Allen Iverson: Fallen Star

With his NBA career over, his marriage in trouble, and rumors swirling about drinking and money problems, the greatest Sixer of his era finds himself playing minor-league basketball in Turkey and spending his nights at a T.G.I. Friday’s in Istanbul. Isn’t it, weirdly, exactly how we always thought it would end for Allen Iverson?

 

“You find out when dealing with people that doesn’t have nowhere near as much money as you,” Iverson says, “that a lot of people who don’t have that money and can’t fathom it, would never understand. If I had that much to lose and I know it, then it’s not a problem for me.”

How about drinking? “Everybody I know, damn near, drinks. How is it a problem for me? I don’t remember getting any DUIs or going to jail for getting drunk in public.” Iverson laughs, because, really, are we talking about drinking? “I’ve never been reprimanded or anything, with any team or anything like that, because of any drinking.”

In late 2009, he tried to resume his NBA career in Memphis. Just as the season was starting, the team was practicing in L.A., and coach Lionel Hollins cleared the gym of onlookers so he could address his players. And then he lit into Iverson for caring only about himself — the player famous for playing his heart out, admonished for not giving enough. Iverson was out of there after the next game. He signed back here, and played 25 games with the Sixers. But he’d not only lost a step; worse, his mind was no longer in the game, and that had always been one of his gifts: using the gym to escape from his life.

Iverson’s daughter Messiah was sick. There was another, even graver problem: Tawanna had filed for divorce.

They have been together, Iverson says, for more than half his life. An old family friend from Hampton, who has known him since he was eight years old, understands what Tawanna saw in him before he had two nickels to rub together: “She was a sweet girl — she didn’t know anything of the streets. Bubbachuck was an athlete, a humble sweet little kid, and she saw an innocent boy who was gifted and had nothing but wanted something. She saw that, and fell in love with that dream. It’s a hell of a love story. And she didn’t leave the dream — she kept dreamin’, like Hollywood. Some dreams happen, some don’t. She kept dreamin’ one day, somehow, Allen would be the innocent boy she met when she was very young.”

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  • Christopher

    You say Friday’s like you’re surprised. It’s no secret Friday’s & Houlihan’s were always his favorites in Philly.

  • Christopher

    Missed the page where Friday’s & Houlihan’s were mentioned. Sorry!

  • Steve

    He made $200 million and has to play in Turkey? That’s just idiocy – dumb- stupid – screwed up — and it appears he will be forever. I hope you never publish another Iverson story. Glad I would not let my child wear his jersey.

  • a

    No clue why you are bashing him for playing in Turkey. Turkey is a very nice and friendly city. The purpose of him playing is not cause he is broke but because he wants still to play and for a place that wants him. It’s a smart move on his part.

  • Kid

    This loser has gone from “The Answer” to “The Turkey”

  • Emre

    My american friends, even you don’t know the rest of the world, you still comment about it. Do you know that Turkey played for gold medal vs USA in the World Cup? If you do, you wouldn’t be sarcastic about this beautiful country or its basketball quality. I know that NBA is the best and we watch almost every game of Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur. But sadly, you don’t even know them, right? Iverson is playing in Istanbul cause we love this game and watching its talents. One thing about the author, you went to Istanbul, you don’t even know that Bosphorus is not a river, it’s a strait, like Bering. And Iverson is not the greatest thing for Turkish Basketball, it’s our NBA players and our second place in the world and europe cup. So please, make some research before writing something and don’t be ignorant about the rest of the world.

  • Emre

    My american friends, even you don’t know the rest of the world, you still comment about it. Do you know that Turkey played for gold medal vs USA in the World Cup? If you do, you wouldn’t be sarcastic about this beautiful country or its basketball quality. I know that NBA is the best and we watch almost every game of Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur. But sadly, you don’t even know them, right? Iverson is playing in Istanbul cause we love this game and watching its talents. One thing about the author, you went to Istanbul, you don’t even know that Bosphorus is not a river, it’s a strait, like Bering. And Iverson is not the greatest thing for Turkish Basketball, it’s our NBA players and our second place in the world and europe cup. So please, make some research before writing something and don’t be ignorant about the rest of the world.

  • ben

    a man from philly can get lost in istanbul easy, besiktas is level of a middling division college team, it competes in a league which are competitive in euroleauge, go kiss your selfself

  • Mike

    Dude, do your research. First the Turkish Beko League is anything but “middling”. Too, Turkish teams that play in the Euroleague obviously play in the Turkish league.

    So if the Turkish league is

  • Mike

    Dude, do your research. First the Turkish Beko League is anything but “middling”. Too, Turkish teams that play in the Euroleague obviously play in the Turkish league.

    So if the Turkish league is

  • Mike

    Dude, do your research. First the Turkish Beko League is anything but “middling”. Too, Turkish teams that play in the Euroleague obviously play in the Turkish league.

    So if the Turkish league is

  • Mike

    Dude, do your research. First the Turkish Beko League is anything but “middling”. Too, Turkish teams that play in the Euroleague obviously play in the Turkish league.

    So if the Turkish league is

  • Mike

    Dude, do your research. First the Turkish Beko League is anything but “middling”. Too, Turkish teams that play in the Euroleague obviously play in the Turkish league.

    So if the Turkish league is

  • Mike

    awful and the Euroleague so great why are two Turkish teams playing in both leagues? ( Efes and Fenerbahce)

    You need to do your homework dude. This was a piece written with good intentions yet lac