Thursday marks yet another "Theme Day" on SB Nation, and this week, we discuss the "Most Hyped" player ever to be associated with a team (or league, in the case of RidiculousUpside.com as it relates to the D-League).
That said, it's normally difficult to get excited or (more fittingly) hyped about a certain player hitting the NBADL hardwood, simply because those who play in the minor league are attempting to make a name for themselves. Those with well known reputations aren't usually the ones to play in the D-League, though there are always, a few exceptions.
Nevertheless, the league's arguably "Most Hyped" player is one who failed to live up to it all relatively quickly, ultimately never hitting the minor league hardwood.
Earlier this offseason, eleven-time NBA all-star and one time M.V.P. award winner Allen Iverson sparked much debate amongst basketball fans. Having officially announced his retirement in August, "The Answer" opened the door for plenty of discussion as to how soon it'll be until (or if, rather) he reaches the Hall of Fame.
But despite only officially calling it quits last month, the fact of the matter is Iverson hasn't played in the NBA since early 2010. That said, a couple of stints overseas the past few years kept the hope alive that the talented guard would someday, still, return to The Association.
Perhaps getting closer than ever to a second stint in the NBA, Iverson first flirted with the idea of hitting the D-League hardwood in February of 2012. Always one to attract massive spotlight, the former star was said to be garnering interest from the Los Angeles D-Fenders, NBADL affiliate of the Lakers.
Ultimately, nothing ever came of it.
For the next few months, Iverson crept back into the headlines as he reportedly flirted back and forth with a potential stint in the NBA D-League. It wasn't until earlier this year that another minor league opportunity came oh so close to reaching fruition.
Known for continuously attracting well-known NBA vets in search of a second chance to town, the Texas Legends (affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks), reached out to Iverson to play for them instead. Having previously employed the likes of Mike James, Delonte West, Antonio Daniels, Greg Ostertag, Dan Gadzuric, Rashad McCants, and Chris Douglas-Roberts en route to potential comebacks over the years, the Legends seemed to be a perfect (if not, a simply very fitting) landing spot for Iverson.
Though in a poll at the time of such speculation, 78% of RidiculousUpside.com readers felt as though Iverson should have taken the plunge into the D-League, he himself happened to disagree. The then-37 year old opted not to sign, thus not only closing the door on an NBADL stint, but ultimately, his career.
While he never went on to hit the minor league hardwood, there's no doubt participation from Iverson would have done wonders for the D-League in more ways than one. Even more credibility, legitimacy, respect, increased ticket sales (and perhaps even jersey sales, too) would have all been among the potential benefits.
The D-League has developed players with respectable success stories in guys like Jeremy Lin, Danny Green, and Steve Novak, among others. They've also hosted pretty notable past NBA stars over the years, such as Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis.
Still, to this day, a (potential) future Hall of Famer has yet to use the league as his path back to the NBA. Iverson would have a made a massive splash if he were the first one to do so.
The pure outpour of speculation and hope alone that Iverson would become an NBADL alumni undoubtedly makes him an incredibly worthwhile candidate to stand tall as the NBA D-League's "Most Hyped" player ever.