Iverson Will Officially Play In Turkey


Allen Iverson has agreed in principle to a US$4-million, two-year contract with the Turkish professional team Besiktas.

Iverson is expected to officially sign with the club this weekend and will begin his overseas career the week of Nov. 8. His management team put out a release Thursday night. Iverson and Besiktas officials will hold a press conference Friday in New York.

“He’s ecstatic,” Iverson’s manager, Gary Moore, said by phone. “He’s very excited, very happy the people in Turkey want him, the people in Turkey appreciate what he brings to the game, and he can’t wait to get over there.”

The 2001 NBA MVP has been out of work since leaving the Philadelphia 76ers in March to deal with family issues. Moore said not a single NBA team contacted Iverson in the off-season.

Besiktas’ executive board member, Seref Yalcin, travelled to the United States this week to meet with Iverson and work out contract details. Yalcin, Besiktas owner Yildirim Demiroren and Iverson will attend Friday’s press conference.

Iverson is 17th on the NBA’s career scoring list with 24,368 points over a 14-year career with Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit and Memphis. He won the MVP in 2001 when he led the Sixers to the finals.

Iverson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft and spent his first 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He was a four-time scoring champion, averaged 26.7 points and never won a championship.

He played three games for Memphis last season before he returned for a second stint with the Sixers. He averaged 13.9 points for the Sixers before he took a leave of absence in March because of family issues.

In his prime, Iverson boasted top-selling jerseys and sneakers and was a global superstar. His popularity never waned even as his production dipped — Iverson was voted an Eastern Conference all-star starter last season. Moore said Iverson had no concerns about playing overseas.

“The interest the people from Turkey have shown leaves us nothing to feel but very, very optimistic,” Moore said late Thursday night. “I don’t see why they wouldn’t be. Look at everything Allen has done in his career. Look at the way he plays the game. I can really understand the people of Turkey being happy about getting a player of Allen’s stature.”

Iverson turned 35 in June and had wanted to keep playing in the NBA. Bobcats coach Larry Brown, who led Iverson and the Sixers to the finals in 2001, called Iverson’s situation “sad” earlier this week.

“What he’s accomplished, I don’t think you want to see him end his career this way,” he said.

Press Release

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