Memphis Grizzlies fans were thrilled, suddenly, after they made the signing of Allen Iverson out to the public. Iverson looked to make some changes around the team, and hoping to build a bigger fanbase for the team. Iverson looked like he could change this team from a failure, to a playoff contender.
At 34 years of age for the point guard, and listed at 6′1″ and 165 pounds, seriously, what could go wrong? Well, a lot actually. Training camp started here at Birmingham, Alabama as the Grizzlies were ready for the preseason, and the regular season following it as they were looking towards a big and successful year. But, apparently, something wrong occurred at practice.
It was reported to be something wrong with his hamstring. Iverson said it felt tight. It was, no doubt, that he strained his hamstring. When Iverson tried to fix them, like loosing them up as you might say, the legs pretty much said a plain "NO!" It happened during a scrimmage game as Iverson recalled that his hamstring sort of popped. Iverson did not respond well with the outcome.
"Frustrating, real frustrating," Iverson said.
It surely must be frustrating for sure. Just look, you’re a 34-year-old point guard coming off of pretty much the worst season of your career. You’re looking for a team to sign you and there are some, but then you say you have to start. Not so many, are there now? Then only three teams are rumored to have him and a rebuilding team offered him a deal. Iverson signs a deal and here you are, injured. Haven’t played in one preseason game yet. Not one. Nada. Zero.
Iverson has gone through so much in his career. I mean, a small guy like him getting fouled my guy’s two time’s bigger than him and he still manages to be on top and be the best. I mean, Iverson is one of the best basketball players ever lived. You’re talking about 27 points per game in your career and 19 points per game in a season as your worst season in your career. Now that is what you call impressive, real impressive.
When the Grizzlies announced his injury in front of the press, Iverson did his same old thing. No, not the "We talkin’ about pratice." Just slouching in his chair looking casual. Cool, just cool. But nobody comes towrads Iverson, and he doesn’t come towards them. In basktball, he’s the aggressive man. Like the saying goes: "Small but mighty," and A.I. sets a perfect example of that.
"You’ll never see Allen sit back and let things come to him," said Pat Croce, the former president and majority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. "He’s always been on the aggressive side."
When Johnny Davis was the 76ers head coach when A.I. was in his rookie season, he remembers him back in the winter and was very impressed with his skills. Now Davis is here, standing there as an assistant for the Grizzlies. When Davis saw Iverson running into all those defenders, especially those giantic power forwards and centers, Davis expected him to last, but not for very long.
"But to his credit, he just keeps going," Davis said. "He is a physical phenomenon."
Certainly, a reply to that quote would have to be in just three letters: Duh. It doesn’t matter what has been going on with Iverson. Injuries will be affecting him because of his age, but we won’t be seeing his talent declining like other NBA veterans who had, and slumped very low.
Iverson can do this. Nobody can stop him. Nobody can do what he has done. And that’s what makes him so special.