*Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Stephen A. Smith is citing various NBA sources who claim that fired Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson is a bona fide alcoholic and has a serious gambling addiction, having already been banned from casinos in Detroit, Memphis and Denver.
“If numerous NBA sources are telling the truth — and there’s no reason to believe they’d do otherwise in a situation of this magnitude — Iverson will either drink himself into oblivion or gamble his life away,” Smith wrote in his Sunday column.
This latest news comes after a string of bad breaks for the 35-year-old athlete. In late February, Iverson left Sixers indefinitely to tend to his sick daughter. Two weeks later, it was announced he wouldn’t return to the team. And just as soon as his professional life crumbled, so did his personal life when his wife filed for divorce last week.
But in a report from Smith, who covered Iverson extensively as the Sixers former beat writer, Iverson also has serious problems with alcohol and gambling that is causing him to self-destruct.
In calling on Iverson’s former mentor/coaches to step in, Smith writes:
Where is Pat Croce when you need him? Or Iverson’s coach at Georgetown, John Thompson?
Where is the person with the ideal combination of compassion and toughness who would shelter Iverson at the same time he’s holding his feet to the flames? Someone whose vested interest is in Iverson’s well-being, someone who doesn’t need his money or cachet?