THE SPORTS GUY HAS NOT THE ANSWER
Bill Simmons is “The Sports Guy” from ESPN.com. He has an interesting take on Allen Iverson and what teams will be getting if they acquire him via trade. But he loses me here when he says this:
“And if you can’t get excited to follow him on your favorite team, seriously, stop following sports right now.”
Seriously, A.I. may be an NBA legend, an influential athlete and all the things you mention. But he is about the last person I would want on my favorite team, the Bulls.
The Bulls have spent the better part of the last 3-4 seasons trying to build unity, balance and professionalism. A.I. ruins all of that by walking through the door. Of course, he would wait to do this until it’s gametime, because we know A.I. doesn’t like to practice. That’s odd because a guy who shoots around 40% should really be practicing a whole lot more. But does not believe that his teammates will become better by his particpiation in such meaningless endeavors. Along with Jim Mora’s “Playoffs?!” speech, A.I.’s “Practice?!” is one of the most notable of this era.
“Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I honestly do but we’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice man. We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about practice. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you’ve seen me play right, you’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, but we’re talking about practice right now. … Hey I hear you, it’s funny to me too, hey it’s strange to me too but we’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice … How in the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?”
You may remember A.I. from such wonderful events like:
- Urinating in a trash can in full view of staff and patrons in Atlantic city.
- Getting arrested for illegal drugs and concealed weapons.
- Arriving late for practice (one in a massive series) at the 2004 Olympics and getting benched.
- Threatening to kill his cousin while revealing a semi-automatic handgun, according to police reports.
- Being overpaid $10,000 in chips by a dealer in Atlantic City and refusing to give them back.
There’s also this one from 2004:
“On Sunday Iverson was supposed to be out of the lineup with a knee injury, but just before game time he informed Chris Ford that he was ready to play. Ford and his staff had assumed Iverson wouldn’t be playing and had developed a game plan accordingly. So he asked Iverson to come off the bench, which AI never had done before. Iverson refused, went back in the locker room, changed into his street clothes and watched the game, proclaiming, “I’m not a sixth man. I’m a starter.”
So why would any team want to place their future in his hands? It defies logic. A.I. wants what’s best for A.I. He’s fun to watch. But not on my team. Bill Simmons wrongly equates team success with individual skill. He’s wowed by the flashes of brilliance but apparently couldn’t care less about the lack of substance. Maybe Bill needs to watch a lot more sports to figure out some things. He couldn’t be more wrong.