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Saturday, September 19th, 2009 at 8:01 am  |  50 responses

Allen Iverson Captivates Milan

The Answer’s not yet ready for the rocking chair.

by Mauro BevacquaAllen Iverson

MILANO – Italy. Poland. Spain. Fresh off his new NBA contract, Allen Iverson is going global.

His Reebok tour started from Milan, where the new Grizzlie had his first taste of Europe, a place some thought he was destined to play. Not just to sightsee, but to play ball.

“Not yet, but I gave it a thought,” said Iverson, when asked about how closely he considered Europe. “It would had been a whole new experience, and I know I’m very popular all over Europe. My wife actually liked the idea, and I was intrigued by the possibility to face a new challenge, to visit new countries and play in front of different fans.”

But then God chose Memphis, and Europe was put on hold.

“In Memphis, I really believe we can win. If I look at all the young talent we have, I think we can be a good team. I really mean it. If not, He would not be telling me to keep playing, keep lacing up my shoes.”

His shoes, the Answer XIII, were displayed in Palalido, the fabled arena where Bill Bradley once played for Olimpia Milano in the 60s. The arena was packed with more than 1,000 screaming fans.

“Are these shoes good enough for 30 points a night?” they asked him. “I think they’re good enough for even more…”

If you think Allen Iverson was ready for the rocking chair (as he said during his press conAllen Iversonference in Memphis), well, think again. “Revenge? I won’t say that, it’s not so much about revenge. It’s more about coming back to a comfortable basketball environment, and being able to play at the level I’m accustomed to play at. I can finally go out again and playing basketball the way Allen Iverson plays. That’s it. I’m not gonna satisfy everybody, so I will concentrate only on my teammates, my coaching staff and my new fans.”

Detroit is already in his rear-view mirror, and memories are not great. “I wanna thank the organization, who gave me the opportunity to play there, but since day one things didn’t work out the way I wanted to. Looking back now, I should have not signed for the Pistons. I thought they were gonna use me in a certain way, allowing me to play my style, but I could not.”

As a result, last season was Iverson’s worst, as everybody was ready to point out.

“It’s funny because I was an All-Star last year, and I scored 17.5 a night. 17.5? Most people would die to get these numbers, while to me, that was a bad year. The truth is that there’s a lot of people out there who still enjoy taking shots at me, and this past summer was a good opportunity to take one!” he says.

It’s nothing new, it’s the story of his whole life. “There was some perception about me since I was 17 years old, first in high school, and then in college. People never let this perception go. They didn’t like my tattoos, they didn’t like my hairstyles; people liked the clean cut, yes-sir, no-sir type of dude and I was not that. I spoke my mind wheneveAllen Iversonr I felt was right, and so they criticized me, they thought I was a hot head.”

Back then, Michael Jordan was the hero. Maybe, a clash was inevitable. It happened on March 12, 1997, toward the end of Allen’s rookie campaign. The day A.I. crossed MJ over, a memory that still lives on even across the ocean in Italy. That’s why to end his appearance in Milan, they asked Iverson to do it again: one-on-one, top of the key (with his brother to play Jordan’s role).

“When I still was a kid, I promised that to all my boys from my ‘hood. When I get to the NBA, first time I will face Michael I’m gonna take him one-on-one.”

He did it in 1997. And he did it one more time for his fans in Milan. One more crossover. And at least one more year. Allen Iverson is definitely not yet ready for the rocking chair.

Allen Iverson

Mauro Bevacqua is the Editor-in-chief of Dream Team and Rivista Ufficiale NBA, the NBA official magazine in Italy. He can be reached at bevacqua@festema.com.

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  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    legend

  • http://Odebu@gmx.net Darksaber

    Mmh, Milano. Lord i miss Italy. Btw, where’s all that extra muscle Iverson (ahem, his handlers) were tweeting about a few weeks ago. Still looks as scrawny as ever.

  • Esco

    That short hairstyle didn’t last very long. His hair grows fast!

  • rob stewart

    Iverson honestly looks 150lbs in these pics

  • http://twitter.com/jtrufe jtrufe

    muscle doesnt matter…strength does…strength isnt a visible attribute

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    rob, he IS close to 150 pounds…

  • Brian

    Didn’t Jordan win the title in 97 the same year of AI’s “legendary” crossover?

  • http://gmurray8@hotmail.com Garett

    If he did put on muscle/strength, it would be in his legs, core and maybe chest (work on overall upper body strength). He doesn’t need huge biceps to ball, his trainers would work on functional areas.

  • rob stewart

    @Moose
    he came in the league at 165lbs and has recently been listed as high as 180lbs. Do you think he can really survive an 82 gane season at 34 years old at 150lbs? I know he’s tuff but that’s almost dangerous.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Iverson is awesome.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    One of my favorite players ever to not play for the Knicks….. thanks to Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni..

  • http://fjsklf.com Jukai

    Haha, I like how Iverson is reveled in Europe but Spanny still thinks dude wouldn’t dominate all those lesser leagues.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pardeep

    AI doesn’t need to get big to dominate the league he is a speed player and he needs to stay light so he probably built strength in his 34 year old legs and his core and stuff. Cool that he is doing this though.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    “Are these shoes good enough for 30 points a night?” they asked him. “I think they’re good enough for even more…
    “Looking back now, I should have not signed for the Pistons. I thought they were gonna use me in a certain way, allowing me to play my style, but I could not.”

    I hate to say it but I’ve got a bad feeling about Memphis.

  • dial up

    If allen iverson thinks he’s gonna be playing like it was his philly days. Which by how he’s talking, he’s assuming that they just want him to be ALLEN IVERSON, then memphis won’t make the playoffs. Career over. There’s always Europe next year A.i>

  • OGJam

    Ya…Dats Ma Boy…still doing it, most folks in Europe actually think….reason…& logically deduce, as opposed to just adopt as gospel, biased negative Headlines. I hope to one day be so good that i can be an all star have 17.5 ppg & 5.5 apg in an “OFF year” where i played Much less minutes and Took much less shots in as well…lol

  • MoNiQuE

    how u gonna come to Europe and not come 2 England :(

  • KEVIN”KK”BEARD

    IHEAR THE RUMORS THAT HE IS WASHED UP,BUT HE’S MY HOMIE”757 HPT” AND WE DON’T RAISE ANY SCRUBS.THIS IS SUPERSTAR,FUTURE HOF’ER AND HIS WILL IS BIGGER THEN YOURS.I GOT YOUR BACK HOMIE,FROM PHOEBUS.

  • COLT6

    Trade away Z-Bo and the Grizz will be ayt.

  • ryanw32005

    In his “philly days” didn’t they go to the finals on his back, who was the second best player on the team- Dikembe; c’mon give the guy some credit, he still has the step, averages 3 more assists than anyone else on the grizz, and could still school oj, he should play like Allen Iverson

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Cornrows are so.. corny. AI, your a– is grown. Leave that kiddie ish alone.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    He’s not LITERALLY 150 lbs., fellas.

  • http://yahoo.com Logues

    i guess this means another SLAM cover for iverson in a memphis jersey

  • http:///realcavsfans.com Anton

    I’m afraid of Allen Iverson…being on my team.

  • http://www.basketball247.co.uk Greg Tanner

    “His Reebok tour started from Milan, where the new Grizzlie had his first taste of Europe…Not just to sightsee, but to play ball.”

    This is wrong…he played ball in London when he came over here in like 99 for a RBK tour then. Trust me, I was there :-)

  • rob stewart

    I doubt Slam will give A.I another cover unless Memphis really looks like a playoff contender early. Kobe, Lebron, DWill, Wade, some high school kid, a college kid, CP3, and Blake Grifin all have to get their covers first.

  • rob stewart

    @Z
    I think he’s OK with braids. He keeps them nice and clean. Don’t be so quick to judge him because of his hair. There are alot of guys who go bald by the time they turn 34. Flaunt it if you got it.

  • http://bballin_playa66@hotmail.com desmon

    Why do people say this was his off year??? He may have took less shots, but his shooting percentage remained the same for his career at 41%. Pathetic, Allen iverson needs to work on his shot, cuz it never goes in.

  • Brian

    As long as wearing a wife beater is considered an accomplishment then I can see another cover for AI.

  • backboard

    when was this? cause i was in milan this week, so….

  • OGJam

    @ desmond because 2008 in denver he avg 45.4% fg with 26.4 ppg with 7.1 Apg…His career fg% is 42.5% compared with Kobe 45.5% its not a big Difference
    That means if Kobe took the number of shots that Ai took in Detroit he would’ve average 18.3 or so
    Then all yall would be in his Jock saying he fell off
    @ brian choose the alleged wife beater (Ai) or the Alleged rapist (kobe)
    Point is No one is perfect..Jesus Himself doesn’t Condemn See John 3:17
    SO Why U

    John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

    So Why u ?

  • http://slamonline.com Niya-girl-fresh

    I knew he couldn’t let the cornrows go lol!! His hair grew back extra fast must got some rich blood.

    Anyway um, I hate how the NBA considers a player in his 30′s “washed up” or not able to play like they used to. Terrell Owens is 35 and I’ve never heard the media or fans say he’s getting old, he’s almost washed up etc. Basketball is the only sport that does that, no other sport counts out a player until he has salt and pepper beard and hair on his head. I hate it, it’s totally unfair.
    Now I do believe if Allen Iverson is working as hard as he’s saying he is, I truely believe he can atleast give us a 20 and 8 season again. I think he feels Memphis is the way to go because there’s not many overhaul players on that team like Detroit haed where he was surrounded by all-stars. He can go to Memphis and be the orchestrator on the team. Just depends on what happens and what the coaches decision may be. People are talking about how he still looks tiny but building too much muscle can slow him down, he’s quick and smaller than the rest and that alone can still give him ability even with him being “a little” older. If he was in his 20′s again then a little muscle would be okay.

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoshElam JE

    OGJam: He said WEARING a wifebeater, man. A shirt. Ease up.

  • giogolo

    “..about coming back to a comfortable basketball environment, and being able to play at the level I’m accustomed to play at. I can finally go out again and playing basketball the way Allen Iverson plays.”

    “It’s funny because I was an All-Star last year, and I scored 17.5 a night. 17.5? Most people would die to get these numbers, while to me, that was a bad year.”

    -with that said, and OJ mayo and Rudy and Z Bo on your team too. GOODLUCK on that. Ivey.
    ..and believe me..i’m not taking shots at yah..

  • Don

    I’m 24 now. Me and my 6year old son share the same AI poster. Of course mine stays in my shoe closet now while my son has his in his bed board. Props to AI.

  • AJBALLER

    teddybear ai is good but he ant got it

  • OGJam

    @brian

    Sawry man, my apologies.

    @JE…Thx for pointing that out

  • http://fjdklf.com Jukai

    OGJam: 42.5 and 45.5 is a HUGE difference when you take into account how many shots both Kobe and Iverson put up. HUMONGOUS.
    C’mon. Remember John 3:19 when God said “if you don’t understand basketball, don’t throw out stats dummy”

  • http://morethanpractice.wordpress.com ja lawrence

    An Iverson, Mayo and Gay cover would be nice. Seriously though, he’s aging and that quickness will fade. He’d be better suited adding another dimension to his game. Strength will help that.

  • Brian

    @ OGJam: No worries

  • http://slamonline.com/ Spaceship Jay

    Z, braids are… wait a minute, didn’t he cut his hair? How’d he do that?!?!

  • http://slamonline.com breeze

    he will be able to shooot better i believe …..

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I think AI will be allowed, actually it will be expected of him, to come into Memphis and be “the answer previously known as”.

  • ab_40

    good to see he got the braids again
    I would hate to coach memphis. I wouldn’t know what to do with that team

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee

    Low haircut > Braids….EVERY TIME

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    The shoes are probably good enough for 30 a night, the player in the shoes on the other hand…

  • TADOne

    Somehow, cornrows on AI just seem right.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I co-sign that ^^^.

  • http://shoenut.blogspot.com ShoeNut

    It would be funny to see AI when he is 50 or 60 years old with his corn rows.

  • http://slamonline.com and1

    he is the best no matter who comes now or after,i love those sneakers

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