Allen Iverson reportedly passed up an opportunity to play for the Dallas Mavericks D-League team, the Texas Legends, because he remains committed to making a comeback in the NBA — preferably with the team he dearly loves.
The 2001 NBA MVP thanked Legends co-owner Donnie Nelson on his Twitter account for the offer: ”I thank Donnie and Dallas for the consideration,” Iverson wrote, ”And while I think the D-League is a great opportunity, it is not the route for me.”
Gary Moore, Iverson’s manager, confirmed the decision with The Associated Press. According to AP, Moore was in Philadelphia visiting with Sixers owner Josh Harris and CEO Adam Aron about reconnecting Iverson with the 76ers. Moore said there are no immediate plans for the 37-year-old Iverson to retire.
”Once he does do that, I want to ensure that Josh Harris and Adam Aron know how much Allen appreciates what Philadelphia has meant to him, what the NBA has meant to him,” Moore told AP, ”And to someday, come back and be a consultant to them, to help them do certain things.”
Iverson, who led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA finals but lost 4-1 to the L.A. Lakers, is arguably one of Philly’s all-time great players alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, and Charles Barkley. Iverson is the franchise leader in 40-point games (76), 3-pointers (885), and is second behind Hal Greer in points (19,931). He had two stints with the Sixers and last played for them in 2009-10.
Iverson earned a roaring standing ovation when he presented the game ball before Philadelphia’s Game 6 win over Boston in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. He watched the game from a suite and his eyes watered up when he was shown later in the game on the big screen as the crowd, thousands wearing No. 3 jerseys, went wild and chanted, ”MVP!” Iverson later posted on Twitter, ”You can always come home again!!!”
Iverson was the No. 1 overall pick in 1996, but has not played in the NBA since abruptly leaving the Sixers in March 2010 to deal with a sick daughter. He had a brief stop with a professional team in Turkey and has played exhibition games in China.
He believes it was more than the three years of NBA inactivity that has kept him from making a comeback. He blamed his behavior, which has included everything from coaching clashes to his infamous ”Practice!” rant, for making teams shy about offering him a final chance.
”I realize my actions contributed to my early departure from the NBA,” he wrote on Twitter. ”Should God provide me another opportunity I will give it my all. My dream has always been to complete my legacy in the NBA.”
Should the Sixer pass up on Iverson, one team could emerge a contender for his services: the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics recently lost All-Star point Rajon Rondo to a season-ending ACL injury and could use a boost in their backcourt. Even at 37, Iverson can still play. He may not be as explosive as he was when he was in his 20s but he can still put the ball in the basket and remains one of basketball’s biggest draws.
Iverson fills Boston’s biggest need: scoring. Iverson who spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia before bouncing through Denver, Detroit, and Memphis, is a four-time scoring champion and owns a career average of 26.7. The one thing that has eluded Iverson in his pro career is a NBA championship, and he would love one last shot at winning a ring.