Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Allen Iverson Should Hang It Up!

Where in the world is AI?

It looks like the Allen Iverson-Memphis Grizzlies experiment has fallen apart even before it started. Iverson, a 4-time NBA scoring champ and future Hall of Famer, has seen his career take a steep downward spiral over the last couple of seasons.

His latest escapade is an abrupt leave of absence from the Grizzlies. But AI's demise began last season--

First, there was the now-infamous trade when Iverson was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups. That turned out to be a nightmare for the Pistons and a blessing for the Nuggets. With Iverson, the Pistons lost their way and faded into obscurity-- and with Billups, Denver became a championship contender, making it all the way to the Western Conference finals as the No. 2 seed. Many consider it the worst move of Piston's general manager Joe Dumars tenure and a decision that will haunt him for a long time.

After the debacle, the Pistons wanted no part of Iverson. So with nowhere else to go, AI signed with the lowly Grizzlies in the off-season, giving Grizzlies' fans at least something to be excited about. But it looks like a disgruntled Iverson isn't too happy about coming off the bench and rumor has it he's contemplating retiring. I'm sure the last thing AI expected was to be playing the bench for one of the worst teams in the NBA.

So last weekend Iverson took an extended leave of absence for personal reasons. Hmmm? I wonder what that means? Personal reasons?

Neither, Memphis owner Michael Heisley or coach Lionel Hollins were willing to give specifics about Iverson's abrupt departure-- but neither one is expecting him back any time soon.

Somehow I get the feeling that Iverson's pride is playing a role in this fiasco. I'm sure for a player of Iverson's elite status (or at least in his mind he still considers himself part of the elite) to be relegated to playing the bench for the Grizzlies (1-6) is a major bruise to his ego. I mean, that's about as low as you can go in the NBA and Iverson has been barking about it, big time .

Personally, I think Iverson has overextended his welcome. Either he accepts the role of coming off the bench or he should just retire. There's no way Memphis can take minutes away from their young guards, O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley and give them to Iverson just to satisfy his ego.

In my opinion, this is what this MIA stunt is all about. The personal business he's taking care of is nursing his bruised ego.

So my message to AI is-- if you can't be humble about it and accept coming off the bench, then just hang it up. Your days of being referred to as "The Answer" are over-- now you're more like, The Question Mark.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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