Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Former NBA Most Valuable Player Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement, saying he has lost his desire to play the game that made him one of the biggest names in the sporting world.
“I gave everything I had to basketball,” Iverson said during a press conference at the Wells Fargo Center. “The passion is still there but the desire to play is not. It was a great ride.”
Iverson ended his career that included 11 All-Star Games, four scoring titles and the 2001 Most Valuable Player Award. He was one of the biggest draws in the NBA during that time and his popularity with young kids led Reebok to sign him to a lifetime contract.
Iverson last played in the NBA in the 2009-10 season, when he played three games with the Memphis Grizzlies and 25 with the Philadelphia 76ers.
He played parts of 12 seasons in Philadelphia after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft.
“I’ll be a Sixer until the day I die,” said Iverson, who last played professionally in Turkey during the 2010-11 season but left halfway through the first season of a two-year contract.
Iverson was offered a contract to play in the NBA Development League with the Texas Legends last year but ultimately declined it.
Hall of Famer Julius Erving and John Thompson, Iverson’s college coach at Georgetown, attended the news conference along with his mother, Ann, and three of his five children.
76ers owner Josh Harris spoke at the ceremony but Iverson was not formally recognized by the team. The 76ers are planning to retire Iverson’s No. 3 jersey this season.
During the press conference, the 38-year-old declined to directly address a number of issues that have been raised in the years since he last played in the NBA.
There were media reports describing his problems with alcohol and gambling as well as financial issues despite earning more than $200 million in salary and endorsements. Iverson and wife Tawanna divorced earlier this year.
“It does bother me, I have a heart just like everybody else,” Iverson said. “People have encouraged me to publicly address those issues. But if I know and my family knows and people that are close to me know, why do I have to explain myself?”