On Allen Iverson and Donald Sterling

Sections: Essays, Movies, Trailer

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A documentary about Allen Iverson debuted at the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival on April 27, and it couldn’t be a more perfect time to take a look at the basketball star’s career, life, and legacy.

Here’s the trailer:


It’s entirely likely that when the name Allen Iverson comes up, some people will think “talented point guard,” and some will think “thug”. People have been trained to think the latter.

Conservative wag Bill O’Reilly was a frequent applier of the term – never mind the fact that Bill O’Reilly has been caught on tape acting like a bully, and has perhaps one one-hundredth the talent of Iverson, who retired from basketball  in 2013. And compare the so-called thuggish actions of Iverson to the downright criminal acts and vile words of Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Iverson has peed in an Atlantic City casino trash can, and was pulled over for speeding with some pals, marijuana, and guns in the car. The casino asked him never to return, and he pled no contest and completed community service for the guns-and-weed-in-the-car charge.

Sterling, on the other hand, paid $2.73 million to settle claims brought by the Justice Department and others because he was found guilty of engaging in discriminatory rental practices against black, Hispanics, and families with children, and he was sued by a Clippers executive for employment discrimination based on age and race. Audio tapes were recently leaked of Sterling scolding his girlfriend “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” after she posted a pic of herself and Magic Johnson on her Instagram. Sterling also requested that she not bring Johnson or other black people to “his games.”  The Clippers team has silently protested their owner’s words and the NBA is considering banning Sterling from attending games for the rest of the season.

So let it be known, and don’t try to forget it even for a minute, racism is alive and well, not only in bonkers crazy Cliven Bundy form, but in rich-ass real estate mogul and NBA team owner form, which means that there are NBA team owners, and undoubtedly NFL and MLB team owners who are racist assholes. While pundits like Bill O’Reilly will likely be among the first people to know this, as they might share rides in their private jets once in a while, they get more mileage and footage from daring Pepsi to drop artists like Ludacris, or criticizing a great player like Iverson, then they would by exposing discriminatory pieces of shit like Donald Sterling.

The Iverson documentary trailer notes Iverson’s iconic status worldwide, how hard he was to coach, and provides the obligatory O’Reilly “he’s a thug” sound bite. And it might shock most fans to see exactly where Iverson came from, and to learn how he was railroaded in a court case only to land a scholarship to Georgetown University three years later. In an interview with Black America’s Tom Joyner, Iverson modestly says he doesn’t think audiences will learn much from the doc:

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah, yeah.  What are we going to learn from this documentary that we don’t know about Allen Iverson?

ALLEN IVERSON:  I don’t know about learning a whole much, like it ain’t a real message to it or anything like that, it’s just another life of a kid growing up in the ghetto and, you know, the trials and tribulations, the things that we got to go through to try to, you know, how this all goes.  So it, it’s basically like, I know that it’s going to be moving the people that’s from there because obviously they went through all of the situations that I had to go through with me, and then guys my age, you know, had to grow up in that environment and then you got the generation that got a chance to see that story and know that anything is possible and they can make it out of there.

Iverson is the first film from actress/producer Zatella Beatty.


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  • Joe In Las Vegas

    Learn how he was railroaded in a court case only to land a scholarship to Georgetown University three years later. A scholarship to Georgetown University most likely cost him a million dollars for the pleasure of attending Georgetown University.
    After reading the above and other articles, he didn’t do too well in English.

  • Bill O’Reilly

    Allen Iverson was convicted for his role in a racial bowling-alley brawl. He IS a thug.