NBA / Nov 25, 2009 / 6:55 pm

Allen Iverson Retirement Statement

Allen Iverson

While word has now spread around the League of Allen Iverson‘s retirement, Stephen A. Smith got up with the Answer to release a statement. While I doubt AI himself wrote this, you know he had to have been involved. You can read it below:


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.

Stepping away from the game will allow me to spend quality time with my wife and kids. This is a reward that far exceeds anything that I’ve ever achieved on the basketball court. I have prayed for this day and I see it as my greatest gift.

I want to thank the people of Reebok International Ltd., for always allowing me to be me and for supporting me my whole career through all the ups and downs. I have enjoyed 13 wonderful seasons in the NBA, and I am grateful.

I want to first acknowledge my fans everywhere, who have been with me throughout my entire career. Without you, there would be no me. You should all know that I appreciate your support from the bottom of my heart. Thank you!

To Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird, you guys gave me the vision to play the game that will be forever in my heart.

To my Mom, who encouraged and inspired me to play every day, and to all of my family and friends who stood by me from the beginning. Thank you!

To my high school coach, Michael Bailey, Coach John Thompson at Georgetown University, Coach Larry Brown and to all of my other coaches, teammates, administrators, owners and staff who’ve been a part of my career, Thank you as well!

I’d like to give a special thanks to the people of Memphis. I never played a home game for your beloved Grizzlies, but I want you to know how much I appreciate the opportunity given me by a great owner in Michael Heisley, and the support of the city. I wish the Memphis Grizzlies’ organization all of the success that the game has to offer.

And finally, to the city of Philadelphia: I have wonderful memories of my days in a Sixers’ uniform. To Philly fans, thank you. Your voice will always be music to my ears.

God Bless all of you,


Source: Stephena.com

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  • Judas

    No Dignity in AI exit but no one to blame but himself.

    Thank You AI for the ankles breaker, the crossover.

  • David Brandon

    damn, no more ai…

  • sh!tfaced

    He’ll be back before the season is over. Count on it. Teams just need some time to realize AI’s true value to the league.

  • http://nba.com momo

    Usually I’m left with a saddened-nostalgic feeling when a quality guy retires…but I’m just not feelin it with this one…anyone else feel the same? Is it wrong that I feel this way? What the hell is wrong with me?!?!?!

  • bluv

    Come on man, the NBA is making me mad. The used AI to sell tickets and jerseys and now toss him aside like his and turn their back on him.

    AI deserves more.

  • eolufemi

    The nba is full of savages. You make billions off the guy and his culture and when you’ve taken all you can get, you toss him to the side. Much love and respect for the passion he brought to the game. Can’t wait for his Hall of Fame induction.

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs before slamball

    And the nets can’t use no shooting guard help?

  • Q

    This is straight bullshit. Period. Him retiring now is like MJ in 93, leaving before their time. Only thing is Mike came back. Time will tell.

  • hater

    You get what you give… A.I. just stopped giving

  • gmoney

    @ 5 and 6…you guys hit it right on the head. growing up watching his entire career it’s hard to see him cast aside like this. but, it’s not entirely the NBA’s fault ya know.

    Look at Jamal Crawford. he’s taken his role as a bench player with great honor and knows it’s his way to contribute. if he can do it, why can’t AI?

    sucks to see the Answer go out like this though..

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Jamal Crawford was never AI…sucks he went out this way…

  • http://dimemag.com eyes

    @ Aron
    What do you mean by that comment ? Please explain.
    Breaking News….. Stern Retires. The N.B.A. returns to form. Read the book 40 million dollar slave. White man gets what he wants. The league has a great image wth a majority of BUMS & HANDPICKED PLAYERS. The majority of teams SUCK IN THE NBA. JORDAN,KOBE,ISIAH, AI. BE CAREFUL BRON.

  • http://dimemag.com eyes

    The same way players are blacklisted. The same should apply to namely Don Nelson, other coaches, scouts, and owners. Take over NBA EUROPE OR SOMETHING.

  • S-SiN

    This shit sucks! Fuck nba..

  • bluv

    AI should not be forced to be a bench player on the Grizzlies or any other losing team, especially when he is better than starter. Come on, what a joke. If he was on Lakers or Cavs and asked to be a bench player then fine. But he is not washed up and not the team killer that ESPN and other media outlets like to try to make him.

  • bluv

    Has any other player in league history went from All Star to unable to find a team the next season?

    He did no crimes, he was top 5 in scoring just year and half ago…this is a joke.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips


    What comment?

  • Guitar Hero

    oh man, my basketball-heart is broken.
    come on, he’s probably still a top 20/30 talent in the league. this is just sad….

  • Shrink This

    He’ll be back and playing in the not so distant future.

  • robmo35

    Wow Allen Iverson and Stephen A. Smith in the same room. I thought that if you got two such negative black stereotypes in one room armageddon would occur. In all seriousness though, I remember seeing Iverson in his prime and he is the one player, including Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Dominique, that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. If you did, you might miss something.

  • jheck

    it sadden me to see such a tremendous player to leave this game…i love AI play..his crossover…his rim rocking lay-ups (mainly because someone up to blocked that shot)and his style…I really love AI fashion….his dress to kill…what a style he has…actually I have 3 jerseys of AI one for the national syracuse…one from bethel..and one from philly…Anyway goodluck AI..We will miss someone like in the game…

  • obmb

    no way does he not come back this year or next. there is no other reason for him to issue a retirement statement like this when he gives praise to the Grizzlies fans. C’mon, what connection does he have with them? This is just an attempt to change the public’s perception of him so that he gets another shot.

  • Pdxballer

    this is tough. I always admired A.I. but last season I started to lose respect for him. He wasn’t mentally prepared to come off the bench and couldn’t swallow his pride. Like everyone else I mourn the loss of his presence in the NBA but at the same time I’m glad he has some time to humble himself, be with his family and gather his thoughts.

  • http://twitter.com/anthonyeladjo abpin

    he didn’t mention anything about detroit?

  • wifey

    The funny thing is that Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant are STILL two of the most recognizeable athletes of all time, along with MJ.

  • darkdefender

    no offence to AI fans, but this is the fate he chose.

    he was given a chance in detroit, and he blew it. he was given a chance in memphis, and he blew it. I don’t think he deserves another.

    no more AI pls. Good on NY for passing on this guy.

  • http://dimemag.com eyes

    Why couldn’t he write it himself ?

  • weezy f

    i got goosebumps reading that

  • boxcar rena

    Wow. Not even a week ago, AI was being castigated for being selfish, a prima donna, blah, blah, blah. You were all calling for his retirement. So he does, and now you all hate to see him go out this way? Really?!? Wow. Passive-agressive. He was a great player who could not accept that he may not be the biggest need on a TEAM. (Note, no “I”). I will always respect who he was prior to Denver. After that, not so much. His character became the recognizable personna, not his talent. I want characters in my fiction books, not games where it cost hundreds of dollars to enjoy a game with your family. He lost sight of who he really was, and decided that who he thought he was was more important. So not cool. Will miss his edginess, his balls-to-the-wall play, but not his recent attitude.

  • V

    Danm that was deep, the last statement bout Philly got me, i still dont believe this is happening

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    Good luck to Iverson,
    I remember watching him at Georgetown, through the sixers years, the Nuggets and all of that. This is a sad day for basketball.

    He got fucked in Detroit by a bunch assholes who refused to accept that their alphadog was gone, then they all wanted to be the top of the food chain. Rip Hamilton was a main reason Iverson was driven, Rip always seems to think he has more value than a dollar store Reggie Miller catch and shoot type.

    In the late 90s and early aughts, every kid wanted to be Iverson had the Jerseys and shit.
    Iverson held it down for the hip-hop generation and we just don’t seem to have that dude anymore. And if we did David Stern would suppress any individuality that might possibly exist by making people dress, talk, act, use the internet and sit on the bench in exactly the manner he dictates.

    I really hope Iverson isn’t done playing basketball, be it Europe, NBA, whatever.

  • Promoman

    It’s indisputable that Iverson influenced a generation of players. He instilled in damn near every little guy that they can shoot a 100 times a game, dribble all day, bullshit on defense, and talk about playing with heart. He’ll wind up being one of the most ovverrated H.O.F.ers in history when he gets in.

  • dvs

    AI is a tremendous talent, but he thinks he is bigger than the team he plays for and eve the league itself. Basketball is a TEAM game. AI never cared about that, and now when he should be concentrating on helping a team, he’s only building his ego. He shouldn’t go out like this, but he has his self to blame..

  • http://nba.com Ladanian

    Shit happens…guys slowly fade into obscurity in this league, then they retire… just depends how willing they are to take a back seat. Shits not that easy you know, because, once your a superstar, you’ll always have that swagger about you, and you’ll always expect to be starting or leading a team. That frame of mind is literally impossible to get rid of. It aint easy to be benched and have OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay Start (nothing against them).Not to worry though, tommorrow we’ll all be back to talking about Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, Lebron .etc. The guys who will take his place atop the food chain for now, and one day, thier day will come also.

    It’s the circle of life. A similar theme runs through family housholds (old= out of touch), employment (old= ineffective), and even life (old= death).

    Im not a pessimist, but I am definitley an absolute realist

  • weng santos

    I remember when AI first rocked that arm sleeve. Now everybody’s wearing one, and it has an NBA logo.

    AI made braids and headbands cool. Now the headbands have NBA logos. Red socks, Iverson. Now even red socks have logos.

    The NBA made so much from AI’s influence. Back when he was sitting in that Virgina jail cell, unable to go to Kentucky, waiting for a pardon, before John Thompson ever took a chance on him, did you ever imagine how big he was gonna be?

    And when he finally made it, he was always himself. That fire, that street cred, that edge, that underdog tag, that style, that’s what you loved about him. He never pretended to be anybody else; God made him without a mold, so unique. That individuality, it brought him to the top, and it will be missed.

    I look at Kobe and I see a fake, manufactured edge (sorry Kobe fans). I look at LeBron and see a freak with a freak-load of physical gifts. Duncan? A product of good coaching, ever since he got interested in the game. But AI? He was real, his game was his truth. Self-made from the very beginning.

    Damn. Just so sad right now. I wish AI wasn’t so stubborn, but hey, he’s been stubborn his whole life, it’s his way, it’s what we loved about him.

    Basketball means a little less today.

    Joe Dumars ruined AI’s career.

    Sorry for the incoherent rant.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Jewelz


  • Mario

    @weng santos

    Dude, by labeling the best PF ever “a product of good coachin” you revealed yourself as a doofus…

    Seems everyone else out there was on a mission to ruin AIs career.
    Reading some of the comments here you get the impression AI would have a ring on all of his fingers if not for all those haters who crossed his path during his career lol

  • Luigi

    you kno what…..AI was NEVER a cancer… its just the media portrayed he was….and in Detroit. AI was used as a scapegoat and “killed the pistons” when it was really their old coach.. everybody on that Pistons team LOVED AI. To be honest. id like AI to go to LA…play with Kobe for about 20-25 minutes as a starter for part of the 1st half and in crunch time. but dudes stubborn like crazy so were never gonna know what he could of been if he saw the glass half full instead of half empty

  • Ric_Hardwood

    @weng santos
    Dude, you hit on every point I wanted to make. AI changed the look of the game like MJ. MJ brought the baggy shorts and forearm band; AI brought cornrows, arm sleeves, and tattoos. Their style influence is all over the league.

    AI will be missed. And he did get his wish, he won’t be remembered as a bench player. He’s still capable of being a major piece tho’… the Lakers need to look at AI. He would be so much better than Fish as a starter…

  • nige

    All this negativity for a man who did nothing but play hard and actually gave his opinion when things weren’t going right.
    it’s easy to label him a cancer, much like Kobe when Shaq was there but he has played on mediocre teams his whole life and yet done so much for them and the game.
    This is an exercise in public image however, Rip Hamilton will never be painted as a prima donna even though he is a big fat singing one, because he keeps his mouth shut. be interesting to see hat happens when he wants to slot straight back in once healthy. will he be vilified for believing he’s better than Beb Gordon?? not likely.

    AI still has loads to offer and will be back, maybe he’ll give CP a hand (boy do they need a scorer). but for now this is a bigger loss to the league than people can immediately comprehend.

  • Celts Fan

    Wow… I have not been a fan of his game the last few years. He’s outta the league because to start him means you have to revolve your offense around him cuz he won’t subjugate himself for the good of the team. That’s fine at 24, but no one’s doing that for a 34 year old. He outta the league cuz he wanna be a 2 but presents TERRIBLE defensive mismatches. He coulda been a GODLY 6th man and played exactly how he wanted and gotten crunch time tick if the team needed his O and extended his career a few years, but his ego got in the way. Reebok had some short film w/ him and Nelly (made by Nelly) just w/ those 2 talking about their careers and shit and 2 major things stand out from that to me. The first kept echoing in my ears the last few months, “when I’m not on of the first 2 or 3 names on the scouting report, it’s time for me to walk away.”

    The 2nd, more telling quote was basically him throwing his teammates under the bus saying something like, “how I’m gonna score 50 and we lose?” In the end, that will be how some people remember him; a guy who would give EVERYTHING he had to win – but on his terms. People say he never had teammates forget a lot. While billy king was awful (putting it mildly) AI couldn’t coexist with Stack, Larry Hughes, Iggy, or Melo and make it work. He wanted it like it was in ’01. Let him shoot 40 times a game and everyone else can play D and shit. His game was tailer made to be a star but when he started aging and couldn’t be the focal point of an offense (or couldn’t convince a GM to completely change their offensive philosophy while stiffling younger players’ growth – not necessarily AI’s fault, but that’s an undeniable side-effect of the “let AI shoot all night and you fuckers do everything else, oh and you may get an occasional spot-up jumper” offense. Again, those things aren’t worth it for GMs for a guy that may give you 3 years.

    I don’t want this to be about AI hate tho, it’s not, but that’s how shit went down.

    I lived in Philly for 5 years of his apex 01-05 and there was no better show in town. The things this guy could do on a nightly basis made your jaw drop. I can’t tell you how many, “turn on comcast, AI’s gonna get 50 tonight” phone calls I made, but just know I was giddy every time. The man had the heart of a fuckin warrior. Remember those Wade “fall down 7 times, get up 8″ commercials? Some dude at Converse almost definitely got the idea for that shit watching AI. In the early 00’s, the toughest guys in sports were steve mcnair (rip) and AI with a bigger gap between them and the next guy than the one in Strahan’s teeth. I’ll remember the “practice” rant as one of the best press conference in the history of the press (and a gift that keeps on giving. If you’re telling me that even still when you hear the word practice and don’t immediately think, “we talkin bout practice” with a shit eating grin on your face, well I just don’t believe you.) I’ll remember him and Steph taking the ’01 ASG to another level, him crossing up the GOAT, the legendary stories of him staying out boozing all night in philly clubs then dropping 40 on someone the next day. I’ll remember a man who wasn’t really understood for his connection to his roots til it was almost 10 yrs in, then a man who was torn down a bit too vigorously by that same media that never could get what he was about. (not a fan of the mans game, but he’s no worse than mid-00s Kobe except he never had that CO accusation, I dont get why it was just him. Actually, ya I do unfortunately…) AI was real. No BS, no fake shit. What you saw was who he was, warts and all. AI was not a winner, but in my 14 years as a Celtics season ticket holder (well, mooching off pop’s tix, but whatever) there are only 2 guys that qualify for, “I don’t care how many times I’ve seen them before, I’m going to that game.”. MJ and AI. You never knew what you were gonna get with AI, but you knew damn well you were gonna see a man who was 5’10”, 165 (he’s walked right by me, aint no damn way dudes 6′, 185) out there among guys twice his size with a bigger heart than all of em put together. Dude was gonna leave it all on the floor whether it was a Dec game vs the Bobcats or the NBA Finals. Only knew one way to play. The AI/Philly marriage was a perfect fit. A tough, gritty, underdog city with a tough, gritty inderdog kid turned nba legend.

    The last 2 years have been unfortunate, but in a way it’s fitting. The 2nd best little man ever (sorry, but #1’s Isiah and this isn’t debatable)and one of the 30 best players ever. One of the toughest guys in sports history (fuck pound for pound, just 1 of the toughest period.). A misunderstood star that the media never understood til it was much later than it needed to be (even then, only some of them did.) We’ll remember the man who kept us entertained doing shit you didn’t think was possible for a guy that size – only he did it for 10 straight years.

    We glorify athletes, but some just know when it’s time to go. Who here fondly remembers Jordan on the Wizards? Montana on the Chiefs? Emmitt on the Cardinals? Ewing on the Sonics/Magic? Hakeem on the Raptors? GP his last 3 teams? We talk about guys like Barry Sanders and AI in a “what mayve been left” kinda way, but what if that was it? I don’t wanna watch the Answer playing 20 mpg for the Grizz or getting old with a shitty Bobcats team. Some people come into your life like a shooting star then are gone before you know it. Others stay long enough they burn out. AI shot through with a flurry of 50 point games and, “Did you just see that!?!”s that’s hardly ever beem matched in history. I’ve been critical of AI this past year but let’s not forget the first 12. I’ve heard stories that AI put more fear in other players than anyone in the league (yes including MJ, who got his too in AI’s “I’m fuckin here” moment) because no one wanted to get embarrassed and end up on Sportscenter as another of the Answer’s victims. Teammates loved him but weren’t huge fans of playing with him (for basketball related shit only – again, how’s this worse than mid-00s Kobe?) We’ll remember AI as one of the most talented players the game’s ever seen but also a guy that sometimes couldn’t get out of his own way. The anti-Jordan if you wanna call it that. Never pc or afraid to say what he felt, sometimes to his detriment but always to an adoring fanbase that loves that it was all real, all the time. AI didn’t win a lot in the league, but 60 yrs from now, I’ll be telling my grandkids about the time I saw AI drop 40 on the Celtics in person or the 10 or so times I saw him drop 40 plus on TV in Philly (just the games I saw on live TV!) Say what you will about the man, but for 13 years, when you turned on the TV, if you saw #3 with the braids and the tats, you KNEW you were in for a show and you did not touch that remote.

    Did AI help dig his own grave? Yes, of course. We all know this and there will be varying opinions thrown around in the next few weeks. Just know that that funeral’s gonna need 10 fucking stadiums to accomodate all the well-wishers.

    Thanks for the memories Allen…

  • Promoman

    Man, Iverson isn’t a victim of being misunderstood, racism, hate, etc. The man had all the talent in the world but he’s a selfish hypocrite. He bitched when asked to play within a team, practice, and take responsibility for his role in why he never won shit outside of high school other than an MVP. He never bitched as loudly when it came to losing. He knew how to say what people want to hear an people lined up to drink the kool-aid. All of the “bad teammates” he had either went on to win titles, multiple all-star berths, or had deep playoff runs/NBA Finals appearances after getting away from him. What’s happening to Iverson is the same as what happened to Steph: Teams are catching on that gunning ass point guards don’t win you the big one outside of the playground.

  • kevin k

    #41 is an idiot just like most of the GMs and coaches.

    MJ is the greatest player of all time but as a GM, he’s a fucking moron. Drafting Kwame Brown at #1 and Adam Morrison at #3 and trading Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse says it all. Still don’t understand why Bobcats wouldn’t sign AI.

  • Celts Fan

    @kevin – learn to read jackass. I never said the Bobcats shouldn’t sign AI, just that you don’t wanna watch him grow old on some shitbag team, toiling in the lottery.

  • Celts Fan

    And the Bobcats wouldn’t sign him cuz they have a ton of young guards that they need to give PT to. They’re not a playoff team regardless, so play the young guys and let them develop so they’re experienced by the time the Cats can actually make some noise…

  • Clarens

    NBA will never have a player like AI. My folks always told me “Whats make a man will always brake him”. You will be miss AI and You’ll always be one of my favorite player..

  • kowtz

    No mention of detroit or denver?

  • http://www.chicksnkicks.com andy@chicks_n_kicks

    he’ll be back with a contender for another run at the ring, believe!

  • weng santos

    @ Mario

    I’m a “doofus” for saying Tim Duncan is coach-able?

    I respect TD, and there’s a reason they call him Big Fundamental. He has the basics down to a science because he is a sponge who absorbed his coaches’ advice. The man started playing basketball at 16 years old! He was never gonna be like any other player who learned to ball in the streets when they were kids.

    TD is the great player that he is because he listened to Coach Odom at Wake and Coach Pop in the pros. His stamina and strength (even without much ripped muscle); that comes from his days as a well-coached competitive swimmer.

    Being a product of good coaching is not a knock on him; it’s actually an asset. Who wouldn’t want to coach TD? Who wouldn’t love to have him on his team because he’s so coach-able? And why is Duncan learning from all the coaches he’s had suddenly a bad thing?

    You didn’t have to see that negatively. Where as you calling me a “doofus” can’t possibly be anything but negative. Who’s doing the labeling now?

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    76ers should sign him for a farewell 2 years tour.

  • Cp

    Bummer to see him go, but I think it’s hilarious how many people note his style, as in appearance, as some sort of reason he should be recognized. It doesn’t change a single thing that A.I. “made braids cool”, or wore a neato armband.
    John Stockton didn’t just get into the hall of fame for wearing short shorts.

    Hope to see A.I. back asap.

  • QQ

    As much as I hate what he has done these past two seasons, you gotta give it to AI.

    Watching that 2001 Sixers team full of underdogs led by a thug hero reach the Finals… Damn.. That was one of the highlights of my NBA experience.

    Bottom line: He was that epic little cat among Giants, was the MVP, reached the Finals… No one can take that away from him. It’s just sad that some of his decisions led to this, with him not being able to continue that dominance he had in his heyday.

    Cheers AI.

  • DK

    Allen Iverson is one of the greatest players to ever EVER wear an NBA uniform. The league has been trying to disgrace him since day one and its never worked. He revolutionized the league. He made tattoos tight. He changed the whole swag of the NBA. Now every player and college player is completely tatted up. Thanks to AI. Shooting sleeves. Ni99as didnt even know what they were before Ivo. Now everybody and they mom rocks one. We wont even get into crossovers. Yea they existed but he perfected it and they had to ban it. For a 5 ft 130 lb dude to score like he did is unbelievable. Reaching the Finals and beating the Lakers in one game with Aaron McKie, E Snow, Lynch and Ratliff? The dude is amazing man. He made it okay for ppl to be themselves and not conform. Every short scoring guard in the world owes everything to Allen Iverson. They tried everything they could to break him down. Banned his moves, put in the zone, dress code, called him selfish, cancer to the team. How can you tell this man he’s not starting for the Grizzlies. Why did they pick him up then? Some players are comfortable with roles, some players can adapt to any role for the sake of the team, and some people have to start. It is what it is. Allen Iverson is not going to come off the bench. Period. I’m glad he left. You know exactly what you’re getting when you pick up AI. A small guard thats gonna get his shot up regardless. You cant say it doesnt work cuz the ni99a has went in on everybody. He saved the NBA when it was nothing. After Jordan left the NBA was dying for the next big figure and he came to the rescue. Kobe and Lebron are good but they’re pretty much carbon copies of MJ. AI came in doing his own thing and it worked. Hate on him now. I wont.

    Thanks Ivo for everything. There will never be another one. You cant find one roster without at least 5 players rocking headbands, sagging, covered in tattoos and with sleeves on at least one arm. Thanks to AI they dont have to conform. Not to mention he paved the way for ni99as like B Jennings to thrive like he is. I could go on and on. If #3 isnt retired in Philly I’ll never support them again, which I dont anyway because they suck.

  • http://dimemag.com eyes


  • http://dimemag.com eyes


  • http://dimemag.com eyes


  • QQ


    Perfect article about this AI retirement stuff.

    Dunno, if it’s been posted, but when I read it, I was like ‘Why didn’t I think about that?’.