Some might think that if Allen Iverson goes and plays in the minor leagues of basketball, such as in the Caribbean or the D-Leagues, he could tarnish his legacy displaying a sad image of his former self. The greater chance is that he could save his legacy.
There are pretty much two versions of Iverson that are trapped in our minds. The first is that veritable pinball who went recklessly into the lane again and again, getting knocked around by players who had a full foot and 100 pounds on him. Iverson would just bounce up like super ball and sink the free throws.
That courageous, hard-playing defiant guard offers one illustration of Iverson.
The other is another defiant version of Iverson, sitting at the press table, seeing if he can set the new NBA record for saying the word "practice" each spat out more apoplectic than the last, as though through sheer spite he could rid the language of the word and the game of the very concept.
One thing we learned, don't talk to him about practice.
So now we have a 36-year-old Iverson who is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the NBA.
What could be more contrary to that press conference than Iverson working hard on his game in the Caribbean leagues or in the D-League—not just playing there, but practicing there? Nothing could help his image more than to run the floors with those who are not good enough to play in the NBA, working hard in the absence of the light of glory.
Those aren't things we would see, but those things that we can't see are things we need to see. They would become visible though if he does work his way back to the NBA.
Michael Vick had a far worse image problem that he managed to largely overcome. If there's something that we as a nation appreciate more than humility it's seeing an arrogant person genuinely humbled.
A new, hard-working, high-character Iverson would be the answer to a lot of teams, and it would be the answer to Iverson's legacy as well.