Casual basketball fans might have already thought that Allen Iverson stepped away from basketball and that they just missed the press conference. But Iverson, 38, never made his retirement official. Instead, reports over the years were always about him trying to get a spot on a roster both overseas and in the U.S.
Only now, according to Slam, Iverson is ready to throw in his towel.
Allen Iverson is prepared to officially announce his retirement from the NBA in the coming days, a source close to the native of Virginia told SLAM.
Iverson, 38, played his last professional basketball in Turkey in 2011. Before that, he appeared in his final NBA game, as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, in 2010.
When he last spoke publicly, at a Sixers game on March 30, Iverson answered a question about continuing his career by saying, "My No. 1 goal is trying to accomplish to be the best dad that I can. And if basketball is in my near future, then God will make that happen. But if not, I had a great ride and I've done a lot of special things that a lot of guys have not been able to accomplish and people thought I couldn't accomplish."
Included amongst those accomplishments are: 13-year career averages of 41.1 mpg, 26.7 ppg, 6.2 apg and 2.2 spg; 71-game Playoff averages 45.1 mpg, 29.7 ppg, 6.0 apg and 2.1 spg. He also won one regular season MVP award, four scoring titles and was named an All-Star 11 times. Maybe most impressive of all, omitting the obvious impact that he had on the culture off-court, was the resilience that the 6-0 guard showed in driving into the lane, into men a foot taller than him, time and time again.
The off-court cultural impact of Iverson cannot be ignored. The sleeves of tattoos, the do-rags over the cornrows — things like these are what made Iverson the anti-Jordan outside of basketball, the kind of guy parents didn't want their kids being like. His image alone was so controversial, one could say that Iverson was the impetus for the NBA commissioner implementing a dress code for players. And his most notable speech wasn't one about encouragement or perseverance but about how unnecessary it was for him to practice.
Read more at Slam.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.