Hall of Famer, NBA icon, one of the greatest to ever do it – Allen Iverson is all of this. But still, his legendary practice rant is one of the first associations that pop into year head when A.I.’s name gets brought up. And while that’s an iconic moment for most, for Iverson, it’s one of those things he wishes he can take back, since the story is much more layered than it seems.
I was dealing with a whole bunch of s*it at the time. Whatever reporter it was, he just kept asking me about the practice situation, and I just lost it. The crazy part about it is everybody thinks it’s funny but me.”Allen Iverson, All The Smoke
While on the All The Smoke podcast, Iverson himself decided to unpack the story, offering a whole different perception on one of the greatest NBA media moments ever. And as I said, it’s much deeper than you would think.
The 01/02 season was a massive disappointment for the 76ers. Just one year after Iverson won a scoring title and willed Philadelphia into The Finals, the Sixers barely finished above .500 and were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Celtics. To add to it, a contentious relationship between Iverson and Sixers head coach Larry Brown bubbled over repeatedly throughout the season, and four days after their playoff exit, the situation between the two again came to a head when Iverson came late to a meeting.
A.I. and his coach had a shouting match outside of the team facility that only lightened when Brown told Iverson he wasn’t going to trade him that the two would remain in Philadelphia for at least another year. It was exactly what Iverson wanted to hear, and he agreed to a news conference that evening to confirm the story to the team’s beat reporters. But they didn’t care about that. All they wanted to talk about was practice.
THE DEATH OF HIS CLOSE FRIEND
The other part a few remember from the practice rant is the raw and lingering wound Iverson still suffered from the death of his best friend — Rahsaan Langeford, who was shot and killed seven months earlier, an event with which Iverson struggled to cope.
The salt to the wound was that the guy who did it still hadn’t got caught. So, while trying to make peace with the death of his friend, Iverson was frustrated that the guy responsible for it was still out there. It deprived him of any sort of closure on the situation, as A.I.’s frustrations only piled up from there.
With the death of his friend, being in trade talks, and having a disappointing NBA run, Iverson simply lost it. Incapsulation – A.I. sitting in front of Philly media and saying the word practice 22 times. The moment created ended up becoming a trademark of Iverson, and The Answer himself isn’t a fan of it.
Somebody’ll come up to me and be like, ‘practice’ and I’d look at him like, ‘is that all you can come up with? You can’t be a little bit more original than that?’Allen Iverson, All The Smoke
As I said; Hall of Famer, NBA icon, one of the greatest to ever do it. That’s Allen Iverson. Not a misinterpreted practice rant. No. There’s so much more to The Answer.