Allen Iverson To Finish His Career In Australia? Don’t Count On It
He’s not even halfway through his contract in Turkey and already there are already rumors about where Allen Iverson will end up next. If a few months ago you thought the possibility of “The Answer” playing for a Eurocup team was far-fetched, then strap yourself in for the next alleged stop on Iverson’s world hoops tour—Australia.
Aussies, don’t get too excited though. The source of this rumor is shaky at best, Iverson still has over a year left on his Turkish contract and the amount of money he’d be playing for in Australia would make a NBA benchwarmer laugh, so there are plenty of hurdles to clear before this has any chance of happening.
First of all, let’s address the source of the rumor—the Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that Iverson said on his twitter page “I am very happy here in Istanbul, but if I don’t return to the NBA I am considering a move to Australia after my two-year contract is up.” A quick check of AI’s (verified) twitter page @alleniverson shows no such quote. It makes no sense for Iverson to have deleted it either, as it mentions nothing about wanting out of his contract, just that he would consider playing in Australia once he’s a free agent again.
Here’s the real deal-breaker though – money. The entire salary cap of a NBL (National Basketball League, the Aussie hoops league) team is AU$1mil. The most a player could be paid is around half a million dollars, and that’s before tax and agent fees. As much as players will say they play for the love of the game and other Hollywood sports movie clichés, money talks and the NBL isn’t saying much. In fact, this is what Bob Turner, CEO of the Kings, had to say about the possibility of Iverson playing Down Under.
“Tell you what, it would stop everybody talking about our need for a point guard, even though he’s actually a shooting guard. But our salary cap might take a battering.”
Playing basketball in Australia does have a lot of positives—the culture is very similar to the US, there’s no language barrier, the basketball is of a relatively high standard—and if Iverson was to make the trip down under he’d easily be the highest profile import in the NBL ever (beating out Stephen Jackson of the Charlotte Bobcats, who started his career in the NBL for a quick three game stint in 1997), but we just can’t see it happening.
(Oh and we didn’t even touch on the potential visa issues, as in the past Australia has refused entry to relatively non-threatening entertainers such as Snoop Dogg and Ja Rule due to their brushes with the law. On a personal note I’d love to see it happen though, and if it does, AI holla at me for guestlist at Sydney’s best nightclubs!)