Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 9:25 am  |  51 responses

Allen Iverson: Family Issues Derailed NBA Career

Allen Iverson continues to insist that he’d be willing to play any role for any team in the NBA at the age of 36, and he tells Yahoo! Sports that trouble at home is what caused him to lose focus on the court in the last few years: “That wasn’t me at all,’ Iverson said. ‘Obviously, I was dealing with the situation with my daughter and going through a divorce, and I wasn’t there mentally. In my career those last couple years were so hard for me because I wasn’t there. Mentally, I wasn’t there. During those 48 minutes on the basketball court, all I [ever] cared about was that time right there. Nothing else distracted me. But at times, I felt myself standing on the court just thinking about my daughter, thinking about the situation with me and my wife. I wasn’t giving [the teams] everything I had mentally.’ So what’s the difference now? ‘Everything is fine,’ Iverson said. ‘[My wife and I] are still going through the process. But it’s not like it was. … I just felt like the right thing – even if it’s not me and her [together] – we got to be friends and cool with each other because we got five kids together. That was the most difficult part. And then once I got to there, as far as that situation, then everything was basically cool. My kids are healthy. I don’t have anything to worry about but basketball.’ Multiple reports within the past couple years said Iverson has been troubled by financial, alcohol and gambling issues. He admitted there was some truth to his personal problems but declined to go into detail, saying it ‘would take all day’ to explain what wasn’t true. … Iverson’s accomplishments on the court merit his inclusion in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’d just like to put one final stamp on his legacy that isn’t drenched in drama. ‘It’s not where I want it to be,’ Iverson said of his career. ‘When it does end, it’s going to end on a much better note than this right here. This is not the way it’s going to end. Even if I do have to go overseas to play in a competitive situation, it’s not going to end like this. I’m not going to let it end like this, and I don’t want it to end like this. My first step is doing everything I have to do to get back to that [NBA] level. But if that’s something that God doesn’t want from me, then that’s that.’”

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  • King David

    A.I. 4ever!!!!

  • irondan21

    So your ego and famed selfishness had nothing to due with out? Not to mention you’ve lost a step. Ok.

  • irondan21

    **it (not out)

  • BlackStar

    This is nothing more than a case of someone being short sighted in life and is reaping what he’s been sowing for a minute. I love A.I. the player, but when you build a bad reputation, no one wants to take a chance on you. Especially the way things went south with the Grizzlies, people don’t want to mess with him … Plus he’s 36 and barely 6’0″. These young PGs in the league will have him on skates on a nightly basis. SMH …

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    If you guys only knew.

  • mytiman

    Teams need to give this guy a chance.

  • NJ4Life

    You know the heat will be all over this

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I hope he gets his wish. But if not, he sounds like he’s at peace to a degree. That’s all you can ask in this life.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    “That wasn’t me at all”…riiiiiight…not saying family issues don’t matter, but not taking any blame for your own childish actions is just plain silly.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • LP

    I can honestly say i never saw where AI lost a step…maybe a little rusty from time off…but nobody ever contained Iverson to the point where i was like “Dmn, AI is washed up….”….seriously…

  • David Moore

    I love AI’s passion.

  • EtheKnickfan

    Other than say, maybe the top 10 pgs in the league, I would take bubba in a NY minute.

  • EtheKnickfan

    Also,no matter the profession,athletes are still human. I remember a supervisor taking three days off because her dog died(I know pathetic). A divorce and child issues can most certainly affect ones way of life and how they respond in the workplace. Caused lesser salaried people to turn to drinking and gambling why not a pro athlete? At least he didnt blame his issues on some mental disorder.

  • Heals

    Props Jonesy, I won’t even pretend to know all the nuances that orbit around his world. For better or worse there are many of us who came of age (from single-mom households) just as he was rising to prominence and therefore have a unique attachment to his style, play, effort, manuerisms, etc. This isn’t a cop-out it’s an acknowledgement and an attempt to come to grips. Ivie played ball more effortfully than most of us do anything in our lives and that’s how I will always remember him…

  • http://@whogotjazz.twitter.com MIGZ

    i mean who doesnt wanna see the real AI back in the league what he did to philly was f***ed up but im sure they’re understanding i wanna see him in the portland T’blazer for some reason, what chu think?

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Make it happen Pat !!


    It was sad to see my favorite ballplayer in the WORLD go out the way he did…Hopefully, he’ll get a chance to play in the league again. He’s definitely not the franchise player but as a role player coming off the bench, he’ll definitely be a threat and helpful…The HEAT or The KNICKS could use him…

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • bike

    Of course, there is always the possibility that what AI is saying is a nice excuse for a poor attitude fueled by a Texas-sized ego. The guy had attitude issues his whole career. Still, the most exiting player pound for pound to play the game.

  • John Wall Jr

    A.I just need to go hard as he can… Go out like Alonzo Mourning if need be… Just go HAM !

    If you can get through a whole year.. cool… if not, cool.. But just go hard as hell.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    I love AI, but I’ve heard so many different versions of why he fell off, often from his own mouth. What I don’t understand is how “family issues” affected things like his insistence on being a starter with the Grizzlies or the turmoil with the Pistons. What does going through a divorce or having a sick kid (which I know is a big deal) have to do with alienating yourself witu coaches and front offices by being a prima donna? I can understand it affecting his return to Philly, sure, but the stuff before that? I’m not convinced. Also, I hate to say it, but for a guy who was supposed to be the toughest baller in the league, he’s sure made a lot of excuses in the last couple of years.

  • Jer Dawg

    Iverson is always one of my favorites. It’s a cautionary tale of how not to take advantage of each day and live to its fullest. Not to get every ounce of yourself to success. It’s something lost to plenty of athletes that look back at their careers. Also, something that we can use their example of how NOT to screw up OUR lives. You only get one chance to make a great impression. sometimes.

  • ScottieN

    If any team would give him a chance, I think he will fulfill his role. He said himself that he would be willing to play a role that may not be of stardom. Hope the heat realize that he might be the answer to their championship needs. I respect mario chalmers and norris cole, if they sign him. But they are too young and have no real experience in the late post season. AI could probably help them learn if he can’t play at his best anymore.

  • gakbrenti

    AI my man..go back for one more year for good man…just do it :D

  • http://gmail.com z

    Allen iverson: the muhammad ali of the 90′s.

  • Mr.Guy

    Come to the Kings. We could use a good Veteran.

  • Seven Duece

    ^fall back on that; Ali was movement and represented more than sport or the misrepresentation (even if self projected) of the black athlete. AI was unforgivably black, I’ll give him credit for that; but Ali was for the people.

  • ChipS

    To those saying u cant see how family issues affect his play on the court, it certainly can affect you, not only on the court but off it as well. Your mindset changes. your mood changes. Look what family issues has done to Tiger Woods play. Family issues can affect anybody in any profession.

  • http://Www.slamonline.cOm Jay

    If your thinking about family issues throughout the day your mind isnnt on a basketbball game till it starts and even that can be hard feel bad for AI hope he gets a chance

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    I just don’t see how family issues can cause you to have a “I’m not playing if I’m not starting” attitude.

  • rob stewart

    How come Brett Favre and others play well when they have family issues? But when Tiger Woods and Brett Favre himself do their loved ones wrong they play horrible. Derek Fisher played well when he had Family issues. I dont know Iversons business and I’m not putting blaim on him. I’m just stating that most of the time when athletes play bad because of family issues they have wronged someone

  • RandalJ

    The true greats rise above it all. Without being even more cliche, it’s not the adversity you face, but how you deal with it that defines you. Did he make some (a lot) of mistakes? Definitely. Was/is he one of the best guards to play? Definitely. Does he deserve a last chance. Definitely. Give AI the chance to go out a gracious champion like we’d all like to see.

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/a-quick-guide-to-the-issues-of-the-nba-lockout/2011/10/11/gIQAon1ZbL_story.html unf*ckwitable

    Remember that greek dude who was obsessed with AI. He was a f*cking weirdo.

  • TimmyJim

    pretty much refused to play near the end of the season wit detroit, couldnt take coming off the bench wit the grizz… that has nth to do with getting istracted n not playing as well wen hes on the court… cuz he aint even wanna be on the court if hes not starting

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    ^^ My point exactly. AI is not out of the NBA because his skills fell off a cliff, he’s out because his attitude was perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being too much trouble to gamble on. It had little to do with what happened on the court — he’d slowed a little, but I think there was universal consensus that he was still capable of dazzling you.

    The thing is, in most jobs, if you got serious family issues, people at work will try to cover and give you some leeway. And I think at the multi-million dollar NBA super-star level, that holds truer than at some other occupations. But AI’s attitude wasn’t questioned because he wanted time away for family, like at the end of his 2nd time in Philly — we all wished him well. It was questioned because he was bickering with his coach about coming off the bench in Memphis. And the same in Detroit.

  • Hambone

    So what was the reason for beefing with every coach your first stint in Philly ?

  • EtheKnickfan

    Peeps keep bringing up Memphis. Hell at the time he should have started.

  • Kuri

    How many chances does a.i. Need?

  • KBJ

    to all those hating on AI , you dont know his situation, and he prolly was your favorite player before anyway, which brought you to this page.

  • ChipS

    All i’m saying is family issues can do that. Some do rise above, but not everybody can. AI went from busting people ass to ‘hey, we need you to come off the bench”. It’s hard for any superstar to accept that, especially when they’re still right there with the best. That only adds to the problems.

  • MikeC.

    Not with NY please. Knicks are going to have enough problems getting shots for Amare and Melo. NY doesn’t need another ball-stopping gunner.

  • http://gmail.com z

    Lol @ seven deuce. You need to do some more research on ali, kid. He was no saint, its just that his legacy’s been whitewashed in recent years, ever since he lost his own voice, his legacy’s been squeezed into this familiar, safe (to the status quo) narrative that ignores many of ali’s more controversial opinions. But yea, al was MOST DEF the most charismatic athlete to strongly identify with his blackness since ali in the early 70′s. And that’s not even addressing all of the hate they both got as a result. A.I. Wasn’t politically conscious but then neither was tupac and ppl act like he was some great leader of black ppls.

  • nbaNw8

    AI is raw. i can care less what anybody else says. The man is talented.

  • Jeff K

    really?? JUST family issues?
    what about the selfishness, stupidity and stubbornness?

  • Aidee333

    Ai is the best let him back in the NBA”…………

  • Carlos

    Go to the knicks with melo they need a point guard they are despret

  • sadeye6

    “My first step is doing everything I have to do to get back to that [NBA] level.” Practice?

  • jpm34

    He could be insta-buckets off the bench for a fringe contender. Why not Lakers? Heard they were thinkin bout Agent0. Iverson got more left in tank than Gil.

  • Tracy,Whaley

    Hey Allen i want u back in the NBA so i wish u all the lucke in the world that someone pick u up cause u are the true Answer out on the floor,everyone goes threw things in life but that does not make u a bad person,everyone deserve a second chance..just put it in gods hands and keep the faith..

  • bobby

    If Derek Fisher can be a starting PG in the league, then why can’t The Answer be a role player in the league?