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Iverson needs more than a prayer

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Posted on Sun, Mar. 7, 2010

Iverson needs more than a prayer

By Stephen A. Smith

Inquirer Sports Columnist

His closest confidant asked the basketball world to pray for Allen Iverson, as if no one has all these years while seeing this train wreck coming.

He acted as if the former 76ers star hadn't needed a significant dose of prayer, luck, and divine intervention until now.

And as the rest of us are forced to bear witness to a disintegration, the rapid decline of a career clearly lacking nurturing, the time has arrived for Iverson's inner circle to stand up and be counted, to provide some semblance of tough love - by any means necessary.

Unless those people are willing to write his epitaph instead.

Just listening to Gary Moore, Iverson's business manager and the person he trusts most, they may be doing so very soon.

Allen Iverson is in trouble, folks, deep trouble. The combination of alcohol and gambling - and a once-promising career in tatters because of the first two - won't culminate in anything short of disaster if help does not arrive in short order.

If numerous NBA sources are telling the truth - and there's no reason to believe they'd do otherwise in a situation of this magnitude - Iverson will either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away.

Moore, ever the protector, would never admit as much, of course. But that's part of the problem, isn't it?

Iverson's wife, Tawanna, having hired some high-powered Atlanta attorney and filed for a divorce last week, does not help matters. Nor does it help that she's already separated from her husband, with custody of their five kids and seeking both alimony and child support.

When you consider Iverson's well-known penchant for alcohol and his banishment from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, if disgust and sadness don't come to mind, at least one question does:

Where is Pat Croce when you need him? Or Iverson's coach at Georgetown, John Thompson?

Where is the person with the ideal combination of compassion and toughness who would shelter Iverson at the same time he's holding his feet to the flames? Someone whose vested interest is in Iverson's well-being, someone who doesn't need his money or cachet?

In other words, someone he does not have in his camp right now. Or someone who has an impact, and needs to utilize it.

"I think there's one guy, and his name is John Thompson," said former Temple basketball coach John Chaney, noted for saving souls as much as winning basketball games throughout his illustrious career. "John is the one guy who'll have a chance of slowing this train wreck down, who could wrap his arms around Iverson and have an impact, because clearly it has not been done. But there's still this one question: Will [iverson] listen?

"See, too many of our athletes give lip service when someone is trying to help them. And as soon as you leave them, they find themselves dealing with self-preservation and denial. It's an athlete's biggest problem to overcome.

"When you were young and vital, there were a lot of hit songs on that side of the record," Chaney said. "With Iverson, there are no more hit songs on that side of the record. You've got to accept the fact that you've danced and boogied. Now that they've flipped it over and ain't nobody dancing anymore, it's over!

"The ball is deflated. So now you have to find another life for yourself."

Iverson's NBA life may be over, but he and the folks he keeps close to him don't seem to realize it.

Take the more than $200 million he has earned in his career, subtract Uncle Sam's take, alimony, child support for five kids, and no millions forthcoming, then ask yourself what the 6-foot guard has left.

With his lifestyle, his mistakes, his lack of preparation for a life beyond the glory.

Talk to anyone remotely associated with Iverson and they can't deny that he is ill-prepared for a post-basketball career. His cohorts still look to him as that mercurial box-office star who won four scoring titles and a league MVP award, not as someone who simply dreams about those days right now.

The one advantage Iverson acknowledged having all of these years was a wife about whom he publicly said, "I'd die for her. . . . I'd die without her." Now, she essentially has said, "Go right ahead."

No wonder Moore said, "Pray."

This is Iverson we're talking about. What else is there to do? Especially if he is forced to stand alone?

are we shocked??

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Sad, sad story. He has done a lot of good for people which is not always reported in the media but he has done a whole lot to tarnish his own image by being immature in so many ways. The media portraying him as a thug because he was one of the first to have so many tattoos and cornrows was unfair..but his actions and statements off the court only contributed to their pre conceived notions.

In the end, every man is accountable for himself. I just hate to see someone who has so much influence and power blow it all on gambling, alcohol and pride. AI was like Jordan to a generation of young hoops fans (even though their on court play is nothing alike). He had swagger, heart, passion, drive, energy, the flashyness..and revolutionized the image of the NBA. But instead of maturing and growing he remained the same young kid off the streets who could not maintain composure and find his way into being a responsible adult.

Everyone has good and bad, and I wouldn't label AI a horrible human being..but the bad has certainly overshadowed the good he has done.

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Sad, sad story. He has done a lot of good for people which is not always reported in the media but he has done a whole lot to tarnish his own image by being immature in so many ways. The media portraying him as a thug because he was one of the first to have so many tattoos and cornrows was unfair..but his actions and statements off the court only contributed to their pre conceived notions.

In the end, every man is accountable for himself. I just hate to see someone who has so much influence and power blow it all on gambling, alcohol and pride. AI was like Jordan to a generation of young hoops fans (even though their on court play is nothing alike). He had swagger, heart, passion, drive, energy, the flashyness..and revolutionized the image of the NBA. But instead of maturing and growing he remained the same young kid off the streets who could not maintain composure and find his way into being a responsible adult.

Everyone has good and bad, and I wouldn't label AI a horrible human being..but the bad has certainly overshadowed the good he has done.

Maybe starting a riot in a bowling alley had something to do with the thug image.

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Maybe starting a riot in a bowling alley had something to do with the thug image.

He was 17 years old. The conviction was overturned due to insufficient evidence.

17 year olds often do stupid things...I don't think it is fair to hold that over someone's head forever.

Edited by DetroitCity313

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Maybe starting a riot in a bowling alley had something to do with the thug image.

I mean haven't we all been banned from two casino's..and remember this..Iverson is known to be a terrible gambler..yet they still banned him.

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He was 17 years old. The conviction was overturned due to insufficient evidence.

17 year olds often do stupid things...I don't think it is fair to hold that over someone's head forever.

Life isn't fair.

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I mean haven't we all been banned from two casino's..and remember this..Iverson is known to be a terrible gambler..yet they still banned him.

Well, they banned him for his tattoos.

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Domestic dispute has NBA star Allen Iverson facing multiple charges, arrest in Philadelphia | Jet | Find Articles at BNET

Domestic dispute has NBA star Allen Iverson facing multiple charges, arrest in Philadelphia

Basketball All-Star, MVP and scoring champion Allen Iverson, once dubbed "The Answer," now needs a few good ones for Philadelphia police concerning a recent domestic dispute with his wife which led to authorities filing 14 criminal charges, including four felonies, against him.

Iverson, 27, is facing court time after he and uncle Gregory Iverson allegedly barged into the West Philly apartment of his cousin, Shaun Bowman, and his roommate, Charles Jones, in the middle of the night on July 3. Police say the NBA's high scorer and 2001 MVP was hunting for his wife, Tawanna, who had been in hiding for two days--allegedly after he tossed her out on the street, naked, following a two-day argument.

At JET press time Iverson, a Virginia native, was charged with felony and misdemeanor charges: aggravated and simple assault, reckless endangering of other people, conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime, weapons violations, burglary, and criminal trespass, police said. Iverson does not have a permit to carry a gun. If convicted of all charges, he faces over 50 years in prison.

Gregory Iverson faces similar charges in the incident. He also faces multiple charges, including three felony counts.

Police confined the basketball bad boy to his 8,100-square-foot mansion in Gladwyne, PA. Before his imminent arrest, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said police would arrest Iverson if seen "on the street or out partying."

So the 1996 No. 1 draft pick and rookie of the year who led his team to the NBA Finals a year ago threw a lavish all-night weekend party at his home.

I don't know why people think he is a thug.

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17 year olds often do stupid things...I don't think it is fair to hold that over someone's head forever.

I'll easily agree that kids do dumb things, but nobody should get a pass on something just because they did it when they were young.

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Was this before or after he was already labeled a thug? I am not making excuses for the guy, that is some disgusting behavior and I don't respect the guy but I am saying people took one look at him and considered him a thug before knowing any of this.

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I'll easily agree that kids do dumb things, but nobody should get a pass on something just because they did it when they were young.

True but most people I know have gotten into at least one fight before turning 18. While they shouldn't get a pass, understanding you shouldn't judge the person on what they do at that age isn't fair.

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Was this before or after he was already labeled a thug? I am not making excuses for the guy, that is some disgusting behavior and I don't respect the guy but I am saying people took one look at him and considered him a thug before knowing any of this.

The first thing you heard about AI was the riot and chair throwing incident. I doubt most people even heard of the guy before that happened since he was still in high school. That was a national story.

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The first thing you heard about AI was the riot and chair throwing incident. I doubt most people even heard of the guy before that happened since he was still in high school. That was a national story.

And I am saying it is not fair to label a 17 yr old kid a thug based on a "riot", especially when he was not convicted.

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The first thing you heard about AI was the riot and chair throwing incident. I doubt most people even heard of the guy before that happened since he was still in high school. That was a national story.

Around that area he was famous already and on his way to a big deal Division One ride. That kind of kid can get breaks that Joe Average will not. Indiscretions can be minimized or eliminated.

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well, if he's blown all his basketball and endorsement millions, he can still live comfortably off the royalties from his rap album...

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well, if he's blown all his basketball and endorsement millions, he can still live comfortably off the royalties from his rap album...

More than anything, I pray he had a decent amount of deferred money..otherwise he's Mike Tyson II

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Report: Allen Iverson facing alcohol, gambling problems - ESPN

Multiple NBA sources say Allen Iverson is facing alcohol and gambling issues that have derailed his career and threaten his post-basketball well-being, Stephen A. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports in a column published Monday.

Allen Iverson played only 25 games for the 76ers before stepping away for the season.

According to multiple NBA sources, there is widespread concern that the four-time NBA scoring champion, who left the Philadelphia 76ers in February to deal with his daughter's illness and will not return this season, "will either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away," Smith reported.

Iverson's gambling problem is serious enough that he has been banished from casinos in Detroit and Atlantic City, N.J., according to Smith.

The report comes as Iverson is dealing with significant personal problems.

Iverson's wife Tawana filed for divorce on March 4, the same day the Philadelphia 76ers announced that the All-Star guard would not return for the rest of the season. In the divorce filing, made at Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Tawana Iverson said the couple's 8½-year marriage is "irretrievably broken" and sought full custody of the family's five children, child support and alimony.

Iverson, who played 25 games for the Sixers this season, returned to Atlanta in February to be with his family and deal with an undisclosed illness affecting his 4-year-old daughter, Messiah.

Smith, who has covered Iverson closely for years, wrote in Monday's column that Iverson needs someone with "the ideal combination of compassion and toughness" in his life. And former Temple coach John Chaney said that person is John Thompson, Iverson's former college coach at Georgetown.

"[Thompson] is the one guy who'll have a chance of slowing this train wreck down, who could wrap his arms around Iverson and have an impact, because clearly it has not been done," Chaney said, according to Smith. "But there's still this one question: Will [iverson] listen?"

Iverson started the season with the Memphis Grizzlies but only played three games, amid disagreements over playing time, before announcing a short-lived retirement. He signed the 76ers as a free agent in December, making a tearful return to the city where he spent his first 10½ seasons, won four scoring titles, earned the 2000-01 MVP award and led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals.

Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2006 and played for the Nuggets through 2008, when he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons.

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Not surprising. I used to see him down at Greektown Casino quite frequently when he played here. Watched him lost about 50 grand in about 15-20 minutes.

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John "disposable players" Thompson is probably not who I would choose to help. If Iverson can't help him anymore, I don't think he cares too much. I'm also not real happy about Stephen A Smith blathering about this publically, Smith's career is pretty much built on his supposed close relationship with Iverson. Seems to me he's selling Iverson down the river with this and was never really much of a friend to Iverson, yet another betrayal.

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Can we stop using Thugs as a euphemism for the N-word in society? It's so obvious what the connotation is, just say what you're thinking. No one is fooled by it.

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Can we stop using Thugs as a euphemism for the N-word in society? It's so obvious what the connotation is, just say what you're thinking. No one is fooled by it.

A thug is a violent person, usually a criminal. Other substitute words include gangster, hoodlum, villain, and goon (among others).

In what way is it a euphemism for an unspeakable derogatory word?

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Allen Iverson On Twitter: 'I Am Going Through Very Rough Times'

To my fans: You all know that my life isn't perfect. I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure that we all do from time to time. However, I will stand tall like always with "rhino" thick skin. Even though I have become used to hearing people say things about me that aren't true, it still hurts. I encourage you to continue your ongoing support and I want you to trust that this is another obstacle in my life that, with God's help I will overcome. God Bless You All.

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