booyah Some Questions About "The Answer"

by the SportsHollywood staff

SLAM MAGAZINE: Why are you hounded with negative press?
IVERSON: I don't know. I have no idea. Because none of those guys [critics] really know me. I don't understand how somebody could say something negative about me like that if they don't know me. All they know is what they hear and read. They don't even know me.

Not as bas as you think.
Charles Barkley calls him "Allen Me, Myself and Iverson." The Associated Press reports that Iverson was fined more than 50 times for being late to practice, was suspended for one game after missing a shootaround, and repeatedly ignored the team's dress code. He was nearly traded at least three times in the last two months. Yet Iverson believes he is a victim.

One thing is sure: Iverson could have used better influences. He grew up in a gang called the "Dynasty Raiders." He had eight friends killed in one summer. His father, Allen Broughton, pleaded guilty to stabbing his ex-girlfriend in 1998 and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Another father figure, Tony Clark, was killed by Clark's girlfriend. And the man Allen now calls his "surrogate father," Andre Steele, was arrested on drug charges while driving Allen's car.

After he was drafted, Allen's then-agent, David Falk, said: "I think Allen is a very natural person and we're going to leave him alone. We're not trying to spruce him up or polish him. We're trying to project him exactly as he is, raw and natural. And I think the fans perceive him as coming across that way, not as an overly packaged, made-for-TV player."

Allen has never come across as "made-for-TV," unless you count "Cops" or "America's Most Wanted."

On Valentine's Day in 1993, 17-year-old Iverson and friends involved in a gang fight at a Hampton, Virginia, Bowling Alley. Iverson's crowd was loud and had to be asked to quiet down several times, and eventually something of a shouting duel began with another group of youths. A huge fight erupted, pitting the local white kids against the blacks.

It started as an argument between Iverson and a white youth. Iverson insists he left when trouble started. Another witness claimed to have seen him hit a white woman in the head with a chair.

Iverson was tried as an adult, and the trial became a media circus. Iverson and three blacks were the only ones arrested and his celebrity bore on the case. During the trial, Nike paid his air fare to and from its summer camp. In her closing argument the prosecutor proclaimed: "Now it's our turn to just do it."

Iverson was convicted of maiming by mob, and sentenced to five years in prison. Virginia Governor Doug Wilder granted Iverson a conditional release after four months behind bars.

In 1997, Iverson was speeding a in car with friends on Interstate 64, near Richmond. The trooper who pulled them over searched the car and found a .45 caliber pistol on the floorboard, a marijuana cigarette under the front seat where Iverson was sitting, and another joint in the back of the car. Iverson was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of firearms with a controlled substance (the firearms charge was dropped due to the small amount of pot).

Iverson's car troubles continued the next year when he was sued by the Mercedes-Benz Credit Corp for unpaid lease payments on three cars. The suit also asked for the return of the cars and for the total buyout amount on the leased vehicles--about $300,000. Iverson claimed that he couldn't make the payments because he hadn't received enough of his $3,000,000 salary, due to the NBA lockout. (He must have used up the cash from his $40 million contract with Reebok on groceries.)

Friends say that people misunderstand Iverson because he wears braids and carries a gun to protect himself. They say we need to give him a chance. So we ride with Allen Iverson on National Airlines flight 49 with an open mind...

Back to "Air Iverson"


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