At the risk of turning a future column into a current blog (and that still might happen), here’s this:
Yes, the initial reaction is probably, “Allen Iverson isn’t retired?”
No, he’s not, yet.
But it’s coming, and that got my basketball brain spinning. See, for the better part of 15 years, Iverson was my basketball guy.
We all have one, hopefully, and Iverson was mine. He fit all of the criteria for what I look for in my basketball guy: Limitless scorer, seemingly limitless highlights, the knack for doing something memorable (good or bad) on any given night.
And it just so happened he is tiny, relative to NBA standards, which was fascinating to me.
Here, I’ll say it: Allen Iverson is the favorite athlete of my lifetime. This isn’t a ranking of the best players in that time. That’s a different list. I mean this absolutely and only in a basketball-as-entertainment sense, with all other life factors removed. Georgetown Iverson was my favorite college player of the past 20 years, and 2001 Iverson provided the most memorable individual NBA season of the past 20 years. To me, anyway, and I know the majority won’t agree.
Kids in the crowd might not remember Iverson at Georgetown. It was spectacular.
Kids in the crowd might not remember his MVP season in ’01. It was spectacular.
It’s an odd way to define a superstar, but it’s a method I sometimes use:
If this guy is on TV, am I dropping everything and watching the game?
With Iverson in his goosebump-inducing prime, it was always an easy decision.
I wasn’t in Colorado during Iverson’s time with the Nuggets, so I don’t have the first-hand experience of working with Iverson as a member of the media. The stories I’m told don’t paint a favorable impression. That stinks.
If the past six months in Colorado sports have told us anything, it’s that professional athletes force us to draw a clear line on the playing field. Respect their athletic abilities. But don’t put them on a pedestal as humans.
Purely in a basketball sense, no other player captured my attention like Iverson did.