A winner never quits and a quitter never wins

By Eric D. Graham, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 23, 2010

NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — A.I., you are starting to irritate me a little bit. I heard that you are coming back to the NBA — again.

Iverson, this is your last chance. We are burning the bridges after this. The door of opportunity is closing fast.

We are officially taking back the key to the city and changing the locks.

Because this emotional roller coaster is starting to make us all a “little sick.” We simply can’t take it anymore. We have had it up to here with your shenanigans. Please make up your mind. Are you going to play or quit?

You are not Brett Favre, you know. And this ain’t Minnesota. This is Philly. And when we love you, we love you. But when we don’t like you, we really HATE YOU!!

To be truthful, A.I., the people of Philadelphia, the entire Black community, and sports writers like myself need you and Michael Vick to prove these jerks, journalists, and my jack-asses cousin from New Jersey that something good can come out of Newport News, Virginia in which oddly is called Bad Newz.

Your last tattoo teary-eyed press conference, where you announced your return to the “City of Brotherly Love” made the hopeless, hometown hoop fan hopeful.

Now, that was some “good news.”

But after only 23 games and 13.8 points, the hoopla surrounding your return was gone once again like a snow flake meeting the sunlight which has left us heartbroken and hung over.

After your last departure, Philly fans started questioning your loyalty. They started questioning your heart. They started questioning your “greatest.” They even started questioning your future Hall of Fame nomination.

Yeah, with your last departure from the 76ers, your old critics and haters were resurrected from the grave like a Michael Jackson “Thriller” video. They said you were bound to self-destruct. It was only a matter of time before you did something stupid that would land you back in jail.

But despite all of the negative comments, I am still in your corner like Mike Tyson. But A.I., you are at the crossroads of your career. Therefore, Iverson, please listen to my little advice.

Go home, turn off the lights, and fall on your knees. And while you are on your knees have an intimate conversion with the basketball gods of the past, present, and future.

And become a born-again baller.

What do I mean when I say become a born-again baller?

You must accept the fact that you are not going to be a starter anymore. Honestly, it’s o.k. to come off of the bench and score 14 points a game and win a championship.

I hate to say it but you should have learned this by watching Philadelphia-born Rasheed Wallace and “little” Nate Robinson, who both came off the bench providing that needed spark for the Boston Celtics and almost won a NBA Title this year against the Los Angeles Lakers.

That’s what you want, right? Don’t you want a NBA Championship ring?

This would put a period or exclamation point behind your outstanding career.

Correct? As a man, however, I truly respect your decision to fight for your family and your marriage.

Because most athletes, value obtaining a championship ring over keeping their wedding rings. Now, that’s some “Real Talk” But A.I., it’s time to grow up.

You have already cut off the braids. Now, it’s time to throw away the do-rags.

You don’t want to be the old guy at the night club looking “too young and too olds” at the same time doing- the running man and the stanky leg chasing some young girl too young to remember how awesome you once were.

In other words, don’t give these corny sports columnists (like myself) any ammunition to shoot you down. Because recently, I saw some photos of you down in the A.T.L .(Atlanta) at some club and you looked so miserable and out of place.

So please A.I., don’t self-sabotage your excellence 14-year career in the NBA due to your poker face pride. Accept your new role on the team by dropping the egotism, adolescence attitude and backyard bravado, and just come off the bench.

Problem solved. A.I., you are still the Question and the Answer.

But the sand in the hour glass is running out of sand. And you have to make a difficult decision. Come off the bench or retire while you’re still young?

I agree with Coach John Thompson who says you still have some more basketball left in you and a NBA Championship to win. And remember this A.I., “A winner never quits; and a quitter never wins.”

So accept the challenge.

And have the courage to come off the bench without complaining.