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With the “Answer” there are more questions By Reggie Williams

March 10, 2010 3 comments

Published reports are circulating that Allen Iverson is suffering from an alcohol and gambling addiction. This disturbing information arrives on the heels of a report that Tawanna Iverson, Allen’s wife of 8 ½ years, filed for divorce citing the marriage was “irretrievably broken.” On the day that Mrs. Iverson decided to call it quits with her high school sweetheart, Mr. Iverson’s working relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers was terminated; that marriage may also be irretrievably broken.

With A.I., who has affectionately been known throughout his career as “The Answer,” there appears to be nothing but questions.

During this 2009 off-season the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up Shaquille O’Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers scooped up Ron Artest, the Boston Celtics grabbed Rasheed Wallace and the Orlando Magic snatched Vince Carter for a run at the 2010 NBA championship, but the only teams remotely interested in the talents of A.I. were the Memphis Grizzlies and that other Los Angeles team – the Clippers. The question that bears asking is: what was wrong with A.I. that teams, potentially one player away from competing for a championship, wouldn’t covet a sure 1st Ballot Hall of Famer with some game left in his tank?

The question that bears asking is: did Mrs. Iverson asked for a divorce because Mr. Iverson indeed is dependent on gambling and alcohol and the destructive behavior that accompanies such addictions has made their marriage “irretrievably broken?”

The question that bears asking is: why might A.I. have a drinking and gambling addiction; is it because his once brilliant career is heading south in a runaway Toyota Prius?

The question that bears asking is: has A.I. penchant to “keep it real,” – cornrows, tats and cronies who may have never understood that A.I. was a brand name with whose potential was limitless, really kept him in a dark place where now he seems to be stuck?

The question that bears asking is: those cronies that A.I. “kept it real” with, will they “keep it real” and support the dude who supported them or will A.I. become contagious to them like his hometown boy Michael Vick became infectious to his “keep it real” boys?

The question that bears asking is: can one of the hardest, toughest players – arguably the hardest and toughest player when you consider his stands just 6 feet and weighs a buck-sixty, end his career has a quitter. He quick on the Grizzlies after just 12 games; quick on the Detroit Pistons the year prior and while Messiah, his 4-year-old daughter, has been ill and I do believe family is far-far, way far more important than basketball – it’s fair to ask did he quick on the 76ers using his daughter’s illness for cover?

The question that bears asking is: what does the next chapter of the Iverson’s novel read when one considers that A.I. is on the verge of a divorce; his wife will probably seek a handsome alimony – does he have it? Will the next chapter reveal that he has failed to endow any assets into a subsequent career after pouring his heart and soul into a 13-year career? Will the next chapter become even more compelling when A.I. has to compete against a divorce and a declining career all while the troubled star allegedly battles the gripping addictions of gambling and alcohol.

The question bears asking: will A.I. fight the way he did when he would challenge a 7-footer in the paint, or will he become a fade away memory?

For 10 years (1996-2006) whenever Iverson stepped on the court he provided the answer. During the course of his first 10 seasons in Philly Iverson scored 28.9 ppg, dished out 5.5 assists and made victims of opponents with 2.3 steals per game. He led the League in scoring four times (one of only four players in League history to capture at least four scoring titles); named League’s MVP in 2000-01; a 10-time All-Star and two-time All-Star game MVP. Iverson was named to seven All-NBA Teams and if we “keep it real,” he’s public perception wasn’t as rebellious as the reputation that preceded it. Unfortunately now, there’s nothing but questions swirling around the Answer.

Reggie Williams, an award-winning editor and journalist, is reachable at rwilliams@itsflawless.com