This is a story about the most unassuming guy in NBA history, Allen Iverson. From humble beginnings to an MVP and 14 All-Star games, this short biography shows how he has been able to climb such heights despite his lack of fame or fortune.
“Allen Iverson once showed up to practice a tad tardy” and then played “the first 15 minutes” in his socks. “What is happening here?” he asked.
When you think of Allen Iverson, you probably think of his legendary play with the Philadelphia 76ers, or you may think of his humorous demeanor. You’re undoubtedly also recalling his famous “practice” news conference.
In 2002, Iverson made it plain that he preferred not to speak about practice over real games, and his remarks have since become legendary among sports and basketball fans worldwide.
However, a recent tale may have heightened his dissatisfaction with practice even more.
Allen Iverson disliked discussing practice.
Allen Iverson and the 76ers had a rough season in 2001-02. Following Iverson’s MVP season in 2000-01, when he led Philadelphia to the NBA Finals, the club finished 43-39 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics.
He and head coach Larry Brown had difficulties all season, according to ESPN, and they allegedly got into a fight a few days after the Celtics’ defeat. Their verbal spat was only resolved when Brown informed his guard that he would not be traded.
Iverson agreed to speak to the media that evening because he wanted to remain in Philadelphia, but reporters started questioning him about practice and his devotion to it, something Brown had previously complained about.
“We’re in here talking about practice,” he said, according to ESPN. “I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice.” “I mean, listen to what we’re saying: we’re talking about practice. This isn’t a game. This isn’t a game. This isn’t a game. We’re discussing practice. This isn’t a game. Not the game for which I would die and play every game as if it were my last. This isn’t the game. “Man, we’re talking about practice.”
Iverson didn’t appear to like practice as much as he did games, and a recently recounted anecdote further added to his dissatisfaction with it.
According to a former NBA player, AI once arrived late to practice and played “the first 15 minutes” in his socks.
On May 2, 2001, Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers poses before a playoff game against the Indiana Pacers. | Allsport/Tom Pidgeon
JJ Redick, a recently retired NBA player, invited Iverson’s former colleague Kyle Korver on his program, The Old Man and the Three, where the two discussed artificial intelligence.
Iverson was never a teammate of Redick, who joined the NBA in 2006. Despite the fact that he didn’t play for the Sixers until 2017-18 and that The Answer last played in 2010, the two guards still crossed paths.
In fact, Iverson and the Sixers held their training camp at Duke’s facilities when Redick was still a student there. And it was during one of these practices that JJ saw the tale of AI.
On the Nov. 4 show, Redick said, “I simply remember going to a session, and AI strolled in a touch late, a tad late; he played for the first 15 minutes — live basketball, by the way — in socks.” “I was thinking, ‘What the hell is going on here?’”
In those socks, he probably balled out as well.
Regardless of whether Iverson took practice seriously or not, he went on to become one of the best players in NBA history.
Allen Iverson didn’t allow a distaste of practice deter him from achieving stardom.
Allen Iverson was one of the most electrifying performers in the NBA throughout his career, despite maybe not taking practice as seriously as other players.
He was named to 11 All-Star teams, won Rookie of the Year and MVP awards, and led the league in scoring four times as the No. 1 choice in the 1996 NBA Draft. Iverson also led the NBA in steals per game three times in his career, averaging 33.0 points per game in 2005-06.
His accomplishments have earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame and a place among the top 75 all-time greats.
Iverson was a baller whether he practiced or not. He could definitely defeat half of the league’s players in his socks, and he would have done so comfortably.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Allen Iverson’s ‘Other’ Practice Rant: AI Blasted His Head Coach For Shockingly Taking Him Out of the Starting Lineup: ‘I’m not aware of any former MVPs that have come off the bench.’