Saturday, November 18, 2006

NBA: Iverson Is All Heart

By Steve “Supreme Commander” Cernak

"It's just terrible, what's going on in Philadelphia," Allen Iverson said. "I just feel like I've got to do something more than I have been doing to try to help this situation as much as I can."

Kevin Johnson’s story illustrates the lows of humanity. Shot three years ago for refusing to give up his AI jersey to a group of teens, Johnson became quadriplegic. His recent death was attributed to the attack as his respirator failed. Iverson then offered to pay for Johnson’s funeral.

Iverson's antics early in his career made him the poster-child for all that ails the NBA. He also had gun problems of his own. This led to ridiculous attacks on his character for wanting to pay for the funeral--years after said problems.

Funerals aren’t for the dead, they’re for the family of the dead. Iverson will lay Mr. Johnson to rest like a king. His family will know he didn’t die for the name on the back of 76ers marketing material but, rather, their son, brother, cousin or nephew died a man of principle.

We gripe over professional athletes not caring. In this case, the most exciting player to see live in the NBA gave back and it isn’t good enough. AI acts selflessly and gets blasted, which is appalling. Even worse, few are aware of this story like with Kevin Garnett’s $1.2 million pledge last year.

Where is the media coverage on this story? A safe assumption is that teens value mesh cloth because of the TV exposure Iverson enjoys.

But then again, ESPN’s sole responsibility is to sell more beer, trucks and other products males 18-39 thoroughly enjoy before the Budweiser “Lukewarm Seat” segment! (Please note the heavy use of sarcasm.)

AI always leaves his heart on the court and is my all-time favorite player to watch live. A list which includes: Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dominique Wilkins, David Robinson, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and many others while sitting at Madison Square Garden. AI tops the list because of his creative mastery with the rock.

That’s really all you should ask of a player: to get your money’s worth (In my case, $60 for section 300 to watch Stephon Marbury "star"). Iverson leaves his heart on the court every game year in, year out. Now, he is proves he is all heart off the court too, which isn’t good enough for some. While that is sad, it is far worse that powers to be allow this issue to be swept under the rug.

Thank you, Mr. Iverson. One man cannot end the gun violence in Philadelphia but, hey, it’s a start.

1 comment:

GilbertZ said...

I like your title. Iverson is all Heart. Never seen a guy give it his all so consistently....

That story though is heart wrenching. Iverson must be haunted bywhat happened. Poor kid. Poor family. So senseless.