Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sixers' fans soon to be on the rebound

By Tim McManus

Don't kid yourself, this is going to sting.

Right now you hear the tales from revisionist historians of how Allen Iverson was this intrusive, disruptive force that couldn't make his teammates better and often did more harm than good.

Across the airwaves are recounts of Iverson's antics -- from his infamous postgame rant to the bizarre episode with his wife a few years back to stories that may or may not have been made up on the fly.

There is a large focus on the negative, a proud city with its chin up saying A.I. wasn't all that and let's start a new chapter.

It's all a lie.

The reason that people are painting Iverson in a poor light is not because that's their most dominant thought, but because it's the one that offers the most detachment.

You allow talk show hosts and local writers to tell you this is all his fault because it makes it easier to let him go.

It's a lot like a break-up. When someone who's been an integral, daily part of your life skips out on you, you seek out all of his or her flaws and spout them off to anyone willing to hear them. You pump a few weights, flex in the mirror and declare yourself back in the game.

But at the slightest mention of that person with somebody else, you're ready to assume the fetal position.

That's why I'm amazed that there isn't a bigger backlash toward even the thought of trading Iverson to Boston. Right now the popular stance seems to be 'What's important isn't where he ends up, it's what we get for him.' And that's fine and even rational, but it's not realistic. A.I. will be back on this floor wearing someone else's jersey regardless, that's true. But him going to Boston is like your girl dumping you for your biggest high school rival, then being forced to watch them make out in front of you several times a year while you and Kyle Korver stand helplessly in the corner.

Trust me, ditch the tough guy act and demand that Iverson be shipped as far west as possible. For as soon as the courting process is finished and Iverson is in somebody else's franchise, denial is going to wear off and the real feelings are going to push through. You're going to start reminiscing about the day Croce won the lottery...the crossover on Jordan...the NBA Finals. You're gonna get angry at Billy King if you're not already. You're going to regret that Iverson didn't have a legitimate chance to really thrive here.

You're going to watch your 76ers and it's going to sting. That's inevitable.

Where he lands is going to determine how much.

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