Who said that coach Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies can't stop anyone?
They're on the verge of putting an end to Allen Iverson's basketball career.
After three games with the Grizzlies, Iverson is contemplating retirement for "personal reasons."
If one of those reasons doesn't involve Hollins nailing Iverson's personal butt to the bench, I have a blue and white Iverson jersey I'd like to sell you.
Not as many as the team has, mind you. It's lined up 3,000 jerseys for Allen Iverson night on Dec. 4.
Maybe they can change it to Hollins-is-the-boss night? Give out little figurines of Hollins sending Iverson to the bench?
Iverson left the Grizzlies after playing 21 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday night.
DeMarre Carroll played 20 minutes. Mike Conley played 27.
That's enough to drive anyone into retirement.
And, yes, I know, there are reportedly other, non-basketball issues distracting Iverson right now. But let's be honest. This is one of the all-time great ballers. You think he'd walk away if the Grizzlies were letting him ball?
Of course not. So the Grizzlies are part of this. The team that specializes in public relations blunders has topped itself now.
This is bigger than the Pau Gasol trade. Bigger than Christian Laettner telling the world he planned to buy and then play for the team.
The Grizzlies brought in Allen Iverson and then chased him into the sunset because he acted like -- ready for it? -- Allen Iverson!
Whoever would have thought it? The nerve of the guy!
Yes, Iverson has confirmed to the world he is all about Iverson. But what part of the world didn't know that already?
Answer: The part occupied by owner Michael Heisley, GM Chris Wallace and Hollins.
Maybe it's not that surprising, given the track record. These guys also apparently didn't know that Hasheem Thabeet isn't real good at basketball. Or that this year's team couldn't guard a chair.
But even the Los Angeles Clippers knew about Iverson. They thought about signing him this summer but declined after they talked to him about his role.
Iverson told them he wasn't going to be happy coming off the bench. He would have told the Grizzlies the same thing except ...
They didn't ask. Honest.
Heisley, Wallace and Hollins flew to Atlanta to meet Iverson and purposely did not talk to him about whether he'd start or come off the bench.
This was the official team strategy. Don't ask, don't tell.
So Iverson left the meeting thinking he'd be able to win the starting job, and Hollins left the meeting thinking Iverson would come off the bench, and is it any wonder the whole thing blew up?
Hollins was testy from the very start. He didn't want to answer questions from the national media about Iverson. As if the national media would want to talk to him about anything else.
Hollins is the coach of the league's laughingstock. He's with the Grizzlies for the same reason Iverson was with the Grizzlies: The wacky owner decided it would be a good idea.
This hard truth eluded Hollins. Because there he was, a glorified interim coach, playing a Hall of Famer behind Conley and then refusing to talk about it to the press.
Or to the Hall of Famer, apparently.
"I think that's the worst part of this," Iverson told reporters Friday. "While all this is going on, we have never talked to each other. That's probably why it's at this point now. We've just never had a conversation, so it's probably going to always be hard for me and him to see eye-to-eye, because we've never even talked to each other. Obviously that's what you do if you're trying to accomplish the same goal."
Blistering, eh? So blistering that you'd dismiss it as fiction if it weren't for the coach's response.
"There's no need to talk to AI," said Hollins.
No need to talk to him any longer, perhaps. But what do you say to Grizzlies fans? How do you explain this latest screw-up?
The Grizzlies should never have signed Iverson. By signing him and then losing him, they're making it harder for everyone.
Hollins will be known as the coach who ran Iverson out of the game. Conley will be known as the player who kept Iverson on the bench.
Conley, at least, deserves better. Heisley, Wallace and Hollins deserve all the ridicule they'll get.
They're the ones who failed here. They're the ones who created this mess.
Allen Iverson is contemplating retirement.
The Grizzlies' incompetents remain.