"I'm not a bench player. I'm not a sixth man. Look at my resume." -- Allen Iverson
Actions speak louder than words. Talk is cheap. What have you done for me lately?
You know the clichés, but apparently the Memphis Grizzlies' disgruntled All-Star guard Allen Iverson has forgotten them. Iverson's again rapping his sad song about wanting more time on the floor, and he's not a bench player.
Last season, he was surrounded by NBA championship big dogs like Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince on the Detroit Pistons which made it bad. This year he's surrounded by idolizing wide-eyed pups like Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet on the Griz which makes it even worse.
Iverson's one of the realest players in the NBA and in all of sports today. He plays and speaks from the heart. But following the heart sometimes can lead you astray and distort normal thought-processing in the mind.
In Iverson's case, sure his heart believed he should've started or logged more minutes in his Grizzlies' debut Monday night and during the week. But did the grumpy 34-year-old's mind actually believe that?
During his worst statistical year of his NBA career in '08-'09, Iverson was traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Pistons where he missed the final month of the season and the playoffs due to a sore back. And in his first year with the Griz this season, he missed all of preseason and the first three games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury. To make matters more complicated, Memphis boasts one of the most promising backcourts in the league with Mayo and Mike Conley Jr.
Regardless of Iverson's gripes, head coach Lionel Hollins did the logical thing this week to limit his minutes on the floor. The worst case scenario for his young group would be if the team's big-time free-agent acquisition over the offseason re-injured that hamstring or sustained yet another setback.
Despite the early season drama, don't write off the Griz or A.I. just yet. With young ballers like Gay, Mayo, Conley and Marc Gasol on the roster, Memphis (1-5) could still possibly turn things around this NBA season if Iverson gets his mind right.
The four-time league scoring champion simply has to realize that regardless of what the heart cries, the mind knows his best playing days in the NBA are behind him.
(Associated Press photos)