Iverson officially calls it a career
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Allen Iverson officially called it a career on Wednesday, announcing his retirement more than three years after playing his final NBA game with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Iverson last played in February 2010 with the Sixers, his second go-round with the club that selected him with the first overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft. He was the NBA's top rookie in 1996-97 and won the league's MVP in 2000-01, a season in which he led Philadelphia to the NBA Finals.
"I thought once this day came, it would be basically a tragic day," Iverson said at a news conference at the Wells Fargo Center. "I never imagined the day coming, but I knew it would come. It is a happy day for me. I always thought this would be a tough day, but it is a happy day."
Iverson also played for Denver, Detroit and Memphis during his 14-year career, but will always be remembered as a Sixer. He spent his first 10 full seasons in Philadelphia and was a charismatic and sometimes controversial character.
An All-Star seven times in his first stint with the 76ers, he often traded verbal jabs with media members. Among his most memorable rants was about not practicing, as he went off for more than a few minutes saying over and over, "We're talking about practice, not the game, about practice."
Now 38, the Georgetown product and native of Hampton, Virginia said he had no regrets and wouldn't change anything about his career.
"I don't have any (regrets)," Iverson said. "Would I change anything? No. My career was up and down at times. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things I'm not proud of ... I can't take any of it back."
Iverson finished his career with averages of 26.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 914 NBA games. He was traded to Denver early in the 2006-07 season and remained with the Nuggets until being dealt to Detroit early in the 2008-09 campaign.
After signing with Memphis before the start of the 2009-10 season, Iverson was unhappy with a role of coming off the bench for the Grizzlies and eventually signed again with Philadelphia in December 2009. He played just 25 more games with the 76ers and was voted to the Eastern Conference All-Star team before personal issues forced him to the sideline.
"I gave everything I had to basketball," Iverson stated. "The passion is still there, the desire (to play) is just not."
Iverson thanked the fans, as well as his former teammates and coaches, particularly college mentor John Thompson and former Sixers coach Larry Brown. Thompson, the longtime Georgetown coach, was in attendance on Wednesday.
"Coach Thompson gave me the opportunity when nobody else would and believed in me," the former Hoya star stated. "He basically saved my life and helped my dream come true. He taught me the college game."
As for Brown, Iverson said the nomadic coach made him the star NBA player he became.
"Early in my career, I didn't take criticism the right way, but it was always love from him," Iverson said about Brown. "He was there to try to help me become the player I wanted to be. He took me to MVP status."
Overall, Iverson was an 11-time All-Star and was the game's MVP in 2001 and 2005. He led the league in scoring four times and was an All-NBA First-Team selection three times and a Second-Team choice on three occasions.
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