Iverson rules out basketball return in D-League

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Allen Iverson is taking a pass on the D-League.

Iverson, the 2001 NBA MVP, has turned down an opportunity to return to basketball with the Dallas Mavericks' Development League affiliate. He posted a series of tweets on Tuesday explaining his decision to decline an offer from Texas Legends' co-owner Donnie Nelson to join the team.

"I thank Donnie and Dallas for the consideration," Iverson wrote, "And while I think the D-League is a great opportunity, it is not the route for me."

Gary Moore, Iverson's manager, confirmed the decision with The Associated Press. Iverson was not available for an interview.

Moore was in Philadelphia visiting with Sixers owner Josh Harris and CEO Adam Aron about reconnecting Iverson with the 76ers. Iverson led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA finals and is firmly cemented as one of the franchise's all-time great players. He is the franchise leader in 40-point games (76), 3-pointers (885), and is second behind Hal Greer in points (19,931). He had two stints with the Sixers and last played for them in 2009-10.

Moore said there are no immediate plans for the 37-year-old Iverson to retire.

"Once he does do that, I want to ensure that Josh Harris and Adam Aron know how much Allen appreciates what Philadelphia has meant to him, what the NBA has meant to him," Moore said, "And to someday, come back and be a consultant to them, to help them do certain things."

Aron and the Texas Legends did not immediately return messages for comment.

Under Harris' ownership, the Sixers have made increased efforts to bring back their past stars, like Hall of Fame standout Julius Erving. Erving returned to the Sixers as a strategic adviser in May and is available to the franchise on an as-needed basis.

Iverson earned a roaring standing ovation when he presented the game ball before Philadelphia's Game 6 win over Boston in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals. He watched the game from a suite and his eyes watered up when he was shown later in the game on the big screen as the crowd, thousands wearing No. 3 jerseys, went wild and chanted, "MVP!" Iverson later posted on Twitter, "You can always come home again!!!"

Iverson has not played in the NBA since abruptly leaving the Sixers in March 2010 to deal with a sick daughter. He had a brief stop with a professional team in Turkey and has played exhibition games in China.

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki recently passed Iverson for 18th on the NBA's career scoring list.

Iverson believed it was more than the three years of NBA inactivity that has kept him from making a comeback. He blamed his behavior, which has included everything from coaching clashes to his infamous "Practice!" rant, for making teams shy about offering him a final chance.

"I realize my actions contributed to my early departure from the NBA," he wrote on Twitter. "Should God provide me another opportunity I will give it my all. My dream has always been to complete my legacy in the NBA."

Moore, who knew Iverson as an 8-year-old boy, said Iverson was focused on staying in shape in case an NBA team made an offer.

"Allen is not so naive of a man that he doesn't understand full well why he's not in the NBA," Moore said. "It not, poor Allen. Allen has done things that have really landed him outside of the NBA. He understands that. He understands the mistakes he's made."

Iverson spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia before bouncing through Denver, Detroit, and Memphis. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft, a four-time scoring champion, and averaged 26.7 points yet never won a championship.

Moore denied Iverson has financial problems. Iverson recently struck a reported $3 million financial settlement to help finalize his divorce with his wife, Tawanna.

"He's going through probably the most difficult of challenge he's ever faced in his life," Moore said. "There's no doubt he will get past that."

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