News| Sports | Iverson ‘Not Bitter’ About USA Team Snub

News| Sports | Iverson ‘Not Bitter’ About USA Team Snub

Published February 11, 2008

Do you think Iverson's hip-hop image has anything to do with the decision to keep him off the squad?

Posted March 3, 2006 – Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson says he's not pissed at getting dissed.

When he got word that he hadn't been picked to lace up against international competition this summer, he calmly told reporters that he's already been there and done that.  Those competing on the U.S. international team will be invited to try out for the 2008 Olympic team.

Iverson, the NBA All-star and third leading scorer in pro basketball history, said he's looking forward to spending time with his family anyway.

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"I just wasn't picked, that's it," the 76ers guard told reporters after scoring 40 points in his team's 106-101 victory against the Houston Rockets Wednesday.  "I'm not bitter about it. I'm not mad about it... I'll get to spend more time with my wife and kids the next three summers, and that's a good thing."

Iverson, who was co-captain of the USA team that finished a disappointing third in the 2004 Olympics, told the Philadelphia Daily News that these days, he's more worried about rings than medals.
"There are so many things in my basketball career that I've done and some things that I haven't done. You're not going to be able to do them all. The only thing missing from my career right now that I want is [an NBA] title, and that's it."

Iverson As Scapegoat

Columnist Ashley Fox, writing in Wednesday's Philadelphia Inquirer, speculated that Iverson was being used as a scapegoat for Team USA's disappointing loss in 2004. The team, the youngest in Olympic history (averaging under 24 years old) was often likened to a street pick-up squad, where individuality was more important than teamwork.

Iverson, who as the No. 2 scorer in the NBA this year with more than 33 points per game takes his fair share of shots, is also is a league leader in minutes played, the number of foul shots attempted and made, the number of steals and the number of assists.

In her article, "What Aboout A.I.," Fox said that Team USA should remember that in 2004 Iverson, unlike many other superstars, ignored concerns about international terrorism and potential season-derailing injury to compete in Athens, where he was a top scorer and assist man.

"Given how hard it was for the United States to attract and retain NBA players for that squad, Iverson should be made a lifetime member of the men's senior national team. He should be able to play when he's 50 ...," Fox writes.

"No one wanted to play in Athens. Not Shaq. Not Kobe. Not Kevin Garnett or Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady or Jason Kidd or Ray Allen or Jermaine O'Neal or Kenyon Martin or Karl Malone or Elton Brand or - sheesh, I'm out of breath - Rip Hamilton or Ben Wallace."

Punishing Hip Hop?

When the league announced a dress code earlier this season, many saw Iverson -- known for his blanket of bad-boy tattooes and array of hip-hop gear (bandannas, throw-back jerseys and bling) -- as a key reason the fashion police stepped in. 

A reasonable question now might be, "Are the all-USA team honchos -- Jerry Colangelo as managing director; Duke University's Mike Krzyzewsk as team coach; and Rudy Tomjanovich as the lead scout --in cahoots to keep the hip-hop ambassador off of America's team?

Said Iverson: "I'll still root those guys on, hope they bring gold back. I'm just honored that I was considered to be on that team twice. I was put on the team once, and considered to be on it twice; that says a lot about what I've done in my career. But I'm not mad about it at all. They made their decision, and I respect it."
Do you think that Iverson's hip-hop image has anything to do with the decision? Click "Discuss Now" and Talk About It! 

Written by BET-Staff


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