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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Time for Iverson to Go

Disappointed that the game meant nothing now that the Sixers were out of the playoff hunt, I went to last night’s game at the Wachovia Center because the tickets had been bought. As the day progressed, I was hearing more and more suggestions that it might be Allen Iverson’s last home game as a 76er, and the game became more than a night out. I had been at Doctor J’s last home game, and I thought it would be kind of cool to see (potentially) Iverson’s last Philly home game, too.

Unfortunately, Iverson apparently had other plans.

Iverson — and Chris Webber, if anyone cares — never showed his face to the Wachovia crowd last night. News reports later revealed that it had been determined at shoot-around that he would not play due to “injury.” Yet, he had played the game before, and while Iverson always has an assortment of injuries at this point in the year, he hadn’t sustained anything new.

I had intended to write this week that despite the way Iverson can at times come off as a confused kid who just needs some understanding, it is time for him to go. It hasn’t worked for most of the time he’s been here, and he’s still enough of a commodity to help the rebuilding process.

But now, it’s just time for him to go.

He snubbed his nose at us last night. As much as I’ll hate to see another former Sixer excel elsewhere, he cannot be part of bringing along a young team. He’s incapable of it. In fact, it’s time even his fans consider that he’ll never win anything.

This is a man who proclaims to play every game like it’s his last and desperately wants to win a championship. Really? This is also a man — over 30 years of age — who still hasn’t learned to avoid baggage like last night, the value of practice (yes, we’re talkin’ about practice), nor the fact that as a 6-foot point guard scoring 10 less points a game in order to distribute the ball to teammates might make some sense.

He’s also a guy who once showed up a half-hour before tip-off of a game in the NBA Finals. His excuse was that he was stuck in traffic. It never dawned on him — and his actions last night prove little has changed, not because of the game’s magnitude, but because of his immaturity — that most of those who truly want to win show up hours before tipping of in the Finals.

It’s nonsense that he’s never had anybody to play with. Jerry Stackhouse, Toni Kukoc, and Larry Hughes, have all played well elsewhere yet struggled with Iverson. Andre Iguodala has fallen off the map this season. Five coaches have come and gone.

All Iverson’s fault? Doubtful.

Time to find out by moving him instead of everyone else? Absolutely.

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