A.I. in the ATL

From Marc Stein’s NBA offseason notebook on the perils and possibilities of Allen Iverson leaving Philly over at ESPN.com: “Atlanta continues to stand out as the most ideal Iverson destination on this scorecard, especially after A.I. moved his family there this summer. Iverson makes basketball and business sense at Philips Arena — maybe more than anywhere else on the NBA map. The Hawks need a ticket seller, have room for a dynamic star to pair with Joe Johnson and possess several quality youngsters to assemble into a quality trade package. Ongoing ownership uncertainty with the Hawks, however, keeps them on the periphery.”

AI is the walking embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the white-suburbanites-vs.-the-NBA dynamic. While Iverson looks like a thug nightmare come to life–tats on every square inch of his body, cornrows, more bling on his wrist and around his neck than you could buy in ten years, sinister gravel voice–he’s also hands-down the toughest guy in the NBA, and probably all of sports. And while he’s got the typical street-survivor’s paper-thin skin when it comes to “disrespect,” he could really thrive in Atlanta–and the city would absolutely embrace him if he shows the kind of loyalty to the town that he’s capable of.

A.I. and Mike Vick in the same town, playing 100 yards from each other–it’s too perfect to even dream about.


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