From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (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."
Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe.
The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.
“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”
Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.
Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.
“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.
*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City.
*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together.
*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility.
*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy.
*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment.
*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators.
*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot.
*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season.
*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.