I enjoy reading Jason Whitlock as much as any writer alive. Definitely more thought provoking than the 25 Dora the Explorer books I have to read my daughter every night. I may not agree with everything he says in his columns, but I always respect his point of view. I agree with the majority of his sentiments in his most recent column on Allen Iverson.
I probably saw 85% of AI’s games while he was with the Sixers on Direct TV. That’s the initial reason I got Direct TV back in 1997. Iverson was maddening to watch. He played so hard on every possession, but very rarely played smart. He talked about playing every game like it was his last and his willingness to do anything to win. Unfortunately as a lifelong Sixers fan, that anything didn’t include taking good shots, making his teammates better, playing straight up defense instead of consistently gambling, or working hard in practice. I used to think it was the talent around Iverson, but then they added players like Joe Smith (when he was still good in Golden State),Toni Kukoc, Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson, and Chris Webber and Iverson didn’t adapt his game one bit. It’s sad, but Iverson has become like Stephon Marburyin that the teams he leaves all improve after he’s gone.
Jason Whitlock joined Angelo Cataldi on WIP in Phillyto talk about his Fox Sports column on Iverson.
“Allen Iverson just quit on the whole city of Detroit. Quit on Joe Dumars and Michael Curry. Quit on his teammates. If you know anything about Detroit, it’s definitely chocolate city. Allen Iverson is supposed to be the ultimate black athlete, hip-hop athlete of that generation and this guy quit on everybody. He quit on a hip-hop city, quit on a black general manager and basketball coach…and basically an all black team because he didn’t like his role. I’ve always been impressed with Allen Iverson’s talent and always disappointed with his attitude and desire to actually maximize his talent. I think what happened in Detroit is a clear picture of just who Allen Iverson is.”
“I think he believes it at the time, he just can’t execute it. He’s surrounded by so many yes man (I would imagine, I’m speculating)…most of these high profile entertainers, athletes…they get their butts kissed so much it’s hard for them to discover the truth.”
“Being a young kid getting the kind of money he did, I think it hurts your evolution. That’s why I ‘ve always compared these pro athletes, particularly in the last 20 years, that get so much money at a young age…it’s like being a child actor, that’s why so many of them have problems. You’re not meant emotionally, mentally, intellectually to get so much money and so much fame so early.”
You wrote this as kind of his obituary, will we look back and see him as one of the most selfish players ever:
“I think without question. He’s going to be right there with Barkley, Stockton, and Malone…one of the all-time great players that never won a championship, but I think he’s different than those guys. Allen Iverson tried to score a lot of points and keep his street cred high…winning, third or fourth on his list.”