Iverson na Slam Magazine

Na mesma semana em que o Grande Shaq se despediu da liga, outra das maiores figuras da NBA das últimas duas décadas, anuncia a sua vontade de voltar. Na semana do 36º aniversário do jogador e a propósito do número 150 da Slam Magazine, a revista americana juntou o útil ao agradável e fez uma edição especial com Allen Iverson. The Answer abriu o seu coração à Slam e revelou que gostava de terminar a sua carreira na NBA. Em qualquer papel que o quiserem. Iverson diz que a experiência na Turquia (e estar fora da liga americana) o tornou mais humilde e que está disposto a sair do banco, jogar poucos minutos, bater palmas, fazer tudo o que lhe peçam. Ele só quer a oportunidade de terminar a sua carreira na NBA.

A entrevista não está disponível no site, mas conseguimos encontrá-la e publicamo-la aqui na totalidade, para a vossa fruição:

The telltale gravelly timbre of his tone sounds the same as ever. The cadence of his speech, nouns, and adjectives flowing forth in melodic bursts, is mesmerizing as ever. The emotion that leaks out of the occasional cracking of his voice is heartfelt as ever. But the words coming out of a soon to be 36-year-old Allen Iverson`s mouth are different than before.

" Not playing this year in the League," says Iverson from his home in Atlanta, " it humbled me a whole lot. Because I`m a basketball player and I was taken away and not able to play on the biggest stage there is. It had me thinking a lot just about how to handle situations better than I had. I had to learn that this thing can be taken away from you."

In the past two years, Allen Iverson`s done a lot of soul searching. Exiting the NBA weeks after being named an All-Star starter in 2010, a lack of interest in his services the next offseason and subsequently playing in Turkey for part of this past season gave him time and opportunity to reassess his life. That led to him make some stark realizations.

" The best thing that came out of those experiences is that it opened Allen`s eyes to the fact that there`s more important things out there than basketball," Gary Moore, Iverson`s long-time business manager and president and founder of Moore Management and Entertainment LLC, says. " Those experiences let him know that one day this is going to end; basketball is going to end."

Well aware that life after basketball is not too many moons away, Allen Iverson is willing to do whatever it takes for one last chance to prove his mettle in the NBA. One last chance to go out on his terms.

SLAM: The leg injury that you suffered in Turkey, is that all healed up?

ALLEN IVERSON: Yeah, and it didn`t even take that long. It healed faster than I thought it would, actually.

SLAM: Was it just from years of playing, or did something actually happen to it?

AI: I think it happened at the end of one of the first games I played over there. I got kicked in it. Man, it was bothering me the whole first half of the next game. It was bothering me, but the pain wasn`t too difficult to bear, you know what I mean? I was able to still be effective. I think that was one of the first good games I had over there [laughs]. Then once I got to halftime-all throughout my career, I never iced. All my coaches and trainers always told me, "You need to ice after games." I never liked icing. But during halftime I put heat on it, and, man it was hurting so bad that I put ice on it. Then, I was like, Damn, I ain`t ever dealt with no pain like this. I remember running up the court and the guy who was guarding me kept asking, "Are you alright? Are you alright?" Because I was running down the court one time and it hurt so bad that tears were coming down my eyes. I was like, God almighty. Like, I never dealt with anything like that. I called my manager after the game said, Look man, this thing hurt worse than anything I`ve ever had to deal with. We went and got it checked out; they saw what it was, and I came home and had surgery.

SLAM: And you`ve been hurt a lot of times in your career and played. So if this was enough for surgery and all, that`s enough for people to know it was serious.

AI: Man, let me tell you something: I`ve played through everything, and I`ve never felt nothing like this in my life. When I went to see Dr. Andrews, he wanted to do the procedure, but I wanted him to cut because I had a sore in between two of the bones in my knee. It was a sore growing, and he wanted to cut it out. They was trying to get me to do the surgery there and just cut the whole thing out, but Dr. Andrews said he didn`t want to risk doing it because if they hit a nerve I could lose my foot.

SLAM: How different is playing over there than here?

AI: It was a great, great experience. I had the opportunity to play in front of fans that probably thought they`d never see me. The fans over there were great. I mean, it`s different than the NBA but they are just as excited as the NBA fans. I`m talking about, when I tell you these people are into the game throughout the whole game and halftime, it`s amazing. The fans embraced me, and it was a great opportunity. But my whole thing is, that`s not where I wanted to be. I didn`t want to be away from my wife. I didn`t want to be away from me kids.

I want to finish my career out in the NBA, if that`s possible. And that`s in any capacity. I did a lot of things, I made a lot of mistakes as far as my actions and things that I`ve said, and I think that was the reason for me not being in the NBA. My whole thing now in trying to get back is letting any organization know that I`m willing to play any part that they want me play.

SLAM: You watching any Playoff ball and thinking, "Damn, I should be out there?"

AI: You know what, it`s hard. It`s hard to watch. Like, I try to watch it and then at times you`re watching and you get emotional and I get away from it, have a little moment by myself or to myself, and then I try to get back and watch it. I mean, it`s basketball - what I love. It`s what I was born to do. So it`s hard to watch, but it`s hard not to watch.

SLAM: What`s drawing you back out on the court? Just a love for the game?

AI: [Long pause; starts to choke up] I love to play basketball. I`ve always said, If I can`t do what I`m accustomed to doing out there on the basketball court, I`ll leave it alone. If I can`t be effective and help my team win basketball games out there, than I don`t want to do it. I don`t want to play the game that I feel like I`m the best in and go out there and not play like that, not feel like I`m that person. I don`t think it would be fair to my fans, my team, my organization, nothing. But when I look at basketball and when I know what I can do on the basketball court, it`s just hard knowing that I went through a whole NBA season and didn`t play when I know how much I can play. I`ll play for a team in any capacity just to get back out there doing what I love to do.

Moore fondly reminisces about the first time LeBron James and Allen Iverson met. It was the summer of ’03, he remembers because of the Northeast Blackout, and Allen and LeBron rendezvoused at a Ritz-Carlton in NYC. As a bright-eyed, star-st...ruck James stood slack jawed, Iverson made his way over to him, greeting the teenager with a hug and a few words of wisdom.

“Allen told him to be better than he was. He told him to not make the mistakes he’d made. To profit from having seen what Allen’s life was like, to profit from listening to him and to take this thing to the next level,” recalls Moore. “So it makes me proud to see the accomplishments of LeBron James right now because it’s a clear reflection of that conversation that Allen had with him and a clear reflection of the influence that rubbed off from Allen on to him.”

It wasn’t just James, though. While not every kid got to converse with Iverson, they were all influenced in some way—from the Questions they wore, to the ink they got, the braids they rocked, or the arm sleeve they balled in. Allen Iverson was an icon in hoods and suburbs around the nation. He was the NBA’s Jay-Z…and as long as his legacy is intact, he’s still not ready to fade to black.

SLAM: Even if it impacted you negatively, you never conformed.

AI: And a lot of that’s a bittersweet feeling. A lot of those things make me feel good, but I think I took a beating for them. I’m not bitter about it, ’cause I think I helped people feel like they could be themselves. I took that beating, and now you see guys being whoever they want to be. Besides Dennis Rodman, you didn’t see nobody with tattoos and all that stuff. Now you see kids having a million tattoos and able to be themselves.

I had my cornrows; now you see police officers with cornrows. That used to be the look of the suspect [laughs]. Now you see everybody with them: boxers, football players, you know what I mean? So that part of it makes me feel good because I know I had to take a beating for other guys to be accepted the way they are.

SLAM: Remember that first time you wore braids to the Rookie Game?

AI: Yup.

SLAM: What was that like?

AI: [Laughs] People thought it was thug-like. The first few people who saw it thought a basketball player with it was a thug, and that’s totally what I’m not. I ain’t no gangsta. Only tough guy I am is on the basketball court. Off the basketball court, I’m a husband and a father. That [other stuff] ain’t what I am. It was just, you know, the way the world is. The world at times, the way you perceive people and the way you look at people, you got to know who the person is. A lot of people think I’m the biggest ******* in the world, until they meet me and talk to me, because it’s a perception. Then they find out totally different.

SLAM: Yeah, the media helps decide what people think.

AI: That’s right. The whole situation with them talking about me having gambling problems? I haven’t gambled in years [laughs]. But they’re saying I have a gambling problem and an alcohol problem? I’ve never been reprimanded for any alcohol issues, I’ve never had a DUI or anything like that. I drink casually just like everybody else. But one person says that in the media and then everybody lose their minds.

It hurts that people say I went overseas to get the money. Like, nobody said that when I played for the Sixers for a million dollars. Nobody said that when I played for the Grizzlies for three million dollars. It’s just the fact that I went over there. No! I want to play basketball. What the hell am I going to do, sit home and try to get fat? I want to play.

SLAM: And nobody took the time to try to understand your side of the story?

AI: No, because you’re going to say what you want and think anyway. I feel like once I start talking and once I start getting into it, then people would think that I’m concerned about it. Only thing I did was put out a tweet letting my fans know that I’m fine. Because that’s the only people I’m concerned about—my fans, family and friends. I’ve always said, There’s going to be millions of people that love Allen Iverson and millions of people that hate him, for whatever reason.

Twenty-one years old, never had nothing in my life, coming into the League, I did a whole bunch of things that I’m not proud of, things that I’m embarrassed for. But those things I can’t take back. All I can do is try to teach my kids and other kids at camps through my experiences.

SLAM: Making mistakes, that’s part of growing up. No one can say they haven’t made mistakes in their life.

AI: I used to be bitter toward the media, but I’m not anymore ’cause I understand their perspective. I understand the perspective of somebody having a job. That’s just like if you have two commentators, or two people on a show, you’re gonna have one person that agrees and one that disagrees. That’s the discussion. People feed their families being what they are, that’s how I have to look at it.

SLAM: Were you ever bitter toward us?

AI: Who? SLAM? Come on, man. The top loyal people as far as media throughout my career?! I mean, anything SLAM needs from me would be done. I’ll never forget what SLAM did for me. SLAM gave me a whole new, different fanbase. That magazine made me more popular than what I was doing out there on the basketball court. Kids still talk about it. Kids still have the magazine. My manager told me about you, I said, Man, are you serious? I would love to do it for SLAM. You’ve always been loyal to me.

SLAM: The media has their opinion. Older NBA fans may have their opinion. But the kids have always stood by you, right?

AI: That’s one of the best things about my life, the way kids feel about me. And not just kids, I’m talking about these young guys that play in the NBA. When I see them, they grew up on me. The way they react to me is the same way I react to Michael Jordan when I see him, or Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas. When I see those guys, it’s just like being a kid in a candy store.

SLAM: And I see some of your game in the current crop of guys.

AI: Yeah, I mean it’s the same style. My whole thing is, I wanted to jump like Michael. I wanted to pass like Magic. I wanted to be fast like Isiah. I wanted to rebound like Barkley. I wanted to shoot like Bird [laughs]. I mean, you put all of that into one thing and there you go, you try to run with it. And I had to do this at this height; obviously they were doing that at another height. It’s like kids and young guys look up to me, that’s how I look up to those guys, the same way. And it just going to keep going on and on.

SLAM: You feel like you’ve got a lot of ball left in you?

AI: I think the sky’s the limit for me. That’s my whole personal thing that’s going to go on, just trying to get back and let the fans know I belong and am capable of exciting them like I’ve been doing for all of these years.

SLAM: You think anyone is going to give you the chance?

AI: [Deep breath] I don’t know. We’re going to work hard at it, but like I said, if it doesn’t happen, I promise you I won’t sit home on my ***. I won’t do that. I’ll play for somebody.

SLAM: You’re going to go out fighting, if you’ve got to go out?

AI: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the way I was taught, and that’s what I owe my fans. I owe just that to them. If they want to continue to see me, then I’ve got to put in the work to make that happen.

SLAM: I guess it all goes back to how you want to be remembered.

AI: That’s right. But you know what? The only people I’m concerned about when it comes to my legacy are my loyal fans. That’s it. Everybody else, they can say what they want about me.

SLAM: Family, friends, fans. That’s the bottom line.

AI: That’s it, man. That’s it. That’s it. That’s it.

4 comentários:

  1. Jorge Lincho19/06/11, 13:38

    O Iverson era dos jogadores que mais apreciava , contudo , os anos passam e eu nao sei se ele , caso volte , se ele voltara com um nivel aceitavel , e' certo q nunca mais sera o jogador q foi nos 76'ers mas se ele vier metade do que foi penso q ainda tera lugar numa equipa da NBA . Ele era mesmo fenomenal .

  2. Ele que vá para Miami para ver se ganha um anel :p

  3. Este jogador baseava o seu jogo na grande velocidade de execução e rapidez de movimentos, algo que aos 36 anos é inviável. Mesmo que adapte o seu jogo, o seu tempo já passou há muito.

  4. E o «lock-out»?