Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Updated: September 22, 9:55 AM ET
Allen Iverson to play in Philly exhibition?
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
Could Allen Iverson be the latest big name added to Sunday's star-studded exhibition in Philadelphia?
A source with knowledge of the game rosters says Iverson is "supposed" to play Sunday in a game expected to feature LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, among others.
When reached via email Wednesday, game organizer Rahim Thompson said "no comment" when asked about the possibility of Iverson playing.
Iverson is one of the most popular athletes in Philadelphia. He played parts of 12 NBA seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, leading them to the NBA Finals in 2001 while winning the league's MVP award.
Last season, Iverson played only 10 games in an injury-filled stint in Turkey after a lack of NBA interest forced him to seek employment elsewhere.
According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Iverson is expected to be in Philadelphia to host an event Saturday night.
If he takes the floor Sunday at the Palestra, the site of the exhibition, it would create quite a stir around Philadelphia.
But will it be enough to upstage those already expected to play?
According to event organizers, Anthony is scheduled to be joined by James, Durant, Paul, Josh Selby and Eric Bledsoe, among others, on "Team Melo," representing Baltimore and Anthony's Melo League.
Hakim Warrick will lead "Team Philly" and is expected to share the court with Tyreke Evans, Lou Williams, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, Kyle Lowry and Wayne Ellington, among others.
Game organizers have tried to lure Kobe Bryant, but as of Wednesday night, he has not committed to play.
The exhibition is the latest in a series of games featuring some of the biggest names in the NBA, which is mired in a lockout that threatens to affect the regular season.
On Aug. 30, a team featuring Anthony, James and Paul beat a Washington, D.C.-based Goodman League team led by Durant, 149-141 in Baltimore. Durant had 59 points in a losing effort and went back and forth with James for much of the game.
Ten days earlier, a team from the Goodman League featuring Durant topped Brandon Jennings and others from the Los Angeles-based Drew League, 135-134, at Trinity University in Washington.
It was after the game in Washington that Thompson began to organize Sunday's game in Philadelphia. He contacted sponsors and started to work on securing the Palestra, one of the most storied basketball venues in the country, for the event.
"When you think of basketball in Philadelphia, you think of the Palestra," said Thompson, who has run the Philadelphia-based "Chosen League" for 10 years.
Thompson also contacted Warrick, who reached out to Anthony, his former Syracuse teammate, along with other Philadelphia players, to drum up interest.
Soon thereafter, James, Anthony, Durant and others were on board.
Now, Thompson can't wait for some of the best players on the planet to take the court in Philadelphia Sunday evening.
"It's going to be incredible," he said. "The Palestra's going to be rocking."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.