Tag Archives: Elgin Baylor

Allen Iverson in the Front Office? An Interesting Concept

26 Mar

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Allen Iverson on his retirement day. After a brilliant and sometimes tumultuous career, Iverson thinks he can help in the front office.

Allen Iverson on his retirement day. After a brilliant and sometimes tumultuous career, Iverson thinks he can help in the front office.

PHILAELPHIA— In addition to a devastating crossover and a game that you’d expect to see from guys twice his size, former 76ers guard Allen Iverson was known for not being real fond of practice.

But according to an article on nbc sports.com, Iverson would like to help the Sixers find some guys who might have a better attitude toward it.

Iverson has expressed a desire to be a part of the Sixers brain trust. That’s right, the guy who often clashed with head coach Larry Brown and was the subject of an angry tirade from former Sixers general manager Billy King when he and Chris Webber failed to show up for Fan Appreciation Day back in 2006, wants a gig in the front office.

Because skepticism and Allen Iverson go together like chocolate and peanut butter for some people, many believe that his bad off-the court habits and the perception that being a great player doesn’t mean you can spot talent, will keep him out of the Sixers war room.

The skeptics have a point. For every John Elway who has successfully transitioned from the field to both coaching and the front office, there are guys like Ted Williams and Elgin Baylors of the world who were absolute disasters.

During a 76ers broadcast, the irrepressible Iverson made his case for why he would be an ideal candidate for a front office post when he was asked what he looked for in a player:

“Their fight. Their fight. The fight in a guy. I’m the biggest [Russell] Westbrook fan I think there is. You know what I mean? Because he reminds me so much of myself as far as his heart and laying it on the line night in and night out. This is a guy who’s going to bring it every single night.”

That statement coming from Iverson has a lot of credibility because he lived it.  In street parlance, “game recognizes game.” Sure, Iverson had talent, but you don’t rise from the streets of Norfolk, Virginia as an undersized guard who had done time in jail to become an NBA All-Star without heart.

And while it’s not something you can measure statistically, heart is important and Iverson recognizes that. Besides, talent evaluation is an inexact science. Just ask all of the guys who passed on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Iverson should be the next Sixers general manager, but I do think his experiences as a player—the good and the bad—could be a good starting point.

Granted, there’s a whole lot for Iverson to learn and, and the whole suit and tie on a regular basis thing might be a deal breaker.

But if Allen Iverson approaches the opportunity to help create a good NBA team with the same conviction he did as a player, he could be a real game changer.

I hope he gets the chance.

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Silver Lays the Hammer Down on Sterling and Racism

2 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling who made racist remarks in a conversation taped by his girlfriend.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling who made racist remarks in a conversation taped by his girlfriend.

PHILADELPHIA—In what was the first major crisis of his tenure as the commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver laid down the moral authority of his leadership like an emphatic LeBron James slam-dunk.

A few days after hearing the bizarre audio of Donald Sterling’s racist rant with his girlfriend, Silver banned the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers from the NBA for life.

That means that Sterling is no longer allowed to participate in any aspect of the franchise—from personnel decisions to attending the NBA’s Board of Governors Meetings.

Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and is recommending that the league’s Board of Governors force Sterling to sell the team.

The commissioner’s action was applauded by Philadelphia 76ers Managing Owner Josh Harris. Sterling’s views have no place in the league, Harris said.

“The Philadelphia 76ers completely support NBA Commissioner Adam Silver,” Harris said in a statement issued by the team. “There is no place for any type of discrimination in our society, and those hurtful and ignorant comments are contrary to the core values and beliefs of our ownership group and organization.”

Sterling’s bigoted telephone conversation with his girlfriend was the tipping point of a sordid racist past that includes the largest housing discrimination suit the Department of Justice has ever filed on behalf of Black and Latino tenants of his apartment building and a lawsuit by NBA great Elgin Baylor, who accused Sterling of running his franchise like a Southern plantation.

The way Silver used the bully pulpit of the commissioner’s office to sanction Sterling was reminiscent of the way President Lyndon B. Johnson used the moral authority of the presidency when he urged a joint session of Congress in 1965 to pass the Voting Rights Act.

“Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league,” Silver said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and cause current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.”

Silver also issued an apology to the game’s Black basketball players who broke the color line in professional basketball like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson, whose Instagram photo with Sterling’s girlfriend apparently sent the Clippers owner over the edge.

The NBA and Clippers brands were damaged with advertisers and sponsors thanks to Sterling tapes. Carmax and State Farm Insurance withdrew their sponsorships with the team, although State Farm retained its association with Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

Silver urged the departing sponsors to rethink their decisions.

“I would say that those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the NBAshould judge us by our response to this incident and I think we have responded appropriately,” Silver said. “I would be hopeful that they would return into their business relationships with the Clippers. … I can understand how upset they are and I’ll do my best to bring them back into the NBA Family.”

Silver’s handling of a potential crisis in his sport from a historical standpoint is comparable to that of Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, who became the commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1920 in the aftermath of the Black Sox scandal in which several members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to fix the 1919 World Series.

Landis’ first act as commissioner was impose a lifetime ban on the players involved in the gambling scheme even though they were exonerated in court.

In banning Sterling, Silver made it clear that whether it’s player or owner, no one is above the league enough to run afoul of its rules or to damage its brand.

“My message to Clippers fans is league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach, any one player,” Silver said. “This institution has been around for a long time and it will stand for a time.”