November 10, 2011
Allen Iverson's(notes) last turn in the NBA was a disastrous run with both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2009-10 season. The Grizzlies dumped him because he wasn't suited to blend into a team concept, and later that year Iverson dumped the 76ers with a few weeks in the season amongst myriad rumors of personal and financial problems. AI has bounced from gig to gig since then, and was hoping to possibly put together a charity game in Las Vegas over the upcoming weekend ostensibly featuring various NBA stars.
The problem is that we haven't heard a whiff about stars actually committing to Iverson's charity game. And, for reasons Iverson's camp is chalking up to the ongoing and somewhat positive turn the NBA lockout negotiations have taken, AI's contest has been postponed until the first week of January. Jan. 6 and 7, if all goes well.
Or, if all goes terribly.
Because no NBA players, stars or otherwise, are going to play in a charity game in the first week of January if there's a season going. And if the dates sound familiar, you'll recall that Jan. 5 was the cut-off date for a truncated season back during the 1998-99 season.
That is to say, if there's any agreement between the NBA and its players between later this week and Jan. 5, then Iverson's game is a no-go. And even if the nuclear winter becomes a reality, and the season is canceled, what NBA players are going to want to jet to Nevada to play in an exhibition game a day after learning that they'd be without paychecks for an entire season?
Not to say that the players aren't being charitable, but the enervating reality of a lost season would be too much to overcome on a day's notice.
It sounds like Allen is hedging his bets, no Vegas pun intended. In his defense, this is the smartest way to avoid embarrassment regarding this.
(There was going to be a part where I brought up the idea of AI getting his act together long enough to attempt one last comeback as a smart scorer off of a good team's bench; but even this appalling optimist can't muster that idea without deleting the entire thought.)