The Ballad of Allen Iverson

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The San Antonio Spurs capped off week 3 of the NBA campaign this Saturday with a convincing 116-93 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at home. Spurs quarterback Tony Parker paced the Spurs with 24 points and 7 assists, continuing his inspired play in this young season. San Antonio’s reluctant emcee was shadowed on the court by Sixers stalwart Jrue Holiday who contributed 16 points and 5 dimes of his own. Despite Holiday’s strong play and engaging personality, the absence of hoops/hip-hop icon Allen Iverson hung in the air.

It’s been over eight months since the 76ers waived AI who they drafted in 1996 with the #1 over-all pick. Iverson won the league MVP award and led his team to the NBA Finals in 2001, before succumbing to the Lakers and father time. After forgettable stops in Denver, Detroit, and Memphis, Iverson returned to the city of brotherly love last season to unknowingly close out his mercurial NBA career. He is slated to debut this week as a member of Besiktas in Istanbul, Turkey where he will wear the number 4.

Although hip-hop has been a part of basketball since the ABA days, Iverson was the first player to singularly embody the four elements and the baggage that sometimes comes with them. History may recall Iverson as “Tupac with a jump shot”, but for many he represented the heart that a little big man can bring to the game. In a league where something as arbitrary as an upside down headband is no longer allowed, perhaps AI is better suited for Turkey where at least $4 million awaits.

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