Peter Vecsey reported in the New York Post this morning that Allen Iverson asked Billy King to trade him last Tuesday. Apparently he has confirmed this thru several sources. Philly media appears to be clueless to what's going on (Today's story on Philly.com was "Iverson, Webber hurt, may not face Wizards"). It appears that Billy King's house of cards will finally collapse with the removal of Iverson. According to reports Billy is frantically attempting to comply with the request and not only Iverson, but every member of the team is on the table. Billy's house cleanup so vehemently announced earlier this summer may finally be at hand. Sigh ... but it will not be enough to savage this season ... it won't be enough to save Billy's job. His hubris has been undeniable. To pretend last years team was talented enough to play in the NBA and repackage it again this season was foreseen as laughable. To expect AI to continue to leave his heart out on the floor every nite in spite of the team's glaring weaknesses is indefensible. Particularly after the talks of trading Allen in which he was vilified as the root of all the Sixers' ills.
For his part Iverson has been admirable. Earlier this season Stephen A. Smith foretold of this day, but his version called for a very public and nasty divorce. As a long time Sixers fan, I remember the Charles Barkley era. Sir Charles had no compunction about throwing anyone under the bus. It was a loud & mean spirited and damaged the image of both Charles and the franchise in the eyes of many Philly fans. I am certain it has contributed to the reason Philly fans scoff at pro basketball. The fact that the 76ers are the last major franchise to actually win a championship curries no favor.
But Iverson has not been a cancer publicly. Can you really blame 'em for wanting out? Have you seen what this 6' wonder does when he's on the court? The difference in size of the bodies he crashes into? The quickness he exploits that any 10 year veteran would envy? Have you seen it? You can say many things about AI, but you can say he is not still talented and you can't say he doesn't care about winning. That's a Philly thing isn't it? We want our athletes to care about winning ... not just the money and accolades.
No, AI has repeated the mantras of teamwork and loyalty to the franchise. But for some reason many still cling to the image of that brash youth 2 years removed from high school in his rookie season. Like Barkley I will miss him, but wish him the best. I hope he finds that elusive ring that Barkley never did. And I will cheer that day he is inducted in to the NBA hall of fame. I feel many of today's youth share those sentiments for the little giant.