Would it be good, or bad? A.I. playing at his ripe ol’ age of 36, in front of a couple thousand fans? In the D-League? Following a story reported last week about Allen Iverson potentially playing his way back into the NBA spotlight through the D-League, it had me thinking…this may just be the beginning of what’s to come. Iverson would be the most recognized figure ever to play in the D-League, a former league MVP, 11-time All-Star, and 4-time scoring champion playing amongst the players who would jump at an opportunity to fill a Luke Walton-like role. Iverson created the arm sleeve craze, could he possibly popularize a trend where former NBA superstars rehab their careers through the D-League?
The D-League has been a home already for former stars of the NBA, but never a former superstar. There are a few alleged reasons as to why a player like Iverson would want so desperately to get back to the NBA, the most popular theory being a financial motive. A judge in Georgia recently garnished funds from Iverson’s bank account to repay a $860,000 debt owed to a jeweler, is it possible that “The Answer” blew through his projected $200 million dollar-plus earnings from his career? Well, it is certainly not impossible, however, thinking A.I. would use the D-League to help repay any debt or help him retain some sort of financial stability seems very unlikely. A more logical reason could be the fact that A.I. wants to go out on his terms, with some sort of dignity, and a chance to express a sense of gratitude toward the league that once gave him so much.
Now the question may be, would the D-League want Allen Iverson? Well, for the obvious reasons (money and recognition), yes. However, with Iverson potentially using the D-League as a rehab center and a springboard back to the top level, others would likely follow. With the amount of crazy jack athletes are paid in today’s sporting landscape, and the ability to actually spend all that crazy jack, it isn’t far fetched to think that soon there will be another Iverson to follow. There has been recent discussion as to what the D-League actually stands for? Is it truly a place for development? Or does the “D” perhaps stand for “desperate” and the league only catering to washed up former stars looking at a way to pay off the crazy amount of debt they’ve created for themselves. Undoubtedly, this has been the D-League’s most successful campaign, but the question still looms, is the D-League in fact the true minor league system of the NBA?
If Iverson did indeed make his way back into an NBA uniform, arm sleeve and all, it would be a great boost to an already successful D-League season in terms of marketing. With the explosion of “Linsanity” and the whole world realizing he was playing in the D-League ranks just months before his breakout in New York, the idea of the D-League does indeed evoke an idea of players “developing” their talents. If a successful A.I. comeback story were to somehow intertwine itself into the D-League’s already successful season, it would likely be a unique and positive outlier, not a roadblock for the League as a whole.