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?


I tell her about Iverson’s nightlife in America — how he used to go to a Friday’s on City Avenue all the time, and when things got a little chaotic there, when it was no longer so cool for Iverson to drink 40s out of a bag, leaning against his Bentley parked in a handicapped spot, he slipped across the street to Houlihan’s. He would show up with two or three or five guys, sometimes popping in around midnight after a game, drink Coronas, play poker with his boys at the bar. And the women would show up. They would line a low wall behind him. A half-dozen. Ten. Twelve. Fifteen. They would preen and wait. Finally, Iverson would nod to one of his posse, and his guy would go over to the one in the line he wanted and tell her to join them. She’d have a drink with Iverson. In a little while, he would leave. And then she would, a moment later.

I tell the woman at Club Reina all this because I’m wondering if Iverson might have women at his beck and call here. Would they be so aggressive?

She smiles. “We would be … what is the word? … more discreet.”

“Turkish women wouldn’t line up like that?”


“But sex is … ”

She smiles again — a different smile — the prettiest girl in the hottest club. Istanbul is a big, busy, cosmopolitan city, and Allen Iverson won’t be merely playing cards and drinking Coronas at the Istanbul Friday’s while trying to resurrect his basketball career. Unless he’s a changed man.

IVERSON IS AT A CROSSROADS IN HIS LIFE. There is no going off into the sunset for him, no taking his vast millions and his fame and finishing off the job of raising his five kids in splendor and ease. Nothing works that way for him.

In fact, last spring — just after Iverson abandoned the Sixers following a short second stint with the team — Gary Moore said publicly that things were very bad for Iverson. His young daughter Messiah was quite sick with an undisclosed illness. His wife had filed for divorce. There were stories that he was gambling and drinking himself into oblivion. At one point, Moore beseeched a reporter with a chilling request:

“Please pray for us. We need all the prayers we can get.”