Iverson is not there yet

May 13, 2002, midnight | By Calvin Anderson | 18 years, 8 months ago

Star guard needs to fine tune his jumper as well as his leadership skills

Having superior quickness, a tantalizing J and shakes like Mickey D's only makes you half a superstar. In a league full of half stars 76er Allen Iverson sticks out as one of the most notable. The other half of stardom is leadership. Leadership is quality play on the court and smart moves off the hardwood. It encompasses passionate play during the games and practice alike.

My second favorite player in the NBA is only halfway to stardom. The slang talking, pimp walking, stud Iverson is not a leader. AI could yank the white off of rice on the court but cannot get his team to follow him on the court night after night.

There is one reason and one reason only that Iverson is not the leader he should be. He doesn't practice hard. He puts his heart and soul on the court in every single game, yet when it comes to practice he is lackadaisical at best. Iverson has as much talent as Showtime at the Apollo, and like most gifted players he feels he is good enough without practice.

If the greatest player to ever touch a basketball, Michael Jordan has to practice, then young Allen Iverson should have to as well. Last Friday I had the honor to sit and speak with one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the NBA, Hall of Famer Sam Jones. Jones played with Celtics in their glory years leading them to multiple championships.

Jones agrees that Iverson is a great player with tremendous talent but according to Jones "he needs to be benched." Jones even went as far as to say that Iverson is in the top five best players in the league and that even the best need discipline. Iverson has a disease that can only be cured by the sweet pine smell of the bench. In high school and college ball, if you don't practice you don't play. In the NBA it should be the same way.

76ers coach Larry Brown gets into with Iverson about coming to practice, and working hard but Iverson like a conceited star brushes him off. If I were Larry the only words I would say to Iverson would be "ride the pine." If Iverson roasted on the bench for a little while he would be perfect. You can pay a man 8 million dollars a year and fine him 25,000 everytime he missed practice and he'd probably laugh and do it again. The bench has an effect on a player's morale and mindset.

Now that this season is over and the next one is a long ways away Iverson should have nightmares about the cold hard bench. Brown should instill a "no practice, no play" policy into his young tars mind.

Cal's Call: Now don't get me wrong, Iverson is still my favorite player not named Jordan but he needs to shape up his attitude. The reason Jordan is my favorite basketball player is because he carries himself with dignity on and off the court, he plays and practices hard, and he gives a young black man like myself something to strive for. Iverson is still a young pup in this NBA world and he has to learn that the league is not all about shoe contracts and dough stacks.

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Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »

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