Allen Iverson Officially Agrees to Play in Turkey
Iverson and Besiktas officials will hold a news conference Friday in New York.
"He's ecstatic," Iverson's manager, Gary Moore, told the Associated Press by phone. "He's very excited, very happy the people in Turkey want him, the people in Turkey appreciate what he brings to the game, and he can't wait to get over there."
Iverson, 35, heads overseas after spending 14 season in the NBA. The No. 1 overall pick in 1996 was a four-time scoring champ, winning the MVP award in 2001 and climbing to 17th on the league's all-time scoring list.
However, after bouncing between four teams in the last two years, he seems to have worn out his NBA welcome, failing to draw a single contract offer or even a training camp invitation this fall.
Despite Iverson's difficulty finding work, the 11-time All-Star still has a loyal following of fans, which Besiktas hopes will translate to success at the gate. Iverson will find his new home court far more intimate than his former NBA haunts: even the smallest NBA arenas hold greater than 17,000 fans, while BJK Akatlar Arena, Besiktas' home arena, seats just 3,200 fans.
Beyond ticket sales, it's not surprising Besiktas was looking to an infusion of talent -- the team finished in fourth place in the Turkish Basketball League last season with an 18-12 record.
"The interest the people from Turkey have shown leaves us nothing to feel but very, very optimistic," Moore said late Thursday night. "I don't see why they wouldn't be. Look at everything Allen has done in his career. Look at the way he plays the game. I can really understand the people of Turkey being happy about getting a player of Allen's stature."
"I feel terrible about it," Larry Brown, who coached Iverson during the prime of his career in Philadelphia, said earlier this month. "He did so much for me, and my career. ... He needs to be on a great team that has a chance to win (a championship) and could utilize what he does. He doesn't need to be in Turkey."
-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.