PHILADELPHIA, Nov 26 – Allen Iverson, a 10-time NBA All-Star who guided Philadelphia to the 2001 NBA Finals, announced plans to retire Wednesday in a statement released on a website.The website of Stephen A. Smith, a reporter who covered Iverson in his glory days with the 76ers, published a statement attributed to Iverson announcig he was ending his NBA career after a failed comeback attempt with Memphis.
"I would like to announce my plans to retire from the National Basketball Association," the statement read.
"I always thought that when I left the game it would be because I couldn’t help my team the way that I was accustomed to. However that’s not the case. I still have tremendous love for the game, the desire to play and a whole lot left in my tank. I feel strongly that I can still compete at the highest level."
Iverson played three games for Memphis before taking a leave of absence to deal with personal matters, then was waived by the Grizzlies after he and the team agreed to part ways.
Iverson was unhappy with a reserve role with Memphis as he had been in Detroit the season before.
The Knicks considered signing Iverson but decided he would take too much time from younger, developing players. No other team appeared interested in Iverson.
"He’ll go down in history as the greatest little guard ever to play the game," said George Karl, who coached Iverson during his time at Denver.
"I have a sneaky feeling that somewhere along the way an injury or a circumstance with a team will open that window back up."
Iverson, a four-time NBA season scoring champion, ranks fifth in NBA career scoring average with 27.1 points a game. He averaged 17.4 points a game last year for Detroit.
"Stepping away from the game will allow me to spend quality time with my wife and kids," Iverson said. "This is a reward that far exceeds anything that I’ve ever achieved on the basketball court. I have prayed for this day and I see it as my greatest gift."
Only Michael Jordan had a higher playoff scoring average than Iverson’s 29.7 points a game.