by Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley
NNPA News Service
On the heels of Allen Iverson's heartfelt return to the Philadelphia 76ers home playoff game against the Boston Celtics for Game Six, the conversation started. Iverson, a perennial All Pro guard, didn't exit the National Basketball Association (NBA) the way he or anyone would've preferred. As he introduced the game ball to a standing ovation in front of the 76ers crowd, talk of a possible return to the league for Iverson surfaced among anyone watching.
Columnists Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley took it one step further as they pondered whether or not an Iverson comeback would be a good one.
Perry Green: No way, no how and no thanks! Iverson's exit out of the league was sad but one that's already set underneath a stone that doesn't need to be turned. He was a great player during his tenure but that tenure has run its course. At this point in his career he would be a sideshow. Thanks for the memories A.I., you're done.
Stephen D. Riley: An Iverson return would be great for him and great for the league. He dazzled us for over a decade with blinding moves and breathtaking quickness. No, he's not the same player he was and he never will be but for a talent as strong as Iverson, he deserves another shot on somebody's roster next fall.
P.G.: Why? Iverson's contribution to the league has been mostly based on selfish, self- absorbed behavior. From the saggy pants to the arrests to the anti-practice habits, Iverson has reaped more harm than good for the league. He was a hell of a player but also a hell of the headache.
S.D.R.: Headache and complaints aside, he's a Hall of Famer. There's always a place for a return for a Hall of Famer. Anybody watching the 76ers' home finale with Boston for Game Six could feel the love that the city of Philadelphia had for him. It's obvious his fan base is still very large in that area and across the NBA. You paint Iverson as if he's some pickpocket. He was a great, great player who deserves to end his career on his own standards.
P.G.: How many chances should one man get? Two? Three? Four? Iverson's been flirting with reentering the league for a while and on his last stop he balked at coming off the bench. Same selfish Iverson, putting himself ahead of the team. We've seen this script before and it doesn't end well. Iverson's career is etched in our minds, no need to scramble that up with a sad attempt to give him a proper sendoff. Thanks again A.I. You'll be missed but not forgotten.
(Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper)