The NBA lockout may come to a close (and thats definitely a may) before Allen Iversons Superstar Challenge comes to fruition in Las Vegas on Nov. 12 and 13 at Thomas and Macks Arena on UNLVs campus but the former Sixers superstar held a press conference to announce the four-team field anyway.
Iverson is captain of Team A.I, and his roster has a Philly flavor with the inclusion of Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. After that, Iverson selected all-star caliber talent in Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Zach Randolph. Rudy Gay and Jamal Crawford round out the squad.
The NBAs 2001 MVP, Iverson has not played in an NBA game since February 2010. He played briefly in Turkey last fall before returning to the United States because of a calf injury. The 36 year old has said he would like to return to the NBA and would have no problem accepting a reserve role a role that once infuriated him.
Ill consider playing anywhere at this point, Iverson said. I just need an offer.
Iverson can only hope that his showcasing in mid-November garners him more interest than Terrell Owens televised workout did for the former Eagle earlier this week. So far, no NFL offers for T.O. (Chicagos AFL team has expressed interest in him, though.)
In addition to Team A.I, the Superstar Challenge includes Team (Al) Harrington, Team Philly and a rookie team. Team Philly is captained by Hakeem Warrick, who organized the Team Philly vs. Team Melo Battle for I-95, which was played at the Palestra in late September.
Warricks roster has a number of the same players who joined him in a victory that day, including Lou Williams, Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson. The Morris twins, Markief and Marcus, will also play their home town taking precedent over their rookie status.
The rookie group does feature the top two picks in last Junes draft, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, respectively. And Harringtons squad includes Monta Ellis, David Lee, James Harden, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
Two games will be played on Saturday of that weekend with the winners playing for the championship on Sunday. When asked about how the format and teams were set up, Iverson said he didnt care about the set-up. Just throw the ball up and lets dance.
As for Iversons motivation for hosting the challenge, he said its the fans and the fact that they cant watch us play right now, referring to the lockout which is now 118 days old.
Theres plenty of intrigue surrounding the tournament. Iverson and Iguodala will be reunited as teammates. Its a chance to look at Young for the first time since the Sixers were defeated by Miami in last years playoffs, too. Young is a restricted free agent that the Sixers have said they want to keep. And Lou Williams going up against the guy he idolized as a kid not to mention went up against every day in practice the first two years of his NBA career.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org