Through extensive research and interviews with those closest to Iverson, acclaimed Washington Post sportswriter Kent Babb gets behind the familiar, sanitized, and heroic version of Iverson—the hard-changing, hard-partying athlete who played every game as if it were his last. Babb brings to life a private, loyal, and often generous Allen Iverson who rarely made the headlines, revealing the back story behind some of Iverson’s most memorable moments, such as his infamous “Practice” rant, delving even deeper to discover where Iverson’s demons lurked. He drank too much, stayed out too late, spent more money than most people could spend in a dozen lifetimes—blowing more than $150 million of his NBA earnings alone. His then wife Tawanna, seen often as the mild-mannered woman who tamed the bad boy, tried to keep her husband and family on the rails. But, as so many others learned on basketball courts, she was no match for the force of nature that was Iverson. Jealousy, meanness, and relentless eventually wore down even his biggest fans, teammates, and, eventually, even his most formidable opponent.
Not a Game is an impeccably researched, honest look at the factors that led to the rise and fall of a basketball superstar. In doing so, it illuminates the dark side of our modern day, multi-billion dollar sports and entertainment culture in which talented players are disposable—and all too often success and tragedy wear the same number.