andre iguodala

Originally published in SLAM 156

He had survived. That was the important part. It was early in 2012, Andre Iguodala was still a Philadelphia 76er, the team was winning and that was the way things were supposed to be. And the pressure was finally letting up. For the time being, anyway.

The money was already there; that wasn’t the issue. He’d gotten his big contract with no complications. It was the other things—the constant trade rumors, the pressures of being a star with the initials “AI” in Philly, his new coach’s inexplicable sobbing fits, the fact that his friends kept bothering him for Roots tickets even though they knew damn well that Fallon tapes in NYC.

The court was always his escape, but this year it was even better. New. Fresh. He felt like he could rise higher for lobs, jump from further out, that his steps had a spring to them that he hadn’t felt since the U of A. And that wasn’t just his new Nikes talking. Heck, even if the trade rumors re-started, he thought he felt equipped to deal with them.

As long as they didn’t trade him to those awful Washington Wizards.

Russ Bengtson