Someone high above must have changed his mind, because a spat with coach Lionel Hollins over playing time led to a mutual dissolution, making A.I. available again.
This time, injury-ridden Philadelphia bit. But the Iverson magic wasn't renewed, and the 2001 MVP played only 25 games in the old laundry. His 5-year-old daughter got ill, and it pulled A.I. away from the team, eventually for good. Last week, when news broke that Iverson's wife had filed for divorce, the idea there were deeper troubles at play in A.I.'s world became clear.
Behind the scenes, things were indeed even worse than they appeared over that span, according to Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith. In his Sunday column, Smith reported, citing several unnamed NBA sources, that Iverson is battling serious alcohol and gambling problems.
The words "disaster" and "train wreck" are used, culminating in the ominous prediction that "Iverson will either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away." The column is really a call to arms from Smith to A.I.'s inner circle, his most trusted confidants.
A.I.'s gambling life made the news last year when the Detroit News reported that Iverson and his crew had been banned from two area casinos, a report parroted in Smith's column. That claim, however, was refuted by the casinos in question, who said neither Iverson nor his friends had ever caused any trouble there.
But the alleged behavior is a separate issue from the gambling itself, which Smith implies is sending the millions A.I. made in the NBA right down the drain.