Philadelphia loves Allen Iverson. The Jordan crossover. Stepping over Tyronn Lue. The practice press conference. Kissing the floor during his return to Philly. The NBA's bad boy from Hampton, Virginia by way of Georgetown will never pay for another drink in Philly. But, as a new profile in the Washington Post points out, that doesn't help him pay his bills.
The piece focuses on Iverson's return to South Philly in conjunction with the Sixers' AI bobblehead promotion late last month. He waltzed out onto the Wells Fargo Center floor, cupped his hand to his ear, and bathed in the praise of adoring fans, who seemed much more interested in the return of Iverson than anything the current roster has to offer (except maybe free Big Macs).
For Iverson, though, the event was simply a vacation from his new reality. Divorce proceedings. Concerned messages from family and friends. Alcohol on his breath. Missing a lunch with his son. The Washington Post profile examines what has become of Iverson now that he can't make a living driving the lane in the NBA.
"I'm supposed to be here talking about Georgetown. But we talking about love. We talking about love? Miss Michel? Oh, we talking about love."
"I love you. I miss you. Well-deserved congratulations. I love you. I can't put it in words how much I do love you."
According to a bank statement submitted in the divorce, the couple's checking account was overdrawn by more than $23,000 in July 2011. In a single day, $23,255.36 was deducted – at a diamond store, a hat shop, a steakhouse and a hotel.
And the ugly:
Tawanna testified that during a 2009 family vacation in Orlando, Iverson spent evenings with a friend while his family made plans without him. On the day they were to fly home, Iverson nursed a hangover in a van, lying on the floor with a foot draped on the seat. While their children saw a movie, Tawanna sat for hours with her husband, afraid if he was left alone the driver would take photographs.
... and ...
"He has hit rock bottom, and he just hasn't accepted it yet," says former Philadelphia teammate Roshown McLeod.
It's a tough, but enlightening, read for those who still prefer to think of Iverson as that up-and-coming kid breaking Jordan's ankles. Here's to hoping that Iverson can, like he did so many times in South Philly, pop up off the floor, dust himself off, and take care of business. [The Washington Post]