Allen Iverson is one of the most recognized players in the U.S. National Basketball Association. But his team, the Philadelphia 76ers, may be looking to trade him. VOA's Jim Stevenson examines why the veteran superstar has fallen out of favor with his team, and why others may not be willing to take him.
With an average of 27 points per game this season, Iverson ranks second behind Orlando Magic star Tracy McGrady in scoring. He is number one in both minutes played (42.5) and in steals (2.42) per game. He was the top NBA draft pick in 1996 and has played his entire career with Philadelphia. But the perennial starting player has a tumultuous history.
Iverson will turn 29 in June, but his brushes with the law, relatively small size and high-impact game style may age him prematurely. He has missed 22 games so far this season with various injuries and ailments. Iverson has had public conflicts with head coaches Larry Brown and Randy Ayers. He is now is butting heads with no-nonsense interim coach Chris Ford. The latest clash came Sunday when Iverson, out for three straight games with a swollen right knee, refused to come off the bench after Ford told him he would not start in a game against the Detroit Pistons. Iverson changed out of his uniform and watched from the bench in street clothes as his team was soundly defeated, 85-69.
Iverson openly questioned his coach's decision.
"I do not know any franchise players that come off the bench. I do not know any Olympian that comes off the bench," he said. "I do not know any All-Star that comes off the bench. I do not know any former MVP that comes off the bench. I do not know any three-time scoring champion that comes off the bench. I do not know any first-team or all-NBA (player) that comes off the bench. Why Allen Iverson? Why should I come off the bench?"
Ford and Iverson have had a rocky relationship since the Ayers was replaced on February 9. Ford has fined Iverson twice, first for missing a practice, then for missing a home game, both times because Iverson did not personally call to explain his absence.
While other teams would like to have his scoring ability, they may not be able to tolerate Iverson's attitude, injuries and huge $91.4 million salary over the next five years.