By ZACH STUBBLEFIELD
Alen Iverson, former superstar NBA point guard, was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame last week. He was one of the most feisty players the league has ever seen, both on and off the court.
He was brash and unapologetic. He said whatever was on his mind during his career. He oozed style and swagger.
Iverson did not fit the cookie cutter mold that the media had created for pro basketball players. He dressed like a “thug,” he did not care about being politically correct and he was quite the trash talker on the court.
The media crucified him for these traits while he was playing, but now they turn around and applaud him for these very traits while he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This change in perspective from the press is due in large part to social media. The way news media cover athletes has come a long way since Iverson first started playing. When Iverson was playing, there were not many ways for a player to show his personality outside of the court. And it was not accepted either. But things like Twitter and Instagram have allowed athletes to express themselves and be individuals.
Now it is almost an expectation from the press for athletes to express themselves on social media and show themselves to people on these platforms. Showing a personality is almost as important to their brand as being good players in their perspective sports.
Iverson was a vital piece in normalizing the idea that athletes have opinions and lives too outside of their perspective sport. He accelerated the process of the press seeing an athlete as an individual and for that alone he deserves to be a Hall of Famer.