No, really. Allen Iverson today touches down in Europe to play a little ball. Unfortunately, Iverson hasn’t finagled his way out of a just-signed contract with the Memphis Grizzlies and finally gotten with Olympiacos; A.I. arrives instead to promote his line of Reebok sneakers.
But he’ll be playing some basketball, too.
As the tour moves through Italy, Poland and Spain between today and September 25 – sorry for the lack of information here; Reebok has released frustratingly little information on this – a visit to Poland and Eurobasket has been confirmed. Back in August, Sport.pl reported that Iverson would take on sharpshooter Andrzej Pluta of Anwil Włocławek in a three-point shooting contest on September 19th, the day of the tournament’s semifinal games.
Local newspaper the Commercial Appeal adds that “The schedule calls for Iverson to work out with a professional team in Milan” (um, AJ Milano?) and that A.I. will be back in Memphis on September 25, as “The Grizzlies’ media day is Sept. 28, and training camp practices begin the next day in Birmingham, Alabama.”
Iverson himself is apparently getting pretty hooked to Twitter, yesterday promising on his page to “be working out” while in Europe and that “I am looking forward to working with the kids.” He also promises to “keep you all updated while I’m abroad so stay tuned. Visit my website for photo and video reports.”
Should Grizzlies fans (i know you’re out there – i can hear you breathing) need further reassurance vis-à-vis Iverson’s fitness after such a gig, Slam Online offers an illustrative story on A.I.’s last Reebok tour. “A few years ago,” writes Lang Whitaker (for the record, it was 2005, when Iverson was promotionally touring Asia), “a friend of mine had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with Allen Iverson. … It was just a few weeks before training camp was starting, yet according to my guy, Iverson never set foot in a gym, didn’t touch a basketball the entire time.”
Continues Whitaker: “my friend shared with me Iverson’s apparent lack of dedication to basketball. … [W]e agreed that with training camp right around the corner, it probably didn’t bode well for Iverson. Then the season started, and Allen Iverson led the NBA in scoring at 30.7 ppg while averaging 42.3 minutes per game.”
And so, as the monogrammed one himself tweeted, “I’m Out.”