Nuggets fans may not have loved everything Allen Iverson brought to the team -- but it's still hard to watch his slow-motion disintegration from afar without feeling melancholy about a player who defied expectations by being a perfect gentleman during his stay in Denver.
Iverson had already taken a leave of absence from the Philadelphia 76ers, reportedly due to health issues with his daughter, and been the subject of a divorce filing when columnist Stephen A. Smith reported that he was dealing with twin demons: alcohol and gambling problems.
A.I. has responded to these assertions in a typically modern way -- via Twitter. Here's what he tweeted about the latest rumors:
To my fans: You all know that my life isn't perfect. I am going through some very tough times right now, like I am sure that we all do
from time to time. However, I will stand tall like always with "rhino" thick skin. Even though I have become used to hearing people say
things about me that aren't true, it still hurts. I encourage you to continue your ongoing support and I want you to trust that this is
another obstacle in my life that, with God's help I will overcome. God Bless You All.
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Despite such confident words, this situation seems likely to get worse before it gets better, and that's a shame. Even though Iverson wasn't the player Denver needed (that would be Chauncey Billups), he never slacked on the basketball court, proving himself to be a player of great heart. He'll need that quality -- and rhino thick skin -- to draw back from the abyss. He may never play pro basketball again, but let's hope he gets to the point where he can excel at the game of life.