Jul 20, 2011, 11:37 AM EDT
Allen Iverson has been there and done that.
We mean he’s done just about everything, including playing overseas. While NBA players are now flirting with European teams during the lockout, Iverson spent last season playing for Besiktas in Turkey (the team that signed Deron Williams). Well, when he wasn’t injured.
In an interview with CSNPhilly.com done by Dei Lynam — which you can watch below — Iverson spoke well of his time overseas.
“They would be shocked to see how fun it is playing over there,” Iverson said of his experience in Turkey. “The fans over there are the best [basketball] fans as far as their energy in the building, maybe even more because they keep going during the timeouts and halftime with the chants and everything. They are really into the game. When you have a home game there you know you are at home.”
Iverson played in Turkey last season — at least when he wasn’t injured — because he couldn’t land a spot in the NBA. His skills are not what they once were and the vibe around the league (after he had been a locker room distraction in Memphis and Philadelphia the season before) was he was not worth the trouble.
Now Iverson sounds far more contrite, and he still wants a chance to play.
“I just want to do whatever an organization wants me to do,” Iverson said. “Everybody made a big thing about me not wanting to come off the bench, but I said that at that point because it never happened to me in my life and it was something new to me, and obviously I didn’t know how to handle it. But to be back on the biggest stage is my whole thing and I feel like I have a couple more years left in my career and I want to play. I sat through and watched the whole season and it was tough for me. Now I just try to do what I have to do to be physically and mentally able to get back on the stage.”
We’ll see after the lockout if a team is willing to take the chance. Either way, Iverson has left a mark on the league. Both as a player and as a cultural icon.
“I hope that my legacy is that I gave the fans what they wanted, somebody who played the game like it was his last,” Iverson reflected. “Someone who played hard every night and tried to give them their money’s worth.”
We’ll see if a team lets Iverson give the fans a few more thrills next season.
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Bryant appears on latest Sports Illustrated cover.
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