April 2003Word Count: 574
Allen Iverson has continued to plague us with the same thought during this 2002-03 Philadelphia 76ers season, Why isnt he under consideration to be an Olympian?
Iverson, seemingly a man on a mission, continues to show us why he should receive an invitation to participate on the 2004 U.S. Mens Olympic Basketball team. Night in and night out he shows us why he is Allen Iverson, The Answer.
Now Iverson can add another nickname to his acclaim, Allen Iverson the Olympian.
With three games left in season Iverson finally got his wish.
This past Thursday, Iverson, 27, was told he would receive an invitation to play. The team will be coached by the 76ers and Iversons head coach Larry Brown and the summer games will take place in Athens, Greece starting August 14, 2004.
Upon after word of his invitation, Iverson said, “It’s just a great feeling to be able to represent (the) USA. It’s an honor and it’s something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Following a 25-point outburst that night in Philadelphia’s 99-78 win over the Boston Celtics Iverson continued, “It has a lot to do with respect. Only the elite players represent their country.”
Iverson has consistently been one of the leagues premier scorers, but his off court troubles have overwhelmed his dazzling play on it. He has been marked by controversy
during his entire seven-year career, all with the 76ers. In 1997, Iverson plead no contest to a gun charge after police stopped a car in Richmond, VA, which he was a passenger and found a gun belonging to Iverson and two marijuana cigarettes. Iverson completed 100 hours of community service, two years of drug testing and three years probation, after which his record was expunged. Recent troubles include an alleged gun incident. On July 11th of 2002, Iverson supposedly barged into an apartment threatening two men with a gun while looking for his life. Charges were later dropped due to insignificant evidence.
After being selected with the number one pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the 76ers, Iversons so-called thug lifestyle, cornrow hairstyling, and flamboyant tattooing has labeled him an NBA bad boy and the league is always seemingly reluctant to give Iverson full exposure in relation to the image they want to maintain. In 2000, NBA commissioner David Stern reprimanded Iverson for lyrics from his unreleased rap CD that contained derogatory references to gays and women. That summer the star was nearly traded. Conversely, Iverson has always been a fan favorite and draws crowds from all over when he plays.
Despite Iverson stepping up his game a tier higher this year and maturing immensely, he had been overlooked most of the season for Olympic consideration because of his past rocky history. However, Iverson has rounded out his game making himself more of a team player. With his high scoring average never changing, Iverson committed himself to become more aware defensively and has already broken the 76ers single season steals record while gaining praise from his coach and teammates.
Sixers team captain Eric Snow had this to offer, I think its about time he was elected; he deserves it.
Iverson said that the team has stars with big egos but that he could fit in.
“It’s going to be a team thing,” he said. “I won’t have a problem playing the role I have to play.”
Bibliography: “The Philadelphia Inquirer”