fans “something they haven’t seen before” upon his arrival. The Hampton, Virginia native arrived at Ataturk Airport wearing a Beskitas Cola Turka jersey with the number 10 and a Philadelphia Phillies cap and waved at fans as he was escorted to his hotel. The 11-time NBA All-Star promised the fans that he will be communicating with them as much as possible and urged them to come out and support the team.
Iverson told NTV sports channel that the fans cheering at the airport upon his arrival were great and that “the most important thing is to be accepted, to be wanted and to be appreciated.” He added that this move to the Turkish club is “a chance to get back on track with my basketball career” this after failing to find a taker in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Iverson had many disputes with coaches and officials around the league that affected his reputation one of the most notable being with Michael Jordan on December 21, 1996 when Jordan told Iverson, “If you don’t respect anybody else in this league. You have to respect us.” To what Iverson responded that, “He doesn’t have to respect anybody.”
It is obvious that Iverson still has a great deal of love for the city of Philadelphia by him wearing a Philadelphia baseball hat while traveling to Turkey. Perhaps Iverson took the NBA for granted when he kept bouncing from city to city starting with Denver and ending in Memphis before a brief three-game visit in Philadelphia. Iverson said that he can still play in the NBA again and hopes that this opportunity proves that as he wishes to get another chance to play in America next year. Should Iverson make the best out of this humbling learning experience and impress American scouts all over again it should become a very valuable life lesson to a very talented individual. The question posses what might have Iverson felt or thought playing in Denver, Detroit and Memphis where his presence was not as powerful as it was in Philadelphia when he reached the heights of MVP. Now, he finds himself trying to reemerge luckily for him he has the talent reclaim what he once possessed. All he needs is the determination and discipline to do so.
It is worth nothing that with 24,388 Iverson is 17th on the all-time NBA scoring list and was the 2001 NBA MVP. He was also the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1997 and a four-time scoring champion (1999, 2001, 2002 and 2005).