Former NBA superstar Allen Iverson is now playing in Turkey because he is "broke" after reportedly spending much of the estimated $100 million he earned as one of the league's highest players, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Iverson is not a sensation here, but rather an exciting curiosity for small pockets of basketball fans, playing for a club that doesn't even compete in Euroleague, Europe's most prestigious. The 76ers' former all-everything guard is broke - by all accounts except his own - and playing here in Istanbul for a number of reasons, none of which is to become an ambassador for Turkey's solid, but often overlooked, professional league. In early November, Iverson signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Besiktas, then missed his original flight to Istanbul, got on a plane two days later, and scored 15 points in his Besiktas debut on Tuesday.
"It's not a problem, it's not a problem - money," Iverson said at an Oct. 29 news conference in New York. "Obviously if it was about money, I would jump out there and say, 'You want me to come off the bench? How much money are you paying?' It wouldn't be a big deal. It's not about money or anything like that."
" A member of one NBA front office, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the subject matter, said that prior to last season, a member of Iverson's family called to inquire about a contract for Iverson, explaining that Iverson owed that person money and would be unable to pay without a contract. A similar source explained that Iverson is broke, plain and simple. Over his NBA career, including his lucrative deal with Reebok, Iverson made more than $100 million.
The 35-year-old 11-time NBA All Star was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the number one pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. After more than 10 seasons in Philadelphia and ultimately earning a reputation as a difficult player to manage, he was traded to Denver in 2006, then Detroit and Memphis. At the height of Iverson's career in 2002 and 2003, his annual salary was about $13 million plus $5 million annually in endorsements.