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Allen Iverson, controversial Big3’s coach

In your personal opinion, which figures in NBA were synonyms for controversy? Maybe Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, or Magic Johnson? Without a doubt, they all left a big mark in the most popular national league on the plane with their unique individual style on and off the court.

However, one guy simply caught attention whenever he could in the late 90s and whole 00s. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about Allen Iverson, former Philadelphia’s point guard. Nobody was indifferent to his speed, technique, and assists during 15 years of professional career. Let’s see what kind of journey he had.

Retiring from NBA without a title caused a feeling of disappointment and sadness in Iverson’s heart. Winning Award for the most valuable player was only consolation for missing a chance to be in the best team in the league.

In which team did Allen spend his college career?

Following three successful years spent in Bethel High School, Iverson was offered a complete scholarship by coach John Thompson to become a member of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team.

In his first season, Allen received the award for Big East Rookie of the Year leading his team to the Top 16 round of NCAA competition. Subsequently, he ended his college career as best- ever scorer of the Hoyas with scored 22.9 points per game.

Allen Iverson got an award for Best East Defensive Player of the Year in both campaigns.

Where did Iverson begin his professional NBA career?

Selected as 1st overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, Iverson was facing with massive expectations from the supporters and club.

Iverson was gradually improving his form in this clubs’ jersey. The peak of his potential wild supporters could see in 2000/2001 when he averaged 31.1 points per game leading his teammates to an NBA final. After all, losing to mighty La Lakers in Final Series didn’t take MVP from Allen.

Finally, the bad team’s results in 2006/2007 caused his bad mood which made him look for a team.

What was the next station in Iverson’s playing road?

Ending his tenure with Philadelphia as the team’s best scorer per game in history highly recommended him to other NBA franchises.

Denver, Colorado’s team, was fastest and brought this point guard in a giant trade between two teams. Scoring 24.8 points per game contributed largely to the 96ers reaching a playoff where they were eliminated in the first phase against San Antonio.

Iverson’s personal numbers rose to 26.4 points per game in 2007/2008, but the Nuggets were again stopped in the first round of Play off versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

Which team did Allen choose after his tenure with Denver?

In the middle of the 2008/2009 season, Allen was sent to Detroit Pistons in exchange for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess, and Cheikh Samb.

Iverson’s impressive first couple of games in Detroit’s jersey were kind of forgotten fast when Rodney Stuckey replaced him in the roster. Our hero’s feeling of disappointment was rising as he was not important in the coach’s plans. His short spell in the team from Michigan ended in that season with ex-Denver’s point guard averaging 17.4 points.

Eventually, the former Philadelphia 96ers shooting guard was again forced in his career to find a new employer.

What was the next challenge for an experienced point guard?

Parting ways with Detroit was not something Iverson was pleased with, so this shooting guard had mild expectations regarding the new team.

Memphis Grizzlies hired him on a contract for one year on September 10, 2009. Unfortunately, the coaching staff of the Grizzlies saw Allen Iverson as a bench player which made him very nervous and dissatisfied. As a consequence of Iverson’s disappointment, the former college star left the squad due to “personal issues” on November 7, 2009.

Throughout three games played for Memphis, the controversial player averaged 12.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 22.3 minutes per fixture.

What did his return to Philadelphia look like?

After starting Philadelphia’s guard suffered an injury during the 2009/2010 season, this team decided to look for a substitution. The choice was an experienced star whom everyone thought could be serious reinforcement. Subsequently, Allen scored the highest number of points in that season in a defeat against La Lakers – 23.

Iverson’s 4-years-old daughter became ill, so the player left the club to be with her in those hard days. Finally, the general manager announced that the famous point guard will be absent until the end of the season due to personal reasons. Allen Iverson averaged 13. 9 points throughout 25 games in his second tenure with the 96ers.

Where did Iverson end his career?

In the autumn of 2010, Allen and the Turkish side Besiktas made a deal which supposed to last two years. The team from Istanbul had high ambitions before that season as they competed in Europe Cup, the second biggest European club competition. Debut Iverson’s appearance in the team in a loss against Serbian side Hemofarm turned out to be good as he finished the game with 15 points.

However, a calf injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Ten games for the Turkish giant was the last thing the great legend had to offer to the basketball audience.

How successful he was in the national team?

Being a member of a USA’s team that participated in the qualifying tournament for the 2004 Olympic Games was a massive honor for Allen.

His national squad qualified for the biggest sports event on the planet which USA’s guys are especially motivated for. Iverson’s contribution with points, steals, and assists was obvious, so his expectations from the Olympic tournament became bigger.

Unfortunately, the USA struggled during that competition suffering two defeats from Lithuania and Puerto Rico. Argentina was fatal for Iverson and his teammates in the semifinal, so the USA got a bronze medal winning against Lithuania in a game for third place.

What was his experience like in Big3?

After retirement in Turkey, Allen Iverson came back to the main stage by getting a coach-player role in the debut season of Big3, Ice Cube’s and Jeff Quatinetz’s project. 

Afterwards,  he oriented only to coaching in team 3’s Company. He got to work with players DerMarr JohnsonAndre OwensMichael Sweetney, and Ruben Patterson aiming to win the title in the inaugural Fireball campaign.

However, 3’s Company ended the regular part of the season with a 3-5 score in 5th place not qualifying for the Playoffs.

What were Iverson’s flaws and virtues on the court?

One of the biggest Iverson’s virtues on the court was putting his heart and soul into the games which he played even injuredSolid shooting percentages and nice moves during dribbling were things Allen was especially good and because of that audience loved him so much.

Common clashes with referees over their decisions were a matter that was considered as the biggest Allen’s flaw. His rebel personality outside court often stood in his way to success. Iverson was often caught in possession of marijuana and got into trouble at casino’s which worsened his reputation as a basketball player.

Later, Allen Iverson tried his luck in a Big3, game where players shoot on one rim. The initial plan to coach and play for 3’s Company at the same time was changed soon. Iverson’s leading players from the bench were exciting to see for any neutral spectator, but he didn’t win the trophy.  

Allen’s sudden departure from Fireball was shocking and he missed winning a trophy even in this league. Is he going to achieve that result one day? Share with us your insights.

About the author

Marjan Nikolic

Passionate sports guy, coming from the eastern Europe where best basketball is played (yeah, I know you will not agree!). Dynamic 3x3 basket has special place in my heart.

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