Originally written on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 11/10/14

Earlier today, a new video of Allen Iverson began to circulate the web.  The video, which captures Iverson using one of his signature crossovers to shed a defender, was recorded in China over the weekend.  AI was in China not only participate in an exhibition game between the CBA-champion Beijing Ducks and a group of former NBA All-Stars, but also to negotiate a CBA contract of his own.  According to reports, Iverson has shown a fair bit of interest in playing in the CBA, where JR Smith, Wilson Chandler, and other NBA notables balled during last winter’s lockout.  If Iverson were to sign a deal in China, he’d be following a similar career path to that of Stephon Marbury, who has become something of a cult hero in Beijing since delivering the city its first CBA title.  Considering Iverson’s current popularity amongst Chinese fans, it seems that this could be the perfect place for the 37-year-old scorer to continue his professional career.

Problem is, The Answer appears to have lost more than a little of that MVP luster.  According to a Chinese article that’s been translated by HoopsHype.com, Iverson had a “poor showing” in the aforementioned exhibition game, scoring just four points.  The article goes on to state that AI’s chances of landing a CBA deal are “quite remote,” especially at his $1 million asking price.

According to a source who is close with Iverson and the other team members, his training was claimed to have been sporadic at best, and lacking any form of regimental training systems. His body’s condition appeared to be in poor shape, and was deemed to be unable to sustain himself in highly intensive competitions. With his current performance and abilities on the court, he would be unable to perform in the CBA. Therefore, his chances of joining the CBA are as low as to be virtually nil.

Is there any hope for Iverson to play in the CBA? This should not have been a problem, but has surprisingly become a major issue, which is turning out to hold a depressing answer. Allen Iverson recently played in a Beijing exhibition game and seems to be in poor shape. According to people in the know, he has been lacking in training and his body poorly conditioned.

The Beijing Ducks won the USA invitational team in an exhibition game, and Iverson scored four points in what could be best described as a poor showing. Despite his massive popularity, his performance was subpar, lacking his trademark explosiveness and offensive firepower. His speed, resistance and other physical factors had noticeably degraded. Iverson had earlier claimed to be in training for potential participation in the CBA, but it appears that the situation is not what he had promised during the earlier promotional activities.

The source also commented that Iverson maintained his usual sense of pride, despite the drop in abilities. He was quoted as negotiating an annual salary of $1 million with various CBA teams, which seemed to be at odds with the physical shape The Answer was in.

The source also commented that Iverson maintained his usual sense of pride, despite the drop in abilities. He was quoted as negotiating an annual salary of $1 million with various CBA teams, which seemed to be at odds with the physical shape The Answer was in.

Yikes.  Those familiar with the CBA understand that the level of competition pales in comparison to that of Europe, which makes this report all the more disturbing.  If Iverson can’t latch on in a nation where legend alone figures to make him somewhat marketable, then where in the world can he play?

The answer to that is nowhere, and I’m going to tell you why.

Allen Iverson has always maintained a stubborn desire to do things his way, and it once made him a hero.  Unfortunately, this exact trait is a direct cause of the downfall of his NBA career, and is what continues to keep him out of professional basketball.  In order to make a successful comeback, Allen Iverson would be forced to do things that are completely uncharacteristic of Allen Iverson.  Being that his beloved image has been built larely upon a refusal to change, I wouldn’t count on it… nor am I convinced that we should want it.

I think it’s time—actually, I think it’s been time—for the basketball community to accept that any successful return of Allen Iverson is nothing but a figment… a product of nostalgia and wishful thinking.  We must understand that the very reasons why we loved Iverson are the same ones that keep him dormant today.  When we understand this, we may have closure.

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