Allen Iverson returned to his beloved Philadelphia on Sunday as a part of 3’s Company team in the BIG3. Iverson posted a stat line of 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists in a whopping 0 minutes. Even though Iverson is the marquee name in the BIG3, he did not play a single minute. Iverson is a player-coach for 3’s Company, with a heavy emphasis on coach part of the title.
Less than an hour before game time on Sunday, Iverson said that he had been advised by his doctor not to play this week. Even before missing the fourth game, Iverson has not played very much. Iverson only played for 9 minutes in his BIG3 debut, and has playing time has been limited. When he’s been on the court, Iverson’s play has been less than inspiring, averaging just 2 points a game on 3/13 shooting.
Iverson is 42 years old. It is no surprise that his basketball ability has taken a fall. But Iverson’s name appearing on a BIG3 roster was a reason for fans to get excited about the new league. Expectations were perhaps unreasonably high for the 42 year old who had not played competitive basketball since 2013. But is it unreasonable to expect more from Iverson? In the BIG3’s inaugural season, Iverson was billed as the only Hall of Fame player in the league as a player. Fans were excited to see him in action. A lack of playing time for Iverson will result in a decreased trust between the BIG3 and fans. Fans in Philadelphia chanted for Iverson to come in the game, and later those chants turned to a chorus of boos. There is no doubt a lot of fans bought tickets just to see their favorite former 76er play, and Iverson announced he would not being playing not a day in advanced but less than an hour before tip-off. The whole situation was handled poorly. Those boos that filled Wells Fargo Center were justified.
It did not have to be like this. Iverson should have announced he would not be playing much sooner. There should have been some sort of official announcement from the BIG3. But there was not. Had the situation been handled better, the BIG3 would not be receiving negative press. With or without Iverson, the BIG3 has fun basketball.
The BIG3 is a 3-on-3 league made up solely of former NBA players. Notable players include Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington, and Mike Bibby. More star studded than the list players in the BIG3 is the list of coaches. Hall of Famers George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Rick Barry, Gary Payton, and Iverson. Iverson’s 3’s Company team is just 1-3 so far this season.