Saturday, 24 May 2014
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Its the Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam."-Darryl Dawkins.
He was the sneaker soaring-arena aerial-crowd chair collapsing-glass cutting-diamond in the rough-gold mining-tomahawk throwing-rim rocking-slam stuffer.
He was the barn burning-heavey haymaking-barrel busting-corn chopping-force farming-city boy rocking the country.
He was the life is like a box of chocolates-you never knew which dunk you where gonna get-leaving the forest of big men looking like gump-thunder sonic strike-like Seattle and Shawn before Oklahoma-kamikaze Kemp-umbrellas no use-you can't stop the reign.
He was the Florida hot-taken talents-magic of Orlando-kingdom reigned-Disney fantasia-Maynard Evans high jumper-school taker-evening class car pooling-trophy cabinet refurbisher-graduating great.
He was the Philly cheese-steak sharing-slam spreading-Dr. J consulting-Erving epic-Moses parting-Malone mailing-World B. Free changing-Peace playing-Metta magical-free throw line escaping-brotherly love boldly embracing-star treking-no man has gone before-dunk generations-dynamic generating-Rocky stair climbing-high jumper.
He was the ball busting-defense deflating-breakaway rim-backboard shattering-we're going to need a bigger basket-and the janitor-wheres the broom to sweep up this glass-and the time to make a new goal-the dust pan and brush of the game-leaving everyone stuck to the hardwood like dust.
He was the Chocolate Thunder-not self dubbed-but reason and rhyme promoted-puncuated and personified-but who bestowed I wonder-it was Stevie-yep magical Motown-Stevie Wonder-the writing was on the wall-no superstition-innervision-reaching for higher ground-signed, sealed and delivered-hotter than July-my Cherie amour-going crazy like Cooper-the silver linings of his play book-not even Michael could stop this Showtime-80's was just all about the court side seats watching Magic-you don't know Jack.
He was the famous fifth-perfect pick-seventies cool-to eighties rule-New Jersey and uniform-like Erving's opposite-Net gain-ABA game-then Jazz player-making magnificent music-the salt of Utah-motoring on to Detroit-Piston powerful-motor cities Wonder proud-record breaking-groove scratching-needle threading-what a hit-greatest classics.
He was the Globetrotting-born for Harlem-no purse stealing-glitter throwing-ball on a line-world on a string-Italy imported-Europe exported-game changeing-league legacy-basketball without borders-backboard boundary breaking-toast of Torino-Milano magnifying-Libertas liberating-global game giving-world apart talent-the CBA, IBA-league of his own he would play.
He was the did you see that blazer-suits you sir duke-knighted king-the ring was his realm-lord slammer, jammer-not from this earthly world-out of this universe-the basketball Gods showman-Juicy Lucy's first love-planet Lovetron's first born, amazing alien-the planets funkiest mothership connection-wilder than George Clinton-the Rim Wrecker, the Go-Rilla, the Look Out Below, the In-Your-Face Disgrace, the Cover Your Head, the Yo-Mama, and the Spine-Chiller Supreme-stat sheet seperator-"Sir Slam", "Dr. Dunkenstein"-mean, lean dunking machine-speed, skill and slam-quite simply put...the man.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
"Ooooh yeeeeah! Heeeeey baaaby"! 'What the hell is that sound' this young reporter and the veteran commitee of experienced journalists around him wonder in the postgame press conference of a preseason exhibition clash between the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls in England's capital city London back in 2009. As we and are dictophones wait along with the television cameras to hear about what then Jazz point Deron Williams has to say about his teams loss we can hear something from the other room. Some crazy, fun time singing from the next door locker-room, from someone who's acting and performing like he's just won the NBA Finals not just another friendly exhibition drummed up by the NBA to give another basketball withour borders game for it's international market and one that lapped up the tickets for its hometown star Luol Dengs's homecoming. "Ladies and gentelman...Joakim Noah" laughs the man responsible for introducing each player to the podium...but this Chicago Bulls center of attention isn't here to give us a press soundbite, but even so from next door we don't need a quote from him to tell us just how happy he is. Later on as this young reporter gets to interview the man himself one-on-one as he leaves for the team bus the gracious Noah gives this rookie his time, his humble thanks when I tell him his top-selling jersey in Europe will sell even more after tonight and almost even accepts my invitation to show him the cities best pubs. When it comes to professionals in the NBA who are down-to-earth superstars genuine and kind, you have to tip your cup and drink to this.
Cheers to Joakim Noah who now is your 2014 NBA 'Defensive Player Of The Year'. Take that Dwight Howard and all other big men trying to block him out. It seems the epic enthusiasm and evoking energy of the guy that hustles for every ball, jersey tug, screen and scream is the one that is blocking as many shots as he corals off the glass for a rebound. From the concrete hard, down to earth hitting injury of Derrick Rose for the second year running, Joakim Noah has put this team on his shoulders and taken to the defensive and offensive of lifting this team further than anyone thought Thibs squad could go without Rose and even Luol Deng. Joakim is no joke and Noah's arc of talent shows more than just the award winning dirty work which his polished him off a nice trophy for his cabinet. His 18 game streak of 10 or more rebounds a game at an average of 13.9 per clip, joined an All-Star nod confirmed by statistical evidence of big plays like his fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh sealed triple double of his career. The 15 and 10 threat had 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in a game against the Atlanta Hawks and then followed that up with 13 assists against the Toronto Raptors which made him the first NBA center to record 3 games of 10 or more assists since Brad Miller did that for the Sacramento Kings in the 2005/06 season. In fact the only center since Miller's King throne predecessor Vlade Divac (in 1996) to have 13 assists or more. A couple weeks later he bested that all with 14 assists against the New York Knicks (the most ever by a Bull and best NBA milestone at center since 1986) to go with 13 points and 12 rebounds for an inside and outside domination of the paint that was coloured further with his 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists motoring against the Detroit Pistons. Motown hadn't heard singing quite like that since Marvin Gaye.
Marching to 120 assists that month it was the biggest pass rate for a big man since the greatest Wilt Chamberlain's 155. With 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to follow against the Minnesota Timberwolves no wonder this guy is the second Chicago Bull to win the defensive player of the year award (his first) after the one and only when it comes to the NBA...Michael Jordan. Now that the man taking the Air apparent reign of the greatest Derrick Rose seems to be sidelined to the definition of indefinitly it is Joakim who must and has assumed this superstar leaders mantle for the mettle of the Chicago Bulls. With him grabbing this franchise by the horns they can still stampede their way to the playoffs next season, even though this seasons bid saw them being handed fishing poles early by Derrick Rose that was almost guranteed the day his injury bait took the bite. Still, with all these stats and awards it's what Joakim does for the Bulls beyond the box-score that keeps them moving through the tidal wave of the stormy waters of the NBA. Forget that this guy keeps his former double, double numbers moving three by three, he is the energetic and passionate leader that beats as the heart for the team whether Rose is wilting or blooming. This guy is even more than the beat and the blood. All the way down to the bottom of his sneakers he's the soul of this franchise from his long flowing locks to his 'let your hair down' inspired, infectious influence that keeps his team freewheeling fun, but also passionately proud and engaged and engrossed in this game to the screams and shouts of his arena vibrating vocals. He doesn't just put this whole team on his back, he invited the whole fanbase and city of Chicago to follow him on his journey too. Noah sure is the right name.
Joakim comes from a sporting heritage and the roots he is planting in Rose's garden continues the growth of this family tree. He was born in New York City to a Swedish mother and French father and has all three backgrounds to his citizenship credit. Although you can find him balling with Tony Parker and Boris Diaw when it comes to international competition. His father, Yannick Noah is a French singer and former world number 3 tennis player who won the French Open Roland Garros in 1983 and today is proud of what his son is serving up. His mother Cécilia Rodhe was named Miss Sweden in 1978 for another good look and if that wasn't picture perfect enough than Noah's grandfather Zacharie Noah has passed down some skill after being a professional soccer player for Cameroon, winning the Coupe de France in 1961. All these celebrities and all these winners are now being joined by their 29 year old who is scaling higher than the heights of the Eiffel Tower he used to see every day growing up in Paris, France. No wonder the Chicago Bulls picked this 6 foot 11, 232 pound for pound player 9th in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft. He was an engraved basketball champion and a 'Sports Illustrated' cover star before he even received his draft cap. For the University Of Florida he heated up in his sophomore season, making superstar stats of 14.2 points per and 2.4 blocks each game to lead his team. His draft status climbed even higher as him and his now NBA classmates Al Horford and Corey Brewer committed to the college campus for another court run that showed equally how proud, professional and passionate these young ball players where and still are. This kid went from being a relative unknown guy (despite his distinctive look) to an accredited 'Final Four Most Oustanding Player' thanks to his 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks against top seed but eventual runner up Villanova . Scissors may have never touched his curly hair but they sure did cut down the nets of his baskets for the case files of 2006 and 2007 as these Florida blue and oranges peeled off back-to-back NCAA championships.
This Florida Gator proved he was more than just a snappy draft day dresser as he entered the NBA. The cream of his crop was not just in his wardrobe as Noah's impressive rook averages of 6.7 points and 7.6 rebounds tied everything up like his bow-tie. The legendary baby Bulls, Rose blooming playoff series against the Boston Celtics of 2009 also saw Noah steal the ball off the big three's top tier Paul Pierce in the final minute of the third thrilling overtime period and breakaway down the floor for an emphatic dunk. This game changing moment not only ranks as one of the best in that epic series and recent Chicago Bulls or NBA playoff history, it's also one of the greatest moments this young Noah has committed to his career catalogue that read like it one day could be underlined by the Hall Of Fame. You thought the powering forward of Dennis Rodman was passionate for the Chicago Bulls with all his rebound and headline grabbing hair raising and spraying play? Well, even the worms work couldn't put holes in this kid from the Big Apples spark-plug ignited, effervescent, puncuated play. This guy has overcome the dog days and injury years to be the certified award winner he is today and you best believe he'll continue to hit career highs like his amazing 30 points and 23 rebounds or lines like 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks of last season until he moves aside his 'Defensive Player Of The Year Award' to make space for Larry O'Brien. You best believe the man that joins the big legendary likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shawn Bradley, Shaquille O'Neal, and Elvin Hayes in 20-20-10 triple doubles (outshooting these guys at 65% too) can do it. It all seemed so much closer to the Miami Heat when Rose and Deng where around, but that was all a year and an underrated Indiana Pacer team ago. Still the man who speaks fluent French translates more than just the stats heavey milestones he's achieved, his toughness and tenacity tells so much more in a raucous roar that sees this guy as the heart of the whoel league. To think the Bulls are considering trading him up for the Love of Minnesota's Kevin. Like Pau Gasol of the Lakers this oft criticized and underrated player is one of the Associations best...and you could never call this guy soft and doubt his strength. Tougher than the rest Noah stands at the top of the stormy Windy City mountain ready to lead his team. Can you think of another that could lead the Bulls stampede now? To believe this, you must be Joakim.
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Raincheck. When it comes to Kyle Korver when he reigns...it really pours. If he was tomorrows forecast and you where the scouting report competition, you wouldn't even want to go outside. Forget your umbrellas, they'll just flap and break getting caught up in this storm. Just do yourself a favour and call the game and day on account of rain. If your team needs to unplug the scoring blockage then he is the solution. You know when commentators tell you that teams need to stop the bleeding? Well it's Kyle doing the cutting, not to the basket, but from downtown where he resides. He doesn't just make a home here, he builds a luxury condo there and invites all his teammates to come round and admire what he does on the flatscreen T.V...or Jumbotron as we like to call it. This guy is BIG...even at 6 foot 7 and 212 pounds which a NBA resume calls an "average" height. He's big in the fourth quarter, like a clutch Horry and he goes to work in all those periods Big Shot Bob used to take a break for too. It's like a three point shooting contest when he makes his way around the arc like an All-Star. The Spalding may aswell turn to blue, red and white as it sails through the air. Now who's coming in second? This guy is money. Cluth like the greatest of all-time. He needs a nickname, better than those ones calling him Ashton Kutcher like his Hollywood actor lookalike from Korver's same Iowa beginnings. You see what Kyle is farming from three makes everyone else looking like they've just been 'Punk'd', but there's no smiles and laughs of relief when they've found out who caught them sleeping on camera. This baby faced assassin is more than just a poster boy for teen idols, he's a grown veteran who can rip your playbook off the wall.
He's off the chain when he gets hotter than the Mila Kunis lookalikes he could take to town if he claimed his last role was in 'Two & A Half Men' and not the four he takes to court with as an Atlanta Hawk. He's a party-stopper...if this guy was shooting for beer pong he'd leave everyone else hungover. If he was shooting for the stars, astronomers would give Kyle "Kutcher" a call. If the Miami Heat managed to bring his talents to South Beach they'd already have a ring. Indiana or Oklahoma too...especially with Derek Fisher about to hang up his clutch championship certificate. If this guy was cupid, his arrow would catch more than just his female fans hearts...it'd drive a stake through the opposition. In this superhero season this Atlanta Avenger is Hawkeye, 'Bourne' for the position like Jeremey Renner. With more arrows than you thought where at his disposal. With multiple tricks with each bow thrown too...and you thought only Chris Bridges could get this ludicrous in the ATL. He's got more range than Legolas with his archery amazement looking to one day graduate from The Hunger Games to become a Lord Of The Rings in this NBA Game Of Thrones that currently belongs to the one true king sitting on the throne...but has all sorts of people trying to storm his castle. Atlanta may have not been able to keep pace with the Indiana Pacers in this postseason playoff push but give this eight seed more for their huge, big man talent Al Horford to work with along with the likes of Jeff Teague, Paul Milisap, Louis Willams and the veteran epic experience of Elton Brand and this will no longer be a team that takes the last seed along with a first round exit for their troubles.
Especially if Korver is still a part of their late game, late season big basket live or die by the three life blood. The Jazz lost their music when he left. Like the Bulls did their horns and let's not talk about the Philaldelphia 76ers who would have had more at stake for their woeful season if they kept the extra cheese that Kyle brought to the building. Now the Hawks truly keep their talons in their opponent when Korver lets it fly like a Bird. Larry legend or Sue of the WNBA, you call it because theres not many who shoot it better, from the villian streak of Reggie Miller time to Jesus himself Ray Allen. Kyle Korver got game too, through legends and role playes made for range like the Person's and Barry's of the world. Still theres more to the arc of this guys talent then the golden arches. Just look across the board to the steals, blocks and board figures too. More than a gun for hire this is why guys like Kyle Korver are still in this league while great gunners like Mike Penberthy are not. Guys like this may not be working at McDonalds but the Los Angeles Slam is not the Los Angeles Lakers. Still if Iverson is the crossover, Dikembe the finger-wagging block and M.J. the tongue out dunk and fade then this kid is the three. Able to shoot down the wild west like his name was Doc Holiday (perhaps a new nickname?) engraving his opponents name on a tombstone with the hope to one day chisel his next to Larry O'Brien. It'll take True Grit to do that but this mans got the spurs like he was playing with Duncan and Parker. This season...no this season and last Kyle Korver set the pace with an incredible 127 game streak of made three pointers for this century. Passing two downtowns across the 80 game epic record set from former Boston Celtic spark-plug Dana Barros. A guy no stranger to big, bold baskets himself.
This was a run that was even better than the one Kevin Durant had passing the greatest Michael Jordan's run of games of 25 points or more-with 41-en route to be your Most Valuable Player. It was one of the stories of the season. That trade from Chicago for their old flame Kirk Hinrich and cash considerations sure paid off in a hell of a lot of money. That four year, 24 mill deal was for sure paid off...with dynamic dividends. The same that keep rising like great stock every time he catches and releases like a good fisherman. You can just tell from the way he moves across the hardwood and screens to get himself in position that he's free to do whatever he wants to do from three without the helping pane of the glass backboard to bank him in some assured figures. He's an asset all in himself that is guaranteed to pay off again and again, everytime he sets his feet in the perfect place to release the ball. As he rises the right way, let's go at the very right time you wish you could perfect whether via video game or those arcade hoops it's all gooseneck for the gooseberries of the opposition and the goosepimples of his fans that raise the hair on their necks that follow in unison with their backsides and hands. It's all celebration, champagne or commiseration (depending on who you side with) once Kyle takes a sip and a lift. Spirits thrive or die when this guy is alive from the arc. He mans the perimeter like a security guard who sees everything. Stalking his space like a Raptor, looking for and then exposing the one weakness that will make him go electric...until he shoots the lights out. Lighting up the oppositions candle 'till he blows them all out and away. Little Red Riding Hoods house wouldn't be safe when this guy huffed and puffed. Maybe Minnesota could use this Hawk as a T-Wolf because my what big eyes he's got when it comes to his court vision beyond three.
At 33 this Small Forwad/Shooting Guard is all three, tweaning between positions until he tweaks the twine. Creighton University's fifth all-time scorer also has his jersey up in the rafters of Pella High School in Iowa, that's how many times he threw it up like Saturday morning. He owns a visual communications degree from college studying of the textbook as well as the playbook, 'visual' being the apt word for how he talks to the basket. Can you believe the New Jersey Nets only drafted him 51st, than took his draft cap away and gave him a Sixers one as a trade? No wonder there is no Nets in New Jersey now like Brooklyn can prove in their ground. There aren't 51 players in the league right now that can score better than number 26, let alone that year. He's the one to make all the big numbers on the box score stat sheet, not the draft board. Following some rookie and sophmore three point contests that saw him come third and second respectively, Kyle tied Quentin Richardson for three pointers made with 226 in the 2004/2005 season. Which also became a Philadelphia record that climbed up the steps and jumped for 'Rocky' joy. Career highs and buzzer beaters came off the bench from East to West, before the stampede with the Bulls lead to parade player and champion turned Chicago announcer Stacey King to ask for the "hot sauce" everytime Korver opened for three. There was no slapping the bottom of the bottle for more garnishing once Kyle stuck the knife in. Tt was all Showtime for the Lakewood, California native who grew up watching the 80's Lakers led by Magic Johnson. The tricks of Kyle Korvers trade that now find him in the A, are capital to the success of the franchise. He may not be the face but he's the force behind their fortune. Kyle Korver may just be one player, but he's three reasons why the Atlanta Hawks will always be a force to reckon with when he's around and outside. Leave him open if you wish, but he'll close you down like club 112 after hours. Welcome to Atlanta where the players play and out of towners get got by Kyle Korver every day. The Hawk's eye see's his prey and he'll shoot it down until he gets his prize. That's just how it is when the balls in his possession. From behind the arc Kyle Korver owns this game and that will always be his parting shot.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Ann Iverson: "You going to basketball practice today"
Allen Iverson: "I aint playing no basketball, its soft. I don't want to play no basketball..."
"...I don't like basketball!"
A young Allen Iverson is running like there's no tomorrow. No end to this path, problem or playbook. The row's and tattoo's aren't all there but the heart and soul is. Everyone's chasing him. From his opponents on the floor to all the eyes in the crowd on him. Some fixing him with doubt, others piercing with hope. He drives, twists and turns like that slippery when wet, tenacious juggernauht he is rocking to the stadium like Bon Jovi...the music this hip to the hop kid doesn't roll with. Weighing in at just shy of a buck 70, probably that mark when sweating, he tears through the open lane, a flight-path only cleared because of his crossover potenital to weave a wonder and thread his small, sinewy frame through any needle point. Men are falling all over him like he was a supermodel...he's for sure a superstar. He's leaving them for dust in the heels of his cleats. He bobs and ducks, leaving defender after defender with no fruit. Now how do you like them apples? Twisting and turning, ducking and diving like Ali, this kid looks like the greatest as he floats through the wall of defense and finds the last few steps it'll take to sting like a bee. No cream can soothe this. They said he was streaky like a bad window cleaner. Weak like all someone in that position has left and not built for this game. As he's about to score one for his team and his own legend, scoring over the opposition and every critic that tried to write him wrong this is more than just another "point" to be made however. Here it is, 'front row seat, radio in hand, snacks by feet'. Everyone's finally waking up as A.I goes to town. Round his back, all the way down to the ground as everybody screams...TOUCHDOWN!?
"Serious I never wanted to play it" Allen Iverson tells SLAM magazine, with a scoop on a conversation with his mom like only the journalism names of Jackson could get from the answer. There's no question here. You're not 'Illin' like a Run-DMC classic playing around with the great Doctor J, Julius Erving. You may know Allen Iverson from the court conviction of hoops dreams made into the realest reality. A man who overcame all the racist hate, playground level jokes and talk about his appearance and cultural shift that truly changed the game more than the overused, saturated term to show his game did the walking. A player who not only crossed over the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan, but the whole league and world too. From the dress-code to the cross over dunk trend of idolisation. An icon was born into the hip-hop/hoops soulful partnership that flowed off key together like jazz and we aren't talking about Utah or Stockton. A man that bridged the gap between Michael, Kobe and LeBron with a different player that will for sure never be duplicated no matter how many young pup players try to copy and paste the artificial intelligence of your dawg A.I. A man that doesn't need a great SLAM special collectors edition issue in his name or a gracious jersey retirement ceremony for you to remember just who he is and all he's done. It's personified everywhere in todays culture on and beyond the court. It's still so hard to believe that he's "retired" and not coming back one more time, like LL said...he's "been here for years". Are we really that old? The heart still beats for the soul saviour and survivor of purist poetry hardwood hype made history. A heart that showed he could go sneaker to sneaker with ANYBODY. Driving into the lane time and time again to paint more points that his outside J could still afford...but that his body inside couldn't. Taking shot after shot and beat down after beat down from anybody to make his way to the bucket and the rafters some championship banners really did belong next to his number 3 jersey. This David wasn't afraid of anybody, not even the Goliath daddy of them all in Shaquille O'Neal as the answer almost took Larry O'Brien off the Lake Show dynasty of Shaq and Kobe. Forget Tyrone Lue...Allen Iverson almost stepped over the entire history of the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
This type of heart doesn't come with 'practice' (sorry...like Christophe Waltz we couldn't resist). It's something your born with but broods and breeds all throughout your life from what you hold inside to what you show to the outside world. It's heart that transcends sport so much it can translate to any game...but make no mistake the talent has to be there too. Boy did this kid have some talent too. Before he owned the streets of Philadelphia like Springsteen as a Sixer. Even before he showed John Thompson and the legendary Georgetown Hoya alumni that their biggest players weren't just the tower trio of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. Not to get defensive, but when the latter mount joined Iverson in Philly for a championship run that showed them as the hard working, high-guarded, anti Shaq and Kobe dynamic duo, he could see that this guy was tougher than basketball leather for another run at a DMC homage reference. Pigskin maybe?! The Philadelphia basketball legend Dr. Julius Erving knew the order, even if Charles Barkley at first didn't. We all came around. We didn't need to see an awesome Jadakiss Reebox commercial to see that his "heart was huge". All you had to do was watch some football. Some high-school highlights from Bethel high school that shine brighter than what you see in the tropy cabinet down their hall of fame for this Naismith lock. A hidden genius talent like Matt Damon's janitor 'Good Will Hunting' you have to see it to believe it. He made it in hoops despite his size and even with all that weight and height (or lack of) you better believe it. Allen Iverson was an incredible American football player. This is another dream deferred. Thank God for padding right? Let's be serious for a second and change this statement up. Allen Iverson could have played in the NFL. Yeah, I said it!
You better believe it. This kid had two fields as the 'Associated Press High School Player Of The Year'-in BOTH sports-led both squads to Virginia State Championships. Iverson was just this good when he was travelling with the ball when it was legal to do so. The Basketball God's are glad he followed their path to hoops heaven on earth and not the adjustment bureau of the Madden world, but still whether you're passion lies on the field or on the pine it's certainly more than a curious notion to think what it would have been like if young Allen entered the NFL draft instead of the NBA one. All the history he wrote in his Basketball dominace would't have happened and that's a cruel shame to even imagine but who knows what could have happened on the gridiorn?! We may have been missing out on something just as special and/or stellar. Those people (residing in Minnesota of course) who wanted to clone Kevin Garnett as he could play all five positions on the basketball floor may have wanted to save some room in the machine for the fly off court talents of Iverson. He could have been one of the best...he of course still is but we're talking about a different vision at commercial success like LeBron choosing the Cleveland Browns ("baaaby") for his televised decision. Iverson's playoffs may have not paid off with a championship but he could have had his Sherman superbowl moment from the braids to the front page...you can guranatee he would have dunked over the goal in celebration with every touchdown too. What could have been instead is what should have been in this superstars life, but looking through the glass of the alternate reality sliding doors certainly is as inspiring as it is intriguing.
They called him "electrifying". An "entertainer". Said he made the big plays on both ends of the floor...and boy could he 'run Forrest run' when given the ball. Sound familiar? They say that Iverson wasn't bulit for Basketball despite him proving everyone wrong. Perhaps he was built for this game? Need more proof for your doubt? He was all state his junior year. The schools Q.B's finest who could kick-off, punt, play running back, kick returner and defensive back as well as the quarterback position. This Point Gaurd of the first and down just knew how to lead teams with his driven desire the epic example. He did everything on the field, drawing capacity crowds of 200 off it. "Before there was Michael Vick, there was an Allen Iverson" they said. Now what does that tell you? The influential interceptions, stellar sacks and raw runs that followed through to the tenacious and triumphant touchdowns, this was an end to end genius that just knew how to play the game like the steal to smash lay-up line he made his on the hardwood. His seven interceptions at safety made a state record that still stands. This defence almost rests. Now THAT, like the player he was, was difficult to tackle. They compared him to Dion Sanders. Had him set for a different draft, until a Stern wind blew in. Still, even when it came to football, Allen Ezail Iverson was his own man with his own plan. Or maybe his mothers one. When that bowling incident derailed the football lane he was about to strike through with an undeserved prison term the future of his helmet and pads play was brought to the ground with a wake-up crunch, but this isn't the reason Iverson went a different route. After following his mothers orders to go play basketball (boy, don't you wish we all had parents like this?) he learned to love the "other" game he played as he hooped it up with his football friends. The rest of course-as you know-is history at it's finest. Like the 'Mr. Football' he was named in the Virginia Newport News and the 1,423 yards with 14 touchdowns and 781 yards gained with 15 touchdowns that made him one of footballs top recruits and a Heisman hallmark if he had made history in a different game. We're glad by the grace of the basketball lord that Iverson was called by the one true game that would become his. A same call that even without a ring The Answer will reply to Naismith one day. Still, throughout it all and especially in the early days this basketball superstar would always wonder what it would have been like if he followed football. Thankfully though this is all a notorious dream, instead of his B.I.G. reality. Still it's a play that even Madden couldn't draw up. One we'll always touch back on even if the blind side can't see.
"There are so many great offensive players. And to be a great defensive player thats special because you're stopping a great offensive player. That's like a linebacker-if you a great linebacker, that's serious, man to be able to get Barry Sanders everytime you want to. That's crazy, that's talent."-Allen Iverson.