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A.I. IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED SPORTS FIGURES OF OUR LIFETIME. THE AVERAGE MAN'S PLAYER. THEY GUY WHO DOESN'T BACK DOWN, BUT HAS MADE PLENTY OF BAD DECISIONS. READ THIS....LET YOUR SON'S READ IT AS WELL
One of my favorite proverbs that I’ve heard successful sports figures like Coach
K at Duke and Pat Riley of the Miami Heat use is, “you’re judged by the
company you keep.”
This phrase came to mind yesterday as I read a fascinating, yet tragic tale
of where Allen Iverson is at in his life right now. Iverson is essentially broke, having blown $150 million he earned via several NBA contracts. Iverson is a pretty serious alcoholic, a recluse from society and a deadbeat father to
his kids. This got me asking the most logical question: how did this
Allen Iverson grew up in a pretty rough and tough part of Hampton, Virginia. After a few seasons at Georgetown University, he went on to have a hall of fame
type of career in the NBA. Throughout his NBA career, no other player in the NBA stayed true to his roots than Iverson. His image didn’t change. His
swagger stayed the same. Dress code? No thanks. Clean, conservative haircut? Not his style. Iverson became a stylistic icon to kids all across the country.
Long shorts, one armed sleeve, tattoos, and dare I say, a disdain towards
“practice.” “We talkin’ bout practice?! I’m the MVP!”
So how did a guy so revered by so many hit rock bottom so fast? I would first take a look at who was in Iverson’s social circle during his time in the
NBA. What value did they add by being in his life? Iverson was notorious for being too generous with his friends. It’s not easy to blow through $150 million
dollars; unless you are surrounded by people that are sucking you dry of cash,
cars, gifts and trips.
Flash forward to life after basketball. Iverson spends much of his time floating around various bars and clubs in Atlanta. I’ve seen him hanging out in
Buckhead at a hotel bar (Shula’s 357 inside the Marriott) drunk, in extra long basketball shorts and a white tee. Keep in mind he’s 37 years old not 22 anymore. Sadly, his life is spiraling out of control. His circle of friends
never evolved and its clear Iverson has no older, mature figure-head in his life to provide a voice of reason….well at least none that he will listen to. That’s
what is so frustrating.
It doesn’t have to be this way for Iverson. This is a young man that was Coached by guys like John Thompson, Larry Brown and George Karl. Three men that
would gladly offer to be a father-figure to Iverson or at the very least be a voice on the other end of a phone call to provide stability, advice, and genuine
concern. Brown and Thompson have expressed concern for Iverson’s current lifestyle. As Coach Brown said in a recent article in the Washington Post,
“he deserves a better ending than he’s getting.”
“Deserves” seems a bit strong. Allen Iverson created this mess. Only he can change how things will end for him. It’s not too late. When he turns 55 he is
owed $30 million from Reebok (of which half will go to his ex-wife and mother of his kids). He’s 37 years old today. That money is still 18 years away. Can he
survive until then? I believe he can, but it all starts with the man in the mirror and then changing the company he keeps.
The Washington Post article on Iverson’s struggle with life after
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