Did Richard Hamilton and the rest of the Pistons betray Allen Iverson? (Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)
Allen Iverson lives in his own world.
He practices when he wants. He stays out as late as he wants. He shoots when he wants.
And it’s clear he doesn’t realize it.
"He went there, and he couldn’t really trust what people had told him," said Gary Moore, Iverson’s business manager and grade-school football coach. "People in Detroit weren’t very truthful with him."
According to Moore, Iverson had been told that he would be the leader of the team when he arrived, and that was not what played out. The players were upset that the front office had traded away Chauncey Billups, Moore said. Iverson was persona non grata before he even showed up.
"Allen couldn’t do anything about that," Moore said. "When you lie to him, that affects him."
First of all, there’s no way anybody in charge in Detroit – whether it be Joe Dumars or even Michael Curry – was stupid enough to tell Iverson he would be the team’s leader. That’s just not something anyone can decide.
(EDIT: It was pointed out to me saying “no way” is a little too strong, and it is. But the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.
Dumars has shown over and over again he knows how to develop a successful organizational structure. Promising Iverson a leadership role spits in the face of that.
And Curry took classes on sports leadership at Virginia Commonwealth to prepare for his job. He obviously knew better, too.
So, “no way” was too strong. But I’ll stick with “nearly no way.”)
Maybe Dumars and Curry told him he’d be the focal point on the court. But that’s completely different.
And unlike Moore’s account, Iverson knew the situation he was coming into. Check out his introductory press conference (30 seconds in):
“I know it’s a tough situation for my teammates – obviously losing a great player like Chauncey and Antonio McDyess.”
It was especially tough when Iverson refused to adapt to the players around him, missed a practice and quit rather than come off the bench.
The Pistons never showed much respect for Iverson. They seemed to play harder when Richard Hamilton was at shooting guard instead of Iverson.
But here’s one other thing Iverson said (1:28): “One thing for sure, two things for certain. I’m going to do whatever the coach wants me to do out there on the basketball court. If he gives me an assignment, I’ll just try to carry it out to the fullest.”
Both sides are often guilty of broken promises in these types of squabbles, especially when both suffer so much as a result of the partnership.
But this time, it’s a one-way street.
Iverson, as usual knows he’s right. But outside Planet Iverson, here on Earth, we know better.