Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Full Court Treatment

I digress….

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the process of giving Allen Iverson a full-court treatment worthy of the former Soviet Union: to wit, erasing him from the history books and sending him out into the Gulag where he will become a non-person. Of course they cannot really expunge eleven years of hogging the ball just like that so they are doing the next best thing: barring Iverson from the arena (for both games and practice), clearing out his belongings from the locker room, removing his name plate from the stall he used to call home and, get this, re-editing the team video to remove his presence from the highlight reel. Man, that has got to be one short highlight reel now, eh?

The whole sorry affair is really GM Billy King’s fault but as long as Ed Snider owns the 76ers we can expect King to escape the same fate that has befallen his former franchise player. Remember, Snider is slow, painfully slow, to pull the trigger on executives he’s hired no matter how lousy they are at the job. See Bob Clarke for details. In King’s case it can hardly be said he has endeared himself to his boss the way Clarke did.

What Iverson’s imminent departure means is that there is a serious vacuum for future pretenders to the sports medal stand in this town. Indeed, by my reckoning, things stack up like this: Ryan Howard currently wears the gold; Chase Utley the silver; and Brian Dawkins the bronze. No one else is even entered in the race.


George S said...

I have to wonder about Iverson and the advice he gets (and apparently follows) regarding his image. This is advice from his friends, agents and endorsement partners.

Think about it: a sneaker commercial where Iverson has to tell people he is NOT a hood, a gangster or a thug. This is a league MVP we're talking about. And he has to say that?

Instead of helping him grow and mature commensurate with his wealth and stature in the sports community, they instead reinforced the warped view of society that he formed in his youth.

That view carried over into his relationships with coaches and authority in general, until we arrive at the inevitable result: a fed up franchise, a loser label and a public that's just bored with it all.

I feel badly about it because I always thought that Alan Iverson was deep down a very kind and decent person, someone who actually might have wanted to live a 'conventional' life with his wife and kids. But he could never cut the ties with friends that played him false, and he could never build trust in those who wanted to help him.

It's no coincidence that the Iversons and Marburys of the NBA are perrenial losers, while the Duncans, Bryants and LeBrons take home the hardware. You think someday they would figure that out, but they just never do.

Tom Goodman said...

Well said, George. I, too, cannot help think Iverson has wanted to escape the image he came with but hasn't been able to. Maybe that is just the wishful thinking of a middle-aged white man.

kuff6 said...

George S:

Are you really holding up Kobe Bryant as an exemplar of all that is good in the NBA? The petulent, back-stabbing, and, lest we forget (as the media certainly appears to have) concierge-raping Kobe Bryant?

Also, can you please let me know what hardware it is that LeBron has taken home?

Not that I necessarily disagree with your main point about Iverson, you just really need to come up with better examples, and I am sickened that Kobe continues to get a free pass from seemingly everybody.