It was Soul on Ice 2.0, without the picked-out hair and the throwback jersey. And, of course, without the Sixers uniform. The stage was set-up almost perfectly–10 years after possibly SLAM’s most famous cover, Allen Iverson was traded for the second time in his career to a team that had been to the Eastern Conference Finals the previous six seasons. His durability always made people wonder if he could play forever. He probably wondered the same thing himself. But then he saw it.
As much as Allen wanted his latest cover to mirror that of 10 years ago, there was only one small problem: age. He knew opponents couldn’t slow him down, but he never thought about what time could possibly do. His hair was thinner and had a permanent part up the middle. So he told his stylist to quickly braid it into design (and later to shave it all off). For a person whose hair was such a large part of who he was, this wasn’t just a thing. Cutting his braids marked an end of an era in his career, and he’s since been very… un-Iverson like. His bad back keeps him away from the team. Before shutting it down for the regular season, he was playing less than 20 mpg. He was talking about retirement–an end. Not only has Iverson lost a step since gracing the cover of Ish 32, but so had much of that previously dominant Piston core.
Age is all around him, playing tormentor. Why not go to Philly next year and feel young again?