is that your Final Answer?

guest post and artwork
by Michael Lagocki

"A starring role as a reserve on a title team would have been the quintessential ending to his erratic, yet sensational career. He would get a final chance to score, captivate, and prove that the force driving him all these years was, indeed, winning.
Unfortunately, the same stubbornness which made him so brilliant is also what will prevent us from ever getting to see that happen."

-Adam Stanco

I hope he's wrong. I've always loved Allen Iverson. My Dad first turned me on to him. Dad's a fierce fan of Philadelphia Sports and loved Iverson for his tenacity, his drive, and his willingness to throw his body amidst defenders with much more size and strength. It had an affect on me to see how quickly my Dad became a dedicated Iverson fan, despite the cornrows, tattoos and thug attitude (all things I would typically expect my Pops to despise). At the end of the day, if you played fearlessly, with that much passion, nothing else mattered.
Monday night Allen Iverson will return as a player for the Philadelphia 76ers, in a game against his former Denver Nuggets. That game will be broadcast on NBATV. I've been following the news on AI for the past several weeks. I've been annoyed by a lot of bad sportswriting (many writers I was reading kept bringing up Philadelphia's proximity to Atlantic City- sigh). I've also been struck by how AI's former teamates and coaches from John Thompson, to George Karl, to Larry Brown, to Mello, to Eric Snow all have commented that they think AI should return to the league and can still contribute at a contending level.

I'm happy this story is returning to the city that it started in. Philly has great love for AI. As bad as things have gotten, this is a chance for him to return to a team where he has a legacy, and a lot of support. I'm happy for my Dad. Philly's been loosing a lot of games by one or two points lately. He'll be a lot happier when they start winning those games.
I'm throwing my bet behind AI's success: that he'll improve their game, will stabilize himself, and will still be there at the end of the season (maybe even in a playoff spot). I'm willing to make that bet, not just because it's possible, but because I'd really love to see it happen.
Thinking about all this, I drew this portrait (based on an uncredited photo I found online).
-Micheal Lagocki is one-fifth of the mighty GhostWerks crew, as well as being the driving force behind the pleasantly notorious art activist massive called ArtLoveMagic, dedicated to overcoming Evil with good art.


Leonard Lagocki said...

My son Michael got it right. Allen Iverson, future hall of famer lb fo lb the toughest player in the game. Took on the giants of the game with a never give up attitude and desire for winning. The true Philly fan never wanted to see him go, proven by the fact that withing hours of the signing announce the Wachovia Center was sold out, standing room only. This from a team, which I respect for its run and gun ability. Allen will be welcomed back with open arms from a city that loves him. There will be sparks flying tonight. The Answer is back.

Corance said...

I'm excited about AI too. However, I have seen no evidence that he's learned to play team ball, which is sad for a 35 year old man.

Having said that, I'd love too see him bring the 76ers back to glory.

samax said...

Iverson has never had a problem playing team ball. Ask players that have played with him. Iverson is a scorer, and there's nothing wrong with(or unique about) that.

Iverson is a weapon. good coaches learn how to work him into an offense.

Art Love said...

The game showed promise. AI was a little TOO unselfish (gonna need his foul line scoring), and needed a bit more legs (to be expected). But the rest of the team clearly responded, and they fought off one of the best teams in the league for three quarters.

Not sure about the coaching in Philly though. Teams that loose lots of games by one or two points, or go really long stretches without scoring (over 11 minutes of game time last night) always leave me questioning the coaching situation.

samax said...

i feel pretty much the same way. But that coach is at least decent. he coached Washington a couple years (they had too many injuries for their bad record to be his fault), but i think he's okay. he leans toward being a player's coach, which is good for Iverson.

if they can get Iverson's legs back under him, and be smarter about how they use him, it can make a big difference. any team that can play d can get some things done, as far as respectable records and making the playoffs.

I think this coach's demeanor will work with Iverson. He did well with the wizards, who had multiple alpha-type players with minutes and scoring to balance.

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