Jasner: Reflecting on a human being, not a superstar athlete

Allen Iverson, Sixers, retirement
Allen Iverson, shown here with his college coach John Thompson, retired from the NBA.

 

Iverson’s maturity reaching new depths

 

My oldest daughter Jordana came home from school one day last week and had a huge smile on her face.

Nothing new for my 7-year-old, the oldest of my three beautiful daughters.

This time, she had something special to tell me. I could tell.

“Daddy,” she said, “I like being famous.”

“What do you mean?,” I asked her.

“One of my teachers said she loved the Sixers and watching Pop Pop on TV,” she responded. “I think it’s cool being famous.”

My father, Phil Jasner, covered the Sixers for more than 30 years, primarily for the Philadelphia Daily News. In the early days, Dad covered Julius Erving. It continued with Charles Barkley. Beginning in 1996, it was about chronicling Allen Iverson and the soon-to-be resurgent Sixers.

Fast forward to now. On Wednesday afternoon, Iverson formally announced his retirement from the NBA at the Wells Fargo Center, just hours before the Sixers were set to open the regular season against the Miami Heat.

Iverson talked about a variety of topics, including Dad.

“I wish Phil Jasner could be here today, especially on a day like this,” Iverson said. “He was very inspirational in my career and he meant a lot to me.”

In the early days, Iverson and Dad didn’t always get along. When you’re a beat writer covering a team every single day, there are bound to be disagreements. The biggest argument came on May 10, 2002, during Iverson’s famous practice rant.

Here’s an excerpt …

Iverson: “I don’t know Phil. I don’t know you as a basketball player. I know you as a columnist, but I have never heard of you as a player, though.

Dad: “Why is that an issue?”

Iverson: “Why is that an issue? Because we’re talking about basketball.”

Dad: “Let me ask my question.”

Iverson: “Go ahead, Phillip.”

Dad: “Supposed you shot 44 percent …”

Iverson: “I don’t know about that. That is in God’s hands. I do not know if that will help me or not. That’s God. God does that, It ain’t up to you to say if Allen Iverson does this then he’ll do that. That’s up to God. It ain’t up to anyone in here. That is up to God. He handles that.”

Dad took umbrage that Iverson challenged him about the line of questioning. As the years progressed, they continued to build a mutual relationship. They respected each other.

When Dad passed away on Dec. 3, 2010, Iverson was one of the first people to send a tweet out to the world. Iverson sent his condolences to myself and my entire family. It was a sign of a human being who had matured in so many ways.

Iverson wasn’t asked about Dad directly at Wednesday’s press conference. He chose to talk about Dad and how much he missed him. It was so touching. It was also very rare in today’s world.

Reporters and players don’t always get along. Sometimes they do. It’s rare when a player has this much love for a journalist.

Iverson has always been an emotional person. So was my dad. At times, they were just like family members — they battled with each other, bickered with each other. But each one respected the other’s profession.

Dad always said that Iverson was a whirling dervish and pound-for-pound, an incredible basketball player. LeBron James said the same thing the other day.

Iverson has talked about Dad being a giant in the world of sports journalism. He’s right.

As an only child, it was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I never wanted to work in an insurance office.

For years, I was able to work side-by-side with my dad at numerous NBA All-Star Games and three NBA Finals. I was there with my wife, Taryn, in 2004, when Dad was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Back then, Iverson was in the prime of his career. My dad was still covering the Sixers. Not even a Hall-of-Fame induction would slow Dad down.

It’s surreal to think that nearly three years have gone by since Dad passed away. I think about him every time I walk into the arena. That will never go away.

To hear Iverson honor my dad at length made me first smile and then tear up. To have that kind of impact is amazing.

Thanks, Allen.

— Andy Jasner is a freelance reporter who covers the Sixers for Metro Philadelphia. Email him at: andy.jasner@yahoo.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Food truck with a mission hires at-risk New…

A group branding itself as food trucks for social justice specifically hires and trains young men and women with troubled pasts.

Movies

Scarlett Johansson on 'Lucy':' 'I guess I’m the…

Scarlett Johansson continues her foray into action movies with thriller “Lucy”, admitting it’s been an unexpected adventure.

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

Movies

Piano from 'Casablanca' up for sale at auction

An iconic piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.

Wellbeing

Ruling could be beginning of the end for…

This morning, a federal appeals court threw out an IRS regulation that implements subsidies for low-income Americans who bought insurance through Obamacare. These Affordable Care…

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…