Race to the MVP Mailbag: Week 6
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Dec. 15, 2006 -- Hey Maurice, I know he hasn't played in a while but Iverson has to be in the top 10 in the player rankings.
- Jim in Philadephia

Have you ever heard of Allen Iverson? The guy is leading the league in scoring.
- Steve in Pennsylvania

Are you kidding me, there is no way A.I. doesn't still crack the top 20.
- Bob in Delaware

If the Sixers thought they weren't winning before, wait until they see what life is going to be like without Iverson.
- CP in New York

First place or in the cellar, home or away, close game or blowout, if the Sixers are playing, then I’m watching. Been like that for 32 years.

Growing up in South Jersey, the Sixers were the only professional hoops team that mattered. Choice No. 2 – the Nets – was never an option.

When word came out last Friday from Chairman Ed Snider that the heart and soul of the Sixers for the past 11 seasons, Allen Iverson, had “probably” played his last game for Philly, I became sick to my stomach.

Immediately my thoughts became, "Oh no, not again."

I’ve been through this before. It was June 17, 1992, a few days before I was supposed to graduate high school.

The Sixers traded Charles Barkley to the Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang (14 years later, I still can’t believe that is all WE got in that deal).

Watching my idol -- despite what he said in those Nike commercials, he was truly a role model -- pack his bags and leave town hurt.

It is funny how history has a way of repeating itself.

The City of Brotherly Love has finally run out of Answers.

Iverson, if you read the papers or listen to the talking heads, is rumored to be going to half the teams in the league.

Regardless of where he ends up, the Sixers certainly won't get fair value in return for the future Hall of Famer. How can they?

There aren't too many players who have strung together a resume that is equal to the one Iverson has built:

  • 2001 NBA MVP
  • seven-time All-Star
  • two-time All-Star game MVP
  • three-time All-NBA first team
  • four-time scoring champ
  • three-time steals champ

    He’s 31-years old, the age where a player who has a game built around speed is supposed to slow down. Yet, in the 15 games he played in this season, he has never been better.

    A.I. put up 31 points, 7.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds a game.

    Despite his brilliant numbers, the Sixers had only won five times in 21 games this season, including nine defeats in a row.

    But is now the time to trade him?

    Iverson is one of the few parts Philadelphia has that actually works, but at what point is enough, enough?

    While it would be easy to point out his flaws off the court (the unreleased rap album, the legendary "talking about practice" press conference, the clashes wth coaches, the skipping of bowling night with season ticket holders), I only see the good.

    I see the dude that left it all on the floor, every second of every game he played in. A player, who at six feet, dominates a game designed for success by players a lot taller.

    Every offseason for the past six years, Iverson has reportedly been on the trading block. And every offseason I’ve prayed that he stayed.

    As I watched the Sixers get roughed up, 101-81, by the Celtics on Wednesday, I thought about how the team just isn't as exciting to watch right now. It also crossed my mind what I was going to do with the six Iverson jerseys I have hanging in my closet.

    I guess I can put them in my all-things-Philadelphia memorabilia box -- the one labeled "painful memories". Open the box and you'll find the game program from Super Bowl XXXIX and three Terrell Owens Eagles jerseys.

    At least I know A.I. isn't headed to the Cowboys.

    Time to respond to your e-mails.



    Frank in Los Angeles: I would love to see the game of Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki play against your second string of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony. The first group is good, but I think your second team would be 10-point favorites.

    Brooks: Frankie, are you a promoter or do you know one? I'm not sure who would win the game or what this has to do with the Race to the MVP, but I would love to watch them play each other, too.



    Danny in Colorado: I heard a very small rumor that A.I. might go to the Lakers. First of all, how would Kobe and A.I. get along? I don't think they would get along very well.

    Brooks: Could you imagine the fight over who takes the last shot if Bryant and Iverson were teammates in a tied game with five seconds left to play? That would be great reality television.



    Mike in Utah: I know it might be a bit of a reach, but watching Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer is starting to remind me of John Stockton and Karl Malone.

    Brooks: Mike, go stand in the corner -- you are on timeout. While Deron and Carlos are doing their thing right now, let's not get crazy.



    Andres in Philippines: How is Dwight Howard of the Magic still in the top 10? I'm a fan of this big fella but I think after that poor performance against the Suns last week, he needs to drop out.

    Brooks: Andres, where do you work at? Glad you're not my boss, one bad shift and I'd be jobless, huh?



    Matt in Arizona: Amare Stoudemire seems like he is back. How much longer until I see his name in the rankings?

    Brooks: The Suns big man is definitely playing better than expected, but right now he's more of a candidate for comeback player of the year than most valuable.



    Tay in Wisconsin: I agree with most of your selections. My problem is that I don't see Michael Redd's name mentioned with the other elite players. Next week when you do your rankings, please pay close attention to No. 22.

    Brooks: There is more to hoops than just scoring. Let's break down Redd's last three games: he scored nine points in a loss to New Jersey, zero blocks, steals, assists and one rebound in a win over Seattle and one assist and two boards in a loss to New York.



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