Boston Celtics: Allen Iverson

The transition from great to good

December, 18, 2009
Before it was announced Thursday that Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson would miss Friday's game in Boston, Celtics coach Doc Rivers spent a few moments talking about Iverson's return to the 76ers and what he's noticed from The Answer.

That led to an enlightening conversation in which Rivers talked about when an aging veteran knows his playing days are over. Joking it was easy for him because, "I wasn't good any more," Rivers suggested Iverson should hang around, even if great has transitioned to good.

"Here's the question: What if you're not as good as you were, but you're still good enough to help your team?" asked Rivers. "The average ones like me, we'll never have that dilemma. When you don't have it, you're out. But when you're no longer great, you're probably still good. If you can live with good, then you should play -- if you love the game. The problem is fans want to see great and it's tough for them to accept [good]."

So what is Iverson right now? Still great or just good?

"You can see him, he's rusty, but he's shaking it off," said Rivers. "I think he's great, but I hope he's good [vs. the Celtics]. That's the way I look at it."

As for the player's mentality, Rivers suggested Iverson should never stop expecting to be great.

Iverson out for Friday's game

December, 17, 2009
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson will not make the trip to Boston for Friday's game because of left knee arthritis and a left shoulder contusion, according to the team.

That means the 76ers will be without both of their top ball-handlers as Lou Williams remains sidelined with a broken jaw. Iverson underwent an MRI Thursday, revealing the extent of his injuries.

The 76ers (6-19) have lost 13 of their last 14.

"I kind of heard he was battling a couple injuries, but still playing," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "There would have been a great buzz in the building [Friday] to have Iverson back. But, hey, we've still got to show up and play."

Pierce, Allen on A.I.'s retirement

November, 26, 2009
BOSTON -- With Allen Iverson declaring his intention to retire on the eve of Thanksgiving, Celtics forward Paul Pierce found something else to be thankful for this holiday: The opportunity to share the court with The Answer.

"I'm happy to have had the chance to play against one of the top 50 players to ever play the game," Pierce said Wednesday night after leading the Celtics past the 76ers franchise that Iverson played the majority of his career with. "If he does retire, we had some great battles against him in the Atlantic Division."

Pierce then relayed a story of how he hasn't often ventured out to watch opposing NBA teams very often, but did take in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals when the Lakers tangled with Iverson and the 76ers.

"He was one of my favorite players to watch when I wasn't playing," said Pierce. "If he does retire, there were a lot of great battles. I'll remember the series we played [against the 76ers in the opening round of the 2002 playoffs]. I guess if he retired, we're saying goodbye to a very special player."

But does Pierce truly believes this is it for Iverson?

"I think he still has the heart, man," said Pierce. "I think he has so much left in the tank, it's hard to believe."

Inside the Celtics' locker room, the news sent Ray Allen on a trip down memory lane. Iverson and Allen's careers have long been intertwined (Google their names and you'll find a popular YouTube video of a battle between the two during a Connecticut vs. Georgetown game in the Big East).

The duo came into the league together in an absolutely loaded 1996 draft class (Iverson the top pick; Allen the fifth). While reflecting on memorable battles, like the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals, where the 76ers topped Allen's Bucks in seven games, Allen couldn't help but consider his own NBA mortality.

“It’s somewhat sad," said Allen. "He’s someone who’s been good for a long time in this league. He’s someone I competed with for a majority of my career. Not only do I think about him, but I think about my whole class and all the guys that I started with and fell off. Before you know it, suddenly it’s a generation past. It's like everybody's taking off and heading to greener pastures. And then they're looking back at me still standing here."

Of the top 10 players in that 2006 draft, only Allen, Marcus Camby (2nd), Lorenzen Wright (7th), and Erick Dampier (10th) remain active in the NBA this season. Of course, some of the top picks that year didn't come until the middle of the first round in Kobe Bryant (13), Peja Stojakovic (14th), and Steve Nash (15).

The Celtics took Antoine Walker sixth in that draft, one spot after Allen.

Asked if he thought Iverson had played his last basketball, Allen suggested The Answer might find those greener pastures overseas.

"It's hard because he had issues in Memphis," said Allen. "What are other teams thinking? It's hard to say. But overseas looks very attractive. If he still thinks he has basketball left in him, I'm sure he can make a good sum of money to go over and play basketball."

Doc not sold on A.I.'s retirement

November, 25, 2009
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers heard the talk about Allen Iverson's retirement, but said before Wednesday's game vs. the 76ers that he's not sure he believes this is it for The Answer.

"I don't ever believe anyone retires until they get to the point where they have to," said Rivers. "He had a great career, if it's true, obviously. I just don't know if I believe it, yet. I believe he still has something to give to the game."

Iverson said as much in a retirement statement posted on the Web site of Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith:

"I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association. I always thought that when I left the game, it would be because I couldn't help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However, that is not the case.

"I still have tremendous love for the game, the desire to play, and a whole lot left in my tank. I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level."

Iverson spent three games with the Memphis Grizzlies this season, but was used in a reserve role and left the team to attend to personal matters. The sides agreed to part ways and Iverson was waived.



Jeff Green
18.4 2.2 1.1 35.3
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.5
AssistsR. Rondo 11.0
StealsR. Rondo 1.7
BlocksJ. Sullinger 0.9