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PHILADELPHIA (CAP) - Following weeks of speculation regarding the future of Sixers guard Allen Iverson, Philadelphia has announced a trade that sends the troublesome star to NASA in exchange for Discovery astronaut Robert Curbeam and a Mission specialist to be named later.
"Curbeam will be an excellent addition to the Sixers starting lineup," General Manager Billy King said following the announcement of the deal. "We need someone with good hands, and after we watched him hook up that huge truss to the International Space Station the other day, we knew we had our man."
However, King and the Sixers will have to wait a while before they can work their new addition into the lineup, as the shuttle Discovery is not expected to return to Earth until sometime in late December. And even then, Curbeam will need to go through a debriefing and medical examinations before he'll be cleared to play.
"If we can keep the space walks to four or fewer, it's likely the shuttle will be home around Christmas," said Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks. "In which case we hope to have Curbeam ready to go for right after the All Star break."
For their part, NASA is looking to add a little notoriety to a space program that has lacked front page headlines in recent years. NASA officials said the addition of Iverson does just that.
"What better way to introduce the space program to a new generation than with one of their idols," said John Shannon, chairman of the Mission management team. "Plus we figure Allen will give us that street cred we've been lacking for quite some time."
Shannon also said he doesn't anticipate Iverson's attitude to be a huge issue due to the "isolation factor" of the space station.
"I mean, when we have bowling night every Wednesday, what's he gonna do? Where's he gonna go?" asked Shannon. "I think being in space will be very therapeutic for Allen Iverson."
Iverson's first task once he arrives at the space station will be to take part in an experiment on the effects of weightlessness on tattoos.
- CAP News Staff
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