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
National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

Gossip

Blake Lively's pregnancy cravings are too weird to…

Find out what Blake Lively is rumored to send husband Ryan Reynolds to the store for.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…