No Answer

Iverson_flex Enrico Campitelli Jr. has bought only one sports jersey in his adult years. It's red, white and blue, with Philly on the front and Allen Iverson's No. 3 on the back. He never wears it outside; it hangs in his closet. But he writes that he's a better Philadelphian for having it there:

I never thought trading Allen Iverson would make me feel so emotional.  When I think about my love for Philadelphia sports, there are two guys that immediately come to the front of my mind: Allen Iverson and Donovan McNabb.  Sure I have memories of my dad taking me to watch Sir Charles and The Doctor, but it was Allen Iverson whose entire career as a Sixer I followed from start to finish.

I was 15 in 1996 as I watched Pat Croce go nuts at the NBA Draft Lottery show when the Sixers found out they'd get the rights to draft the scrappy guard out of Georgetown.  The Sixers drafted Allen Iverson with the first pick, and my hope in a championship coming to Philly was fueled by the lightning quick skills of the barely six footer.  Basketball was my first love back then, and The Answer was wearing a Philadelphia uniform.  A.I. gave me hope.

It doesn't matter right now what the Sixers got in return, although Bill King did alright.  Allen Iverson no longer wears a Sixers uniform.  It's a sad day for Philadelphia.

Adam Bonin, at a List of Things Thrown Five Minutes ago, remembers the man who loved the game, if not practice:

It's over. As one of Bill Simmons' readers put it last week, "If he plays 42 minutes in a game, he complains about the six minutes on the bench. He simply loves the game of basketball more than any other player in the league."

Forget the Eagles SB run and other playoff attempts; forget '76-'78, '83, '93 and even 1980 for the Phillies. I never had as much sustained fun as a sports fan as the Sixers' playoff run in 2001, attending six of the home playoff games (including the Toronto and Milwaukee Game Sevens, and the unbelievable Reggie-AI battle in Indiana Game 2), and I've never seen an entire city as in love with a sports team, and its leader, as that one.

I may have told this story before: I actually missed most of game one of the Lakers series because I was traveling with Jen in Portland on her first-ever book tour. (We did catch the fourth quarter and overtime.) The next day, we flew to LA for her next event, and we happened to be staying at the same hotel as the victorious Sixers. I spent about an hour that afternoon just sitting in a small lobby of the RegBevWil, reading the paper, surrounded by about six of the players and their kids. I just wanted to absorb it all, and didn't want to ruin my ability to be there by declaring my fandom and interjecting myself in the scene. (And then, back in Philadelphia, I went to the game where we booed Destiny's Child.)

I keep circling around Iverson, so let me get to the point: the key to understanding Philadelphia fans is that what we appreciate, more than anything else, is stuff that looks like effort. It explains why Scott Rolen was never loved like Lenny Dykstra, and Brian Westbrook gets far more dap than Ricky Watters ever did. And no one gave more effort, and made it show here, than Allen Iverson. No one played hurt more, threw his body around more, willed his teams to win more. I lived in Chicago during the second Jordan run -- but, I'm telling you, Iverson was more gripping to watch.

I'm not sad today, because he's finally free of Billy King's nonsense and this team's mediocrity, and I hope he wins the ring he deserves in Denver. No matter what, we've got great memories -- here's one set of Top 10 Plays, a montage of crossover moves, and, sure, watch him talk about practice. 

Anya at Metroblogging Philadelphia goes short and sour:

I feel a emptiness inside because I love Iverson, but I too think its time for him to move on. He won't get a ring with the team here in Philly and I do think he deserves at least one. He is the T.O. of basketball so I can't wait to see the trouble he gets into over there.

Ryan Reads The News recognizes much of a city - and of himself - in the under-sized All Star:

Allen Iverson, despite hailing from the Hampton/Newport News area of Virginia, and coming to Philly via Georgetown, is Philadelphia.  The City of Brotherly Love is an afterthought, a red-headed stepchild, always lurking in the giant shadow cast down by its neighbor to the Northeast- New York City.  Philadelphia is smack dab in the middle between Washington D.C. and New York City, the capital of the United States and (for all intents and purposes) unofficial capital of the world.  It's easy to be overlooked.  We're always trying to assert our independence.  Once the cultural, political and actual capital of the country, Philadelphia lapsed into relative obscurity in the 20th century.  The situation became even worse in the new millennium.  What are we known for?  Cheesesteaks.  That's right- the concept of shredded beef and melted cheese on a roll is the symbol of Philadelphia.  A place that houses the Liberty Bell, boasts one of the world's greatest art museums, and has influenced not only America's culture but can actually make the claim that it created America itself, is best known for a soggy roll filled with cheese whiz.  New York has the Statue of Liberty, D.C. has the White House, and we have meat and cheese.  We have Pat's Steaks.

I relish being overlooked.  I champion the cause of the underdog.  I love being the one counted out, not believed in.  I like when people tell me I can't do something.  I like when they tell me I'm not smart enough or don't have the results, or that something is beyond my reach.  I love when someone doubts me.  It fuels me.  It gives me fire.  It's made me who I am.

The Phanatic devotes a few inches to the basketball aspect - what Denver gets, what Philly gets, or is promised. But most of Jared Trexler's post has to do with What Allen Iverson, the icon, meant to this place:

Iverson didn't convey his thoughts with alliteration and run-on metaphors. His points were simple, blunt, POWERFUL. He defined a race in a city with every tattoo, some with generational ties and others with messages of struggle and success.

Unlike those with the same roots, the street wasn't his family. His FAMILY was his FAMILY.

Iverson is older than most of his friends. Mostly because many succumbed to the dangers associated with poverty, crime, and life spent around coke instead of on the couch.

A.I. -- the one bouncing his daughter off his knee? Or A.I. -- the mugshot following arrests for marijuana and gun possessions?

Truth be told, he's both. A hoop artist with a sweet 401(k) plan on the court, a confetti artist with a tough edge and short fuse off it.

"I worry about him all the time," former Sixers president Pat Croce once said. "All the time, when he's not in our sanctum or where I can see him."

A.I., still a little kid wearing big shoes.

Posted 12/20/2006 09:00:58 AM


Posted 12/20/2006 09:13:49 AM

From today until the day he retires, I am a Nuggets fan.

New Denver Nugget Fan - dmw - Philadelphia
Posted 12/20/2006 09:22:04 AM

It is a sad day in Philadelphia sports. I will miss seeing Allen in a Sixers uniform, but will continue to follow him in Denver (courtesy of NBA League Pass). I am happy that he was traded to a team w/playoff, possilby, championship hopes. Just hope that all of his blood, sweat, broken bones, and tears will not go un"Answered" when he decides to retire. I would LOVE to see his jersey hanging in the rafters along with the other Sixers greats - he's earned that right. A.I., best of luck to you and your family. The timing couldn't have been worse - The Holiday Season. But, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you, your family and your new professional family. I will continue to follow your career. Do well and GET THAT RING (you deserve it)!!

Posted 12/20/2006 10:11:39 AM

Now that's dedication...interrupting vacation to cover the story. Here's my two cents: post or address (if link didn't work)

AI fan
Posted 12/20/2006 10:44:34 AM

I am going to miss AI. He was impressive to watch play and although he has a rocky start, he matured and was a true leader on the court. He was the one who still played in the Olympics when LaBron and Carmelo turned down the opportunity to play for our country. AI plays hurt, and gets knocked around and just keeps going. A true loss for Philadelhia, but I wish him all the luck. He'll probably go and do what so many others have done when they left Philly, won a championship, he sure wasn't goign to do that here, especially with Billy King in the organization. Billy King is the idiot that needs to leave the organization. That should have happened years ago.

Posted 12/20/2006 11:39:54 AM

Thank you AI for bring Sixer basketball back. Sorry the team was mismanaged into what it is now. I will cheer for you and hope you can get the ring you deserve. I wish that all the players in the philly had your heart. good luck

Posted 12/20/2006 11:48:15 AM

In the overdone coverage of Alan Iverson’s trade to Denver, there has been too little attention to and appreciation of Andre Miller, the key player the 76ers received in exchange. Unlike Iverson, Miller is the ultimate team player. On the University of Utah’s potent teams of 1996-98, the Utes’ high-scoring big men, none of whom has made a significant impact in the NBA, got the headlines. But it was Miller as point guard who made those teams go. He is the type of player who can make his teammates better while carrying his share of the load in scoring, rebounding and defense. That’s why Denver was reluctant to let him go. In my opinion the 76ers got the better of the deal. They gave up a lot of scoring but they got rid of a "me first" player who caused far too much turmoil and insisted on playing by his own rules instead of the team’s. In return they got an unselfish, steady, durable and productive player who can play a key part in rebuilding the team. The Nuggets got themselves another scorer but in the long run will have bought themselves trouble. It’s hard to envision Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, the top two scorers in the league, sharing the ball. And the other three starters will be out there primarily because they have to have five players on the floor.

Posted 12/20/2006 03:10:54 PM

you people are unbelievable - if he wasnt as talented on the court would skipping practice, dis-obeying your boss, getting caught with drugs, guns, parking in handi-capped spaces, etc all be acceptable? hypocrytes!! good riddance - enjoy the Canswer city of Denver

Posted 12/20/2006 03:19:19 PM

Where to begin? I've been a fan of the Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers since I was 8 or so. I watched Wilt and Bill Russell destroy that rim in Boston Garden on unrecorded TV, if that gives you some idea. Traditionally, Philly fans have been demanding and tough - a lunch bucket crowd in a lunch bucket city. We have not been tolerant of either mediocrity or lack of effort from players or management - in return for our hard earned dollars, we expect more, much more. We bust our butts; we expect our teams to bust theirs. We once tried to administer a snowball enema to Santa Claus when we perceived we had been shortchanged. But our impatience had a positive side, as well - we rewarded effort and sacrifice with cheers and adulation, even when those traits failed to result in a win, or a championship. What mattered to us most was game time heroics - by and large we knew the fallacy of placing professional athletes on pedestals as role models, and had little interest in players' private lives. I don't know where that went. Today, we allow ignorant and idiotic talk hosts and columnists, who are largely glorified gossip columnists and hypocritical moralizers, to tell us what we think. We complacently sit by while front offices gut their product before our eyes, then blindly accept the lame justifications and promises they offer. While Philly fans remained true to their heritage, we were blessed by a long line of players who gave their all in a game; who "left it on the floor"; and who, even when seriously injured, practically had to be chained to the bench to keep them on the sidelines. I sense that a sea change may have taken place, and that that kind of Philly player, Philly fan, Philly team may be gone, never to return. Allen Iverson is the epitome of the old-time Philly player. Maybe the best. Maybe the last. Best of luck, Allen! And good move Denver! It's pretty obvious who got the best of this trade. The Sixers get one more mediocrity to compliment a roster full of the same, and some cap space. Oh, and the draft choices, how could I forget? So, we are supposed to believe that Billy King can rebuild this franchise into a contender with three first round choices? BTW, the Sixers own first round choice, the one that is making the naive take up the Greg Oden chant, is conditional. From what I have read, if the Sixers finish well enough that their own pick is better than #15, it reverts to Golden State. Leaving two in the hands of a GM, who in NBA draft terms, couldn't find his derriere with both hands, a hunting dog, and the "Home Guide to Proctology, Large Print Edition".

daniel rubin
Posted 12/20/2006 06:02:21 PM

that was beautiful

Posted 12/20/2006 06:18:00 PM

DAMN DAMN DAMN He was my last hope for philly sports all our colleges suck the baseball team sucks the hockey and football teams are choke artists . All we had to do was draft some good players around him and we would have a few championships....And to the other posters who claim him a thug and punk what other player gives you 200% every game hurt or not ..You guys arent from philly anyway because AI was the heart and now he's gone well at least i can root for the STEELERS

Posted 12/20/2006 07:38:46 PM

I can't believe it's 2007 already. My calendar is waaaay off. And I must have slept through Christmas.

daniel rubin
Posted 12/21/2006 08:01:22 AM

ok, so I blogged while on vacation. it was important. if i didn't, then the terrorists have clearly won.

Ryan E. Pine
Posted 12/21/2006 09:14:42 AM

Daniel, Please read my article on Allen Iverson entitled, "So Long, Bubbachuck, And Thanks For All The Shoes" at my site: Thanks and keep up the great work.

daniel rubin
Posted 12/21/2006 09:36:22 AM it's good. where'd you come from?

Posted 12/22/2006 07:36:08 AM

I was at Game 4 in the luxury box (a gift to my Dad from some higher-ups). I thought we were booing Destiny's Child because one of them had a Laker's jersey on. At least that's why I booed them.

Posted 01/03/2007 01:59:41 AM

Bye, Bye AI and your, "I never met a shot I didn't take and I never met a pass I wanted to make," attitude. AI did energize the Philly pro basketball scene for a good while but obviously wasn't interested in becoming a statesman for the game like Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, etc. AI didn't like playing defense, practicing, attending fan appreciation functions, coupled with his complaining to the refs while the other team ran down the floor on offense, along with AI's fifty-plus percent misses and his, "I deserve respect, why didn't the team want to try it my way (for the umpteenth time)" mantra and you've got an "it's all about me" over-coddled, over-indulged "superstar." While AI might be one of the most talented NBA players to not win a championship (e.g. Pete Maravich, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Alex English, Dominique Wilkins, etc.), he still has a chance if he learns to be a true team player. However, expecting AI to conform to the whole team concept thing in order to win a championship is like getting the world to turn the opposite way, there's a real good chance it's not gonna' happen.

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