One of the most explosive guards ever to play the game is officially ready to call it quits. Allen Iverson will reportedly announce his retirement in the coming days, according to a report Wednesday from SLAM, citing a source close to the 38-year-old.
Hall of Famer Larry Brown, who coached AI for six years in Philadelphia, told SLAM on Wednesday he "might be" the greatest he's ever seen and wishes he could've "went out on his own terms, at his own time."
“He might be the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen. I don’t think there’ll be another one like him ... I’m sure we faced a lot of obstacles, maybe even on a daily basis, but when it came time to play, to try to win a game, he tried to play as hard as he could for his coach. ... He deserves better. I wish he could’ve went out on his own terms, at his own time.”
"The Answer" hasn't played since 2011, when he appeared in a game for Turkish basketball team Besiktas. He played his last NBA game in 2010 as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that selected the Georgetown guard No. 1 overall in the 1996 NBA Draft.
Iverson spoke publicly at a Sixers game in March, saying that if basketball is not in his future, he's had a "great ride" in part because he did a lot of things "people thought I couldn't accomplish."
"My No. 1 goal is trying to accomplish to be the best dad that I can. And if basketball is in my near future, then God will make that happen. But if not, I had a great ride and I’ve done a lot of special things that a lot of guys have not been able to accomplish and people thought I couldn’t accomplish."
News of his retirement would mark an end to occasional rumors that he is trying to sign an NBA contact. In January, Iverson turned down an offer from the Dallas Mavericks' NBDL team, the Texas Legends, reportedly to hold out for an NBA deal instead.
For a career, Iverson averaged 26.7 points, 6.1 assists and 2.2 steals in 41.1 minutes per game. He spent most of his career in Philadelphia but had brief stints with the Denver Nuggets (2006-08), Detroit Pistons (2008-09) and played three games for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009.
The six-foot guard was named MVP of the 2000-01 season, the year he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals, where they won the first game but lost the series to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-1. Over the course of his 14 years in the NBA, Iverson also won the NBA Rookie of the Year award and was named an NBA All-Star in 11 seasons. He is also a four-time NBA scoring champion and led the league in steals from 2001-03, and ranks No. 19 on the NBA all-time scoring list.
Iverson is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2015, a moment that he told SLAM last spring will be an emotional one for him:
"If I’m blessed with being a Hall of Famer, it will be emotional. You can’t mention ‘Allen Iverson’ and don’t mention basketball."