Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Deep-Sixed

Jerry Colangelo knows basketball. So does Coach K. But it is mind-boggling that they both overlooked the one player with more heart--and perhaps more pride--than any other American player.

Somehow, they chose to not invite Allen Iverson to camp for a chance to be on the 2008 US Olympic team.

In the words of the immortal Jon Stewart: Whaaaaaaaaaattttt??

AI was the MVP of the World Championship team in 2003. He was one of the few stars in 2004 to take the mantle (attention: Kobe, KG, Tim Duncan) and play in the Olympics. No one else wanted to, and the US had a disappointing bronze-medal performance. With all eyes on the biggest star there, The Answer, he behaved as a role model and played even better.

We used to be among the biggest Sporlihaters from the outset of AI's career: thug, didn't care about the game, didn't pass, blah blah blah.

But he has changed his personality, his outlook, and his game. Watching him in all-star games, you see Iverson turn into the true point guard that the Sixers have so badly wanted. Off the court, he has turned himself into a class act. Even more, he met face-to-face with Colangelo in January to basically beg for a spot on the team, something he should not have had to do in light of his 2004 performance.

There are 25 invitees, and only 12 spots. An exclusive team, no doubt. If all the stars that shunned their country in 2004 get spots, why doesn't Iverson? The guy at least deserves a chance. After all, that's what he gave his '04 team.

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