Allen Iverson has rejected a $1 million deal to make his playing return to professional basketball on a tour in China, and has plans to file a lawsuit against Chinese promoters breaching a current coaching contract, sources told RealGM.
RealGM reported on May 21 that Iverson had been pushed so hard by promoters in Harbin, China, that officials and fans created difficulties in allowing him to leave to continue his tour. Last month, Iverson reached agreement on a coaching deal for a Chinese tour, under no obligation to perform on the court, as stated in his contract.
After an attempted breach of the first contract, which was paid in full to Iverson, the future basketball Hall of Famer had more turbulence this week: Promoters claimed to Chinese officials that they paid the $1.1 million owed to Iverson in his second round of the deal, but sources close to Iverson insist the entire sum has gone unpaid and falsely wired.
Iverson released a statement to RealGM on Friday afternoon through his representative on the tour, NBA agent and lawyer Muhammad Abdur-Rahim:
"I have visited The Peoples Republic of China on multiple occasions. Each time I visit, I am taken aback by the love, appreciation, and respect that the people in China show me. Normally, I visit larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai. However, on this trip I had the honor and privilege to visit other parts of China for the first time. I was personally blown away by the love that the fans had for me in Harbin, Xi’An, Jingjiang, and Hefei. In addition, having the opportunity to meet with local business owners and witness the amazing infrastructure throughout China will leave an everlasting impression on me.
"I am highly disappointed by the unethical and dishonest actions of Tianjin Qi Di Culture Co., Ltd (“QIDI”), Beijing Landmark Advertisement Co., Ltd, Mr. Li Dong and Mr. David Lee, regarding my participation in this tour. Tianjin Qi Di Culture Co., Ltd (“QIDI”), Beijing Landmark Advertisement Co., Ltd, Li Dong and David Lee have continuously lied, misled my fans and breached the contracts between their companies and myself. Despite their negative actions, I will still continue the tour for my fans. What’s more important to me than any contract or sum of money is the love that my fans have for me."
Iverson is expected to return to the States after this weekend, and Abdur-Rahim will forge a group of attorneys in Atlanta for a lawsuit against two promoters, Li Dong and David Lee.
An 11-time NBA All-Star and the 2001 Most Valuable Player, Iverson last played professionally in 2011 with a Turkish team.