ORLANDO, Fla. -- The news earlier this week that former NBA superstar Allen Iverson could be ending his career playing in Turkey made Larry Brown wince Thursday. It clearly bothered him.
Larry Brown and Allen Iverson, 2002
Brown, now coaching the Charlotte Bobcats, was the one most responsible for molding Iverson into the player he became -- one of the league's all-time greats.
They were together -- often in a love/hate relationship -- for six seasons in Philadelphia, reaching the NBA Finals in 2001. During their run together, Iverson became the NBA's Most Valuable Player, led the league in scoring three times, and twice was named All-NBA first team.
"Nobody who has done as much as Allen has done for this league should have to be in Turkey playing, to end his career,'' Brown said before the Bobcats-Magic game Thursday. "We have one of the most special players ever in our sport, who still has something left. I feel terrible about this. That is not how he should be ending his career.''
Iverson, 35, is considering a $2 million, one-year offer from Besiktas Cola Turka, according to his business partner Gary Moore. Iverson wanted to play this season in the NBA, but he found no one was interested, including the Bobcats.
He struggled last season with a variety of issues, starting the year and playing three games with Memphis, clashing with the coaching staff over his role before asking for his release. He later played 25 games with Philadelphia, averaged 13.9 points, but he left because of family issues.
Throughout his career, Iverson (6-0, 165 pounds) has been regarded as one of the toughest, pound-for-pound players in league history, both dynamic on the court but divisive in the locker room.
Brown said the Bobcats seriously considered signing Iverson last season, but he and majority partner Michael Jordan opted against it because of how it might affect the younger guards they were trying to develop.
"I remember an NBA coaches' meeting this summer, someone from the NBA staff, talking to me about 'hey this is not the way Allen should be ending his career,' " Brown said. "The commissioner (David Stern) doesn't want to see it happen like this. I feel terrible about it. He did so much for me, and my career.''
Although most everyone agrees that Iverson still could contribute to an NBA team, they also wonder how he would accept a reduced role after being a starter and star for so many years. It was an issue he never was comfortable with last season.
"I wish I was in a position to help him, where it wouldn't affect the other guys I'm coaching,'' Brown said. "He needs to be on a great team that has a chance to win (a championship) and could utilize what he does. He doesn't need to be in Turkey