Allen Iverson has been a big topic again lately. Easily one of the greatest small guards in the history of the NBA, Iverson was often a polarizing figure during his NBA tenure.
A new unauthorized biography by journalist Kent Babb entitled, Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson claims that AI spent most of his career as an irresponsible drunk away from the court. He even says that “The Answer” was drunk during his infamous 2002 “practice” rant.
- Iverson once threatened his wife, Tawanna, that he would pay a man $5,000 to have her killed.
- Iverson also told Tawanna that he would pay someone a million dollars to testify in divorce court that they had an affair with her. (Side note: His price scale for nefarious deeds strikes me as poorly thought out)
- Tawanna has also accused Allen of numerous instances of spousal abuse, including stepping on her bare foot and grinding his boot heel into it, and punching her in the back while laughing out loud. “That’s a kidney shot,” he told her.
- Iverson was an absentee father who once left his young kids alone in a hotel room for a whole night to go get hammered. He also once told one of his sons, “You ain’t no real nigga. You a white boy, you preppy, you rich boy.”
- Iverson was and perhaps still is an incorrigible drunk. He showed up to his infamous “PRACTICE?!” press conference shitfaced.
- Iverson never bothered to work out as a pro and sometimes ate four hot dogs in a row before taking the court. (Actually, I kind of like him for this.)
I feel like anyone who has closely followed AI’s career shouldn’t be shocked by any of this. I also understand the complexities it brings as a fan. When you love an athlete’s talent, or as is the case with AI, the culture shift he represented in addition to his game, it’s difficult to deal with the fact that they might not be a great person away from the court. Is it ok to still love AI and what he did for the game of basketball, but not agree with some of his life choices? Is selective fandom a thing?