Great Sports Writing: “Allen Iverson: Fallen Star”

Last week Philadelphia Magazine ran a piece detailing the new life of former NBA superstar Allen Iverson as he attempts to resurrect his basketball career in Turkey. In the work, writer Robert Huber details his journey to the foreign country to meet with AI. While there he finds striking parallels and differences between Iverson’s new life and the one he left behind. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how Iverson’s doing over there or if you’d like an inside glimpse of what life used to be like for AI, this is a must read. It leaves you wondering whether a player like Iverson was meant to burn out or fade away. From Philadelphia Magazine:

I go up to a young woman in a tank top and impossibly tight jeans and three-inch shiny black heels, who’s having a drink with another woman and a man. She is dark and beautiful. I ask her if she speaks English. Yes. I tell her I’m in Istanbul to write about Allen Iverson. She smiles a bit of a devilish smile.

“I met him last night.”

The hottest girl in the hottest club, 24 years old. Allen Iverson has already met her. She’s a dead ringer for the character Sloan in Entourage — the same prettiness and almost over-the-top sexiness coupled with sweetness and, I quickly find out, smarts.

Along with her friend, the silent Turk to my right, she went to Iverson’s first game in Istanbul the night before, in a home arena so tiny — it seats 3,200 — she could easily find Iverson’s manager, Gary Moore, and tell him how she studied at Georgetown. Iverson’s school! So Moore naturally invited her to join Iverson and his crew at their post-game haunt, the place where he’s been hanging out with his slightly downsized America-to-Istanbul posse, in this lovely ancient city:
T.G.I. Friday’s.

That’s where Iverson lands every night, for all of his first week in Istanbul.


Of course she went, and spent a couple of hours. She found Iverson kind of cold. He said hello, but that was about it. He played cards. He drank Corona. She ended up talking to Moore. Clearly she wanted a little more than that.

I tell her about Iverson’s nightlife in America — how he used to go to a Friday’s on City Avenue all the time, and when things got a little chaotic there, when it was no longer so cool for Iverson to drink 40s out of a bag, leaning against his Bentley parked in a handicapped spot, he slipped across the street to Houlihan’s. He would show up with two or three or five guys, sometimes popping in around midnight after a game, drink Coronas, play poker with his boys at the bar. And the women would show up. They would line a low wall behind him. A half-dozen. Ten. Twelve. Fifteen. They would preen and wait. Finally, Iverson would nod to one of his posse, and his guy would go over to the one in the line he wanted and tell her to join them. She’d have a drink with Iverson. In a little while, he would leave. And then she would, a moment later.

I tell the woman at Club Reina all this because I’m wondering if Iverson might have women at his beck and call here. Would they be so aggressive?

She smiles. “We would be … what is the word? … more discreet.”

“Turkish women wouldn’t line up like that?”


“But sex is … ”

She smiles again — a different smile — the prettiest girl in the hottest club. Istanbul is a big, busy, cosmopolitan city, and Allen Iverson won’t be merely playing cards and drinking Coronas at the Istanbul Friday’s while trying to resurrect his basketball career. Unless he’s a changed man.

Great stuff.  Do yourself a favor and go read the full story.

[Philadelphia Magazine]


Good Morning Generation

Happy New Years everyone.  The greatest winning streak of a generation fell last night.  It’s hard to put it in perspective so I guess all we can do is appreciate it and move on to more important things…like the Horned Frogs making likely the last appearance by a non-Pac Ten, non-Big Ten school in the Rose Bowl!

Generation Y, where we had no idea Tim Donaghy had been hired on by the NCAA as a special consultant to referee bowl games.


UConn women go down

The ladies of Stanford women’s basketball ended the University of Connecticut’s 90-game win streak. No matter how you feel about the Huskies passing John Wooden and his UCLA squads, it is impossible to deny that winning that many games in a row is impressive, if not amazing. However, with only passing UCLA by two wins, it is hard to imagine people will speak of both UCLA and UConn 10 years from now in the same sentence. Whether it is fair or not is impossible to decide because it is impossible to compare two entirely different sports. And I think we can all admit, men’s and women’s basketball are played completely differently. UConn doesn’t want to be compared to UCLA, and UCLA doesn’t want to be compared to UConn. Each streak is individual and each may never be broken again.

Stanford jumped out to an early lead and despite a few runs from the Huskies, never relinquished that lead. Maya Moore was off her game all night and also showed that she may not be as mentally tough as she leads us to believe. We say tonight that this young star is, in fact, human. When asked about the streak and how impressive it was these past weeks, she would say that all you have to do is watch how hard they compete in practice to see how hard they work. Well, that may be the case, but tonight, she did not compete until the end of the game. She quit on a play with just over a minute left allowing an easy Stanford layup that basically sealed the deal. I can’t believe Geno Auriemma will let that go anytime soon.

That being said, you have to give a lot of credit to Stanford. Maybe they caught a perfect storm where UConn wasn’t entirely on their game, but they certainly took full advantage and exploited the hell out of it. They played solid, Stanford basketball. UConn gets a lot of teams to play out of their element, and Stanford didn’t fall into that trap at all tonight. It was quite impressive. Stanford was the last team to beat them and seemed to be the only team that really ever had a shot at doing it again… ever.

This is the first time I have watched (mostly) an entire UConn game, and I noticed a few things. They get away with a lot of hand checking and fouling away from the ball, especially in the post. I wondered throughout this game whether that was typical over the past 30 or so games for the Huskies.

This was an incredibly entertaining game to watch despite some absolutely terrible basketball plays and turnovers. Both teams played their hearts out, and it was obvious how badly each team wanted to win. Even with 40 seconds and a eight point deficit, you couldn’t help but feel like UConn still had a fighting chance. You don’t always see that in men’s games.

Congrats, Stanford.


President Obama Has Played 57 Rounds Of Golf Since Taking Office

I’m guessing Augusta wasn’t on his list of courses this year though…

From Golf Digest:

An editor at Human Events, Miller has been tracking President Obama’s golf and, via Twitter, reporting on it in the wake of his Hawaii rounds this week and setting in motion a string of commentary that somehow came to include death panels.

“President Obama played golf today in Hawaii, his 56th round since taking office,” she wrote on Tuesday.

A short time later, she posted this: “whoa. third time playing golf in hawaii? if so then I have to adjust my count to 57 for presidency. SERIOUS BUSINESS.”

Then this: “I need to keep my golf tracking up to date. Do you count 56 or 57? I had 52 on Oct 10. Played 2x in DC, 3x”

I know this is going to bother a ton of people, but quite frankly I think it’s pretty cool.  Our president is an active athlete who likes to pursue his passions of golf and basketball.  Sports are a great release from the stresses of everyday life so more power to him for hitting the links so often.  If you’re not down with that then you’re not a sports fan. 

[Golf Digest]