Is Allen Iverson coming for good?
Updated: 2012-05-06 07:58
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Allen Iverson (left) drives against Xie Libin of the Beijing Ducks during an exhibition game between the Ducks and a US team of NBA players on Thursday in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The US team won 119-109. Iverson, a former NBA MVP, was asked if he was considering joining the CBA. "Why not?" he said. Wu Jun / for China Daily
Inspired in part by fellow NBA All-Star Marbury, former MVP guard is considering finishing up his career in the CBA - but can he still be competitive? Sun Xiaochen reports from Shenzhen.
Maybe the answer for "The Answer" is in China. Former NBA MVP guard Allen Iverson was back in the spotlight during a seven-game exhibition tour match last week in China during which he addressed the possibility of joining the Chinese Basketball Association.
"Why not (join the Chinese league)?" he said soon after landing in China, where he is regarded as one of the most popular NBA players of all-time.
The fans are eager to see him play, CBA teams are keen to sign him in hopes of better results and greater ticket sales and sponsors are interested in marketing him, so it would appear an ideal fit.
Even Stephon Marbury, a fellow All-Star and CBA champion with the Beijing Ducks, tweeted on his microblog, "I wish AI played in the CBA next year" when he returned to China from a short holiday in the United States last month.
The buzz continues to grow, but Iverson is not ready for top-flight competition just yet.
Brendan Suhr, the visiting US team's head coach, said the 36-year-old, dubbed "The Answer", needs more practice to prepare for competition in the CBA.
"He has not played for a year against anyone with that ability, so he's not that good right now," Suhr said of Iverson's current status after leading the US squad to a 119-109 over the Ducks in the team's third game in Shenzhen on Thursday.
"It's very hard (for him) to all of the sudden play against tremendous competition like the Ducks presented. I think he's going to get better and when he makes shots he will get more confident."
Iverson has lost some of his fitness and trademark quickness since retiring from the professional ranks in January 2011, when he decided