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Uram: Allen Iverson’s “Did Not Play” Shouldn’t Be Surprising

If you polled a large group of people in their 20s and 30s and asked who their favorite Philadelphia athletes of all time is, quite a few would say Allen Iverson. I would be part of that group.

There’s no question the explosive and controversial former 76er gave his all every single game he stepped onto the court. It’s why a guy who only made it past the second round of the playoffs only once is revered with his No. 3 hanging high in the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center.

He was the hottest ticket in town during his time and earned that distinction.

That doesn’t change the fact his latest show in Philadelphia was a scam, whether he meant it to be or not.

Iverson didn’t play in BIG3’s stop in South Philadelphia this past weekend, much to the disappointment of everyone in attendance. His announcement came in an Instagram video that was posted about a half hour before the start of the event, a few hours prior to his team, 3’s Company, taking on Julius Erving’s squad, Tri-State.

That’s the first mistake Iverson and league co-founder Ice Cube made.

The rapper and actor eventually shared a few days later that he was informed of Iverson’s dilemma at 2pm, three and a half hours before Iverson’s post.

Their second mistake was not addressing the media about the situation afterwards. Ice Cube later tweeted that he and Iverson felt bad and owed one to Philadelphia. However, tweets are 140 character statements that you can take time to think about (though a lot of people don’t seem to think before they tweet). Not holding a press conference is bad business and ducking impromptu questions. Bad look.

Their third mistake was not providing details as to why Iverson’s doctor instructed him not to play. There was no official statement revealing the ailment. Erving later told CSN Philly that Iverson was experiencing dehydration problems, but who knows at this point? Ice Cube refuses to give a concrete reason.

He is more wrong than Iverson because of the delayed announcement, but Iverson is at fault, too. And that’s why you shouldn’t be surprised. Iverson might’ve been a fighter on the court, but there’s a reason he never won a championship. He lacked accountability. Sunday was an issue of accountability.

You can never take away the effort that man played with and the beating he took throughout his career. But, whether it was the reported practice issues, disregard to lift weights or adjust his game later in his career so he could be a role player on a contender, he never seemed to put much credence into those aspects of basketball. It’s a shame that someone with that much impact on the sport never won a championship.

“The Answer” may be fully involved with all the promotions leading up to each week, but you never get the sense he even wants to play that much, citing how his team has a better chance of winning with other players. That’s not what the fans want to pay their money for.

Iverson committed to this league and developing a fan base when he joined as a player-coach, saying, “I’m going to put my effort into it to make sure it can be as big as ever.” Strong possibility he wasn’t feeling well aside, Iverson disappointed the Brooklyn crowd as well by playing only nine minutes, citing his 42-year-old age. Clearly he didn’t get himself in enough shape after agreeing to become a main face, if not the face of the league. And if it was dehydration that prevented him from playing this past weekend, he should’ve been responsible enough to drink water beforehand.

Iverson’s legacy will stay in tact because of his remarkable individual career and positive impact on the sport. A bizarre 3-on-3 basketball league won’t change how people view him.

Yet, you can’t deny Iverson and his new team in Ice Cube and BIG3 came short this past Sunday, just like Iverson ultimately did during his legendary NBA career .

Before I forget…

-Eagles coach Doug Pederson is taking a lot of heat this week for telling reporters before the Birds broke for summer break that this team probably has more talent than the Packer squads of the ’90s that went to two Super Bowls and won one. I admire his confidence, find it foolish and need Ray Didinger’s audio drop of “Reality Check” as a response. I won’t criticize a guy for being honest, because that’s what you want from a sports figure, but Pederson couldn’t be more off base and is setting himself up to be a running joke all season if the Eagles struggle. Regardless, in the end he can say whatever he wants, but the team’s success will determine heavily on his decision making, something he struggled with his rookie season. The Birds can have more talent than Bill Belichick’s Patriots, yet if Pederson is failing on fourth down attempts or passing on points to be overly aggressive, it won’t matter.

-Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco is 11-25 since returning from the All-Star Break. If Franco continues this hot streak and flashes the potential everyone thought he had before going on a very long rut, what should the Phillies do? Should they cash in and deal Franco while they can get value because they fear he’ll revert to his struggles? Should they keep him on board and hope he stays consistent with this success? It would be shocking if Scott Kingery never made it to the big leagues in a Phillies uniform. Thus, he’ll either replace Cesar Hernandez at second or Franco at third. Who would you rather have: Franco and his super potential but likely regression, or Hernandez who will never hit the level that Franco is capable of, but will be a solid, professional leadoff hitter without the slumps Franco is susceptible to? I’d bank on Franco as Kingery can fill the leadoff role Hernandez represents admirably.

-Did you hear JJ Redick’s newest podcast episode on LeBron James’ Uninterrupted platform?  It’s one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever come across. Redick hosts this podcast, which is cool, but his latest guess was his boss, Sixers president and general manager, Bryan Colangelo. It’s Redick interviewing Colangelo about the off-season, part of which is why he signed the sharp shooter, how it happened and what can transpire in the future between both sides. Can you imagine hosting a podcast or show and interviewing your boss about why he hired you? Click on the link and listen for yourself.


Dave Uram is a weekly contributor to Philly Influencer. You can follow him on Twitter (@MrUram) and email him at [email protected].

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