Allen Iverson’s crazy trip to Harbin, China

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In Heilongjiang province, a province known for its cold winters and its refreshing domestic beer, basketball fans awaited one of the most popular NBA players on the plant, Allen Iverson. He was scheduled to make his first stop in Daqing, a city known as the oil capital of China. But Iverson would never make it to Daqing. Flight delays forced Iverson behind schedule, so he moved his first stop to Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang province.

The main purpose of this trip was for Iverson to coach an American select team named ‘team Iverson‘ to play against the Liaoning Leopards of the CBA. Upon arrival to his Harbin hotel, he was greeted by thousands of fans. According to people who were at the scene, Iverson looked exhausted.  The next day, Iverson was to do a promotional event at a local shopping mall before heading to the arena for the big game.

Allen Iverson was staying at the Victories Hotel in Harbin, China.

Allen Iverson was staying at the Victories Hotel in Harbin, China.

Now for the big exhibition game. It was previously stated in the contract that Iverson would be coaching and only coaching during the event. But the event promoters kept pushing Iverson to play in the game. But the answer wouldn’t back down stating ‘a contract is a contract’. He wouldn’t even shoot the ball during warmups. Iverson sat in his coaching chair and barely moved. This left a lot of local Chinese people frustrated. They had this sense of hope that Iverson could breach the contract and play. But he wasn’t ready to do that.

After the event, Iverson was heading to the airport where he would take a flight to Xi’an, China. But to his surprise, the event promoters and some local fans blocked off the street delaying Iverson from leaving Harbin. As one source told RealGM, “He did everything he could to leave for his next city, and they still held him hostage. For a guy who’s beloved in China, it was ridiculous.”

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Reports from Chinese blog Sina.com note the reason for Iverson not playing is because he was suffering from jet lag, poor physical sickness, and diarrhea. Whatever the case may bay, you can put blame on the event promoters for pushing Iverson to try and break the contract. They knew fans will buy tickets because it’s Iverson, but they didn’t tell the fans that he would only be coaching creating confusion for those who paid money to see A.I.

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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