Dear NBA Newcomers,
How many of you remember Allen Iverson before he left for Turkey? Who remembers Allen Iverson when he had the entire hood wearing cornrows? Who remembers when Jada was rapping about Allen's signature shoe, the A5s, and had everyone on the block wearing them to the court? Who remembers Iverson when he had everybody working on their cross over? Who remembers the man who was the hero to the young men in the hood who had no one else to look up to? Who remembers this Iverson?
What made A.I. such an icon was his ability to be real with all of us. There was never a moment that we saw Allen and had to question whether or not he was being the real Allen Iverson. He was never afraid to cry in front of us. He was not afraid to tell us about his domestic disputes. He was never afraid to tell us about how he felt no matter what we may feel. Remember practice...
No matter how hard they tried to bring him down, he continued to be Allen. I just hope that these newcomers remember how they attacked Allen for being Allen. Every chance they got they tried to bring him down, not because the media thought he was a bad person, but because they were afraid of what he was and what he represented. He represents the same thing most of you newcomers represent.
Trust me when I say this: a lot of you come from places that mainstream America tends to overlook. Places with a different set of rules and morals. A lot of you will be misunderstood. You guys are Renegades. So don't be surprised when those who can't step in your pants or walk in your shoes attack you for being someone they don't understand.
Unfortunately we are living in an age where every move you make will be scrutinized. Look what they did to Amar’e Stoudemire. They just fined the man $50,000 for calling a fan who was ridiculing him a faggot in a private message on Twitter. What he said was offensive, but he wasn’t using faggot to deride the fan for being gay. He used it to insinuate that the person deriding him was out of line. The same way many of us do behind closed doors - as he was.
This man is a human. He breathes the same air that we all do. He drinks the same water. He uses the same toilet. So why should he act like he is the paragon of virtue because he can handle a basketball? He’s not a reverend; he’s not the president. He’s an athlete, but before all of that he is a human. Meaning he’s not perfect. But they are going to expect all you draftees to be.
Not perfect in the sense that nothing is wrong with you. You could be the paragon of virtue, but if you have an opinion different from your master's, you better keep that sh*t to yourself. Get a journal and make sure no one finds it, because they will put you on a cross and let an eagle eat your liver like Prometheus.
The powers that be in the MLB suspended Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen because he said he respects Castro, who is a hero to some and a devil to others. The same way Ronald Reagan is and the same way Bush is. Gullien is not a politician, so his socioeconomic views will have absolutely no affect on our capitalist structure.
Instead of researching what Castro has done for Cuba, and his positive affects on countries like Venezuela and South Africa, they chastised him. He wasn’t even referring to his politics, they took what he said completely out of context and they still chastised him.
When you come into the league you will get millions of dollars a year. You will attend the most lavish parties in America. Fans throughout the world will adore you. But all of that appears to come with a price. You have to relinquish your individuality - at least in the public eye.
You are going to be you regardless of anything, but these people signing your checks want you to be the you that they want you to be. Iverson said it best, “If you want to succeed in the league you have to be fake. “
One last thing: learn from LeBron. These fans love what you do, not who you are. They love you right now but the first incident where you do something wrong they will turn on you and focus on what you did off the court and pay less attention to what you do on the court.
Garvey Ashhurst is a young up and coming poet, songwriter, and blogger. He is the reason that the system is afraid of a black man in a library. His aim is not to be Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Ghandi, but he hopes to make them proud by keeping their ideals alive through his lifestyle. He hopes that one day young brothers will one day say I want to be the next him.