Could Allen Iverson Still Be 'The Answer'?

Former NBA player Allen Iverson of Besiktas Cola Turka reacts during their Turkish basketball league game against Fenerbahce
Former NBA player Allen Iverson of Besiktas Cola Turka reacts during their Turkish basketball league game against Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)

Who is the greatest "little man" of all time?

Is it Nate "Tiny" Archibald? The only NBA player to ever lead the league in assists and points in the same season, which he did in the 1972-1973 season, with 34.0 points per game and 11.4 assists?

Or was it the bad boy from Detroit, Isaiah Thomas, the only superstar to beat Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan en rout to an NBA title... twice?

Or, could be the most polarizing NBA baller to every lace up a pair of sneakers, the infamous, the one who answered the question, "The Answer," Mr. Allen Iverson be the greatest?

At just a hair over 6'0", Iverson was arguably the greatest player in the NBA after Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan from 1997 to 2008.

"The Answer" was not just a superstar, but a trend setter, an icon, a living legend and a culture.

Today, Allen Iverson, who won the league MVP in 2001, is contemplating a comeback to the NBA.

He was never able to leave the game on top, he finished his career in Memphis, the year before they beat the San Antonio Spurs as the 8th seed in the NBA Playoffs; where they became the third other 8th seed to upset a number 1 besides the Knicks in 1998 and the Denver Nuggets in 1994.

Iverson played three games in 2009-2010, averaging 12.3 points per game on 57.7% shooting from the field in just 22.3 minutes a night for the Grizzlies.

Iverson did not really lose a step, he was just losing motivation to play at a high level, or try to reclaim his place amongst the NBA's elite.

There was no player tougher than Iverson.

Pound for pound, the 19th leading scorer of all time is the best player to ever play the game.

If Iverson were 6'7", with the same skills he possessed, he would have been the best player of all time, without a doubt. With his speed, his athleticism, and his separation on his jump shot, he would have been unstoppable.

The Answer averaged 26.7 points per game throughout his career. But you have to remember, after being traded to Denver, he was never a primary scorer on a ball club, and playing behind Carmelo Anthony, who averaged a stellar 28.2 points per contest, Iverson averaged 26.4 points per game under Coach Karl in Denver in his first season playing a mile high.

But after that season, Iverson averaged 15.5 points a game, far below his capabilities and his regular output.

Iverson had one of the best 13-year scoring runs in NBA history, where he averaged 27.9 points per game. Iverson reached the 30 points per game plateau five times, an impressive mark. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have a combined five seasons where they amassed the 30-point mark, the same as Iverson.

Think about that...

So the question now turns to the present, can Iverson play on an NBA roster.

Better yet, can Iverson contribute at a high level for a finals contender?

"The Answer" may not be the answer, merely because he will not take Dallas' D-League invitation.

The D-League stint will just be for him regain his legs and game day conditioning, and to meanwhile sell some tickets for the franchise.

Iverson has been out of the game for a few years now, so do we even know he has the same type of speed, and shot making abilities?

I have seen some shoddy highlights from overseas action, but nothing that can constitute as a throwback Allen Iverson mix tape.

It boils down to this:

If Iverson wants to play in the NBA again, he must play "the game" and say all the right things and go through all the right channels, meaning join a D-League team to earn some confidence and to prove to GMs around the league that he can still play.

Sadly however, that is not Iverson's style, never was.

But for once, he needs to play the game.

There are not that many team's that are a great fit with Iverson's style of play, but once he accepts that he will be coming off the bench and play a secondary offensive role, he could have some value.

Teams that could be an option would be the Boston Celtics, since Rondo is out for the remainder of the season and he brings something different to the table than the current Celtics foursome, the Lakers (they just need a spark), the Trailblazers, playing behind standout rookie Damien Lillard, and lastly, the Miami Heat.

Iverson needs one more chance to ride off into the sunset.

Iverson was one of the greatest players we have ever season. He captured a generation and created a culture in the NBA that was both criticized, admired and imitated.

Iverson is an all-time great, now let's see if he can actually get on an NBA roster and help a team win ball games, and perhaps that elusive NBA championship.