monica cost

Monica Cost, Chief Brand Strategist

*No really. I’m actually looking for Allen Iverson.

I want to chop it up with him, have a conversation, you know, real talk. I actually think he would actually appreciate my article.

I remember meeting him and having a few brief conversations during my time at Reebok, when the company endorsed him. His sneakers were a huge part of the company’s profits and brand.

He was funny, smiled a lot, seemed down to earth and he was somewhat shy. I’d heard some of his “bad boy” stories by then, but something about him I liked. He reminded me of a few of the mischievous boys I’d met during my mother’s career as a teacher (no offense Mr. Iverson. I do recognize that he is a grown man). As a matter of fact, my mother would sometimes say something to the effect of “I sure hope he (Allen Iverson) gets it together and people leave him alone long enough to do it. There’s just something about him I like.” I agreed.

I know Iverson isn’t doing interviews right now. And I even heard from a source that he turned down the queen of hard to get interviews, Ms. Oprah Winfrey. Yet, still I’m searching.

While I would like to interview many people, my list of “must have” interviews for authentic living is very short. Not because there aren’t a host of interesting people in the world. It’s just that I have found that so many people live (at least in a few areas) in the LOMB (Land of Make Believe).

That being said, I believe Mr. Allen Iverson is a pretty authentic guy. He lives in the LOAT (Land of Authenticity and Truth). Let me explain. From the times I’ve been in his presence, to every news story I’ve read, and every bit of footage I’ve seen (with the exception of the brawl in Virginia), I believe he’s been true to himself and what he believed to be the best choice for him at the time, despite the labels and consequences that may have come with it. That’s more than I can say for many. While several notable personalities (not all) make a lot of choices to garner the “good” societal labels, I believe Iverson’s actions were based primarily on what he valued at the time. Now having said that, I also believe that Iverson cared and currently cares greatly about the labels his actions ultimately received from the public.

I’m not sure if Allen Iverson is simply a product of his environment who could not shake the demons of his past. Or, if he is just

My Iverson Tshirt from the Reebok days.

My Iverson Tshirt from the Reebok days.

afraid of the sunshine. People who are afraid of the sunshine continuously do things to cause people to have low expectations of them, thus they never feel the pressure of having to perform at a high level. Iverson may have been afraid of his personal sunshine, but seemed to bask in his professional light. The personal bled so heavily onto his professional that it smothered it, and now the flame is out. . . at least for now.

Despite the recent “Allen Iverson is So Broke, He Couldn’t Afford a Cheeseburger” headlines, his teen troubles, his NBA foils and ultimate release, his family struggles, and what seems like a constant string of bad choices, I believe there is a path to a better place for Iverson — if he wants to be in one. My gut says he does.

I would say this is a job for Olivia Pope (from ABC’s Scandal), but this one calls for a, shall we say, a more authentic solution. No cover up, just a commitment to the cause of truth. So, I’ll take a stab at this one myself. It begins first with Allen Iverson’s understanding of how he arrived to place in life, including the people who he’s hurt and disappointed. The next step is the telling of his whole story, should he feel so compelled to do so. Not just telling of the incidents that led him here, but his reasons for acting in the manner he has and what he expected the outcome to be (if he even thought that far out). And then, we need to hear about the softer side of the NBA All Star and the times he treated people well and imparted his “don’t do it like me” wisdom to young people. He doesn’t owe the public anything, unless he wants the public’s support.

allen-iversonAllen Iverson is not evil. He’s wounded and he needs some compassion and healing. I know it sounds cliche, but hurt people hurt people. I’m not offering excuses. Trust me, his actions have been out of line in my book. I’m only asking that we take off our high and mighty crowns of judgment and take a moment to connect to the human side of this person. He hasn’t committed murder. As a matter of fact, most of his antics have been self destructive; although I realize that they have affected others.

Expectations are necessary; however, they can be very dangerous. At this point, we expect Iverson to be the bad boy, the volatile one, the guy who can’t control himself. And, true to form as humans, he’s living right into our expectations.

Some will say, he brought this on himself. Others will say, there’s no excuse for his behavior. Here is what I say, “keep searching Allen. Dig deep. There’s another chance for life to be good. Surround yourself with authentic people who have your best interest at heart (and I know they will be hard to find). Seek professional counsel (we all should) and get the healing you need. Not one of us is exempt from spiritual pain. Life is about how we process that pain. Find the good in yourself and commit to it, no matter how loud the chatter of your past. Forgive yourself and make the rest of this life count. Last, but certainly not least, give me a call. I’ll tell your story, authentically.”

I’m searching for Allen Iverson and Allen Iverson is too.

Monica Cost is a Brand Strategist for Evidently Assured & the Live Your Truth Experience (L.Y.T.E.).  She is the Author  of the new life changing book on living an authentic life called, “The Things I  Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations” (found at Email her at:  [email protected] her via Twitter: @monicacost and Live  true!