A Farewell to Allen Iverson


This week it was announced that Allen Iverson will officially announce his retirement from the NBA. Now, anyone who follows the NBA knows that Allen has essentially been retired since 2009. It seems the only person who didn't know that Allen's career was over was Allen. However insignificant this is to actual basketball on the court, this announcement is significant in the realm of NBA history.

Say what you want about Allen Iverson. And believe me, there is a lot that can be said.  One thing is for certain; the guy changed the NBA. For good or for bad can be debated. But what can't be debated is on the court he was one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. Few players had the combination of quickness and court awareness that Allen Iverson had. His ability to cross over a defender, get to the paint and knock home a tough shot while getting fouled is unparalleled. 

In 2001, he carried a Philadelphia 76ers team to the Finals that had absolutely no business in the Finals.  5 years later, Allen's tenure with the 76ers ended and after a few decent seasons in Denver, his career essentially ended. Unceremoniously. No fanfare.  And no one even seemed to care. A really sad ending to a great career.

But Allen has done himself no favors. It's hard for people to sympathize with a guy who has had so many controversies over his career. He was always a me-first, shoot first player who carried himself with an arrogance that turned many people off and endeared him to others. He wasn't afraid of any challenge but could never truly overcome all of his past demons. 

It's because of all his talent and potential that makes the story of Allen Iverson's career so disappointing. All of his off the court problems prevented Allen from becoming one of the greatest players to ever play the game. As it stands, he was really good.  A hall of famer? Without question. He'll always be The Answer. But his ceiling was so much higher. And that he never reached it will only leave us with questions.


Why Do Philly Fans Hate Donovan McNabb?

Today, Donovan McNabb accepted reality. He signed a one day contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and officially retired from the NFL. Now, anyone who watches football knows that Donovan McNabb has effectively been retired for the past 2 years. But today, it became official.

Many arguments can be had about McNabb. Was he "clutch"? (Whatever that word means. But that's another post for another day) Did he choke in big moments? Was he overrated? Is he a Hall of Famer? (I personally think he is. But I do acknowledge this is a debate) All of the questions are fair and are up for debate. But one thing isn't up for debate. Donovan McNabb is the best quarterback the Philadelphia Eagles have ever had. Period. 

So imagine my dismay this morning. My fiance and I, on the first day of our week long vacation were driving down to the Jersey Shore for the day. We were listening to Philadelphia Sports Talk Radio. Who? I'm not entirely sure and it doesn't really matter. Every Philly sports radio show is the same. The Phillies Suck but we still love them and the media hates us. The Sixers Suck. The Flyers are awesome and Fuck the Penguins! The Eagles are the best team in the NFC East, and oh yeah they suck too.

As we drove, we listened to host after host and caller after caller take shots at McNabb. Saying he wasn't a Hall of Famer. He was soft. Couldn't get it done in big games. They said Donovan wasn't a winner. It was baffling. They easily had the best 10 years stretch in franchise history under McNabb. From 2000-2009, the Eagles posted a 103-56-1 record (good for 3rd in that time period, behind the Colts, Patriots and tied with the Steelers), 5 division championships, 10 post season wins (tied for second with the Steelers behind only the Patriots with 14), 5 NFC Championship appearances and 1 NFC Championship. But McNabb wasn't a winner?

Now I admit, I'm not an Eagles fan. I didn't watch McNabb week after week. I don't know how frustrating it may have been to watch him. But as a Panthers fan, we had our own frustrating QB by the name of Jake Delhomme. Jake also lead the Panthers to one Super Bowl and didn't get it done. Jake also had one the worst playoff performances by a QB of all time. And guess what? He is BELOVED in Carolina. Maybe in part to his endorsement of Bojangles (southern folks sure do love them some Bojangles). But still. His resume isn't even in the same discussion as McNabb's.

So what gives Eagles fans? Is it really that McNabb didn't win you a Championship? Neither did Ron Jaworski or Randall Cunningham.  And neither did Allen Iverson who inexplicably is still a God in this city. I attended a Sixers game this past season when they played my beloved Charlotte Bobcats. It was Allen Iverson Bobble Head Night. (Why? Because why not) And the crowd went crazy for him.  Don't get me wrong, Allen Iverson was a great player. But no player did more to damage to the NBA players' image in the 2000s than Iverson. Ok, maybe Ron Artest. Maybe.

To answer the question I posed in the title; I have no idea. I don't get how a fan base can love Allen Iverson hate Donovan McNabb and boo Andre Iguodala (I was at that game too. It was an embarrassment the way the fans booed Iggy. ) I've accepted I'll never understand Philadelphia fans. Why they love what they love and hate what they hate. But when it comes to McNabb and whether he should be hated or beloved, there shouldn't be a debate.