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Wednesday the news broke that Allen Iverson has decided to retire. Apparently no one was interested in bringing him in, so he hung it up, but said that he felt he could still help someone out.

Possibly so.

After the announcement, ESPN's Jalen Rose and Jamal Mashburn said, more or less, that he was being shut out for being one of the first guys to bring a hip-hop sensibility to the NBA.

Possibly not.

No one doubts Iverson's talent or his heart. Both are huge. But his willingness to be coached, his ability to subordinate his game to the needs of his team, his famous disdain for practice - those things are more the reason why no one is interested than his hip-hop sensibility.

Just as a random example, take Tiny Archibald. At his youthful peak, he was a sensation and, if memory serves, led the league in scoring and assists.

At the end, he was just a veteran with the Celtics, hoping for a title shot. He was a reliable, smart player, but nowhere near what he had been. Yet he was still useful. This was true for Pete Maravich, for A.C. Green, for Scottie Pippen, and dozens of other players over the years.

Iverson's career long insistence on going his own way, and the fact that his teams had to accomodate his sometimes selfish play - well, who needs it? Detroit didn't. Denver didn't. And at the end, Memphis lost patience and no one else wants to bother.

It's no great mystery. No matter where you come from, no matter how good you are, ultimately it's a team game. If you can't get used to that, you'll limit yourself and your options.

Which is exactly what Iverson did.

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