Well, yes, we are. Because today’s the 10th anniversary of one of the all-time great question-and-answer sessions with a pro athlete. In a lengthy interview that was at times contentious — and at others hilarious — NBA star Allen Iverson started repeating himself when the subject turned to his practice habits and Larry Brown’s criticism after Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
Iverson: “If I can’t practice, I can’t practice, man. If I’m hurt, I’m hurt. It ain’t about that at all. It is as simple as that. It ain’t about that. It’s not about that at all, you know what I’m saying? But it’s easy to talk about. It’s easy to sum it up when you just talk about practice. We’re sitting here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we’re sitting here talking about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game. We’re talking about practice. Not a game. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game. We’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? We’re talking about practice. I know I’m supposed to be there, I’m supposed to lead by example, I know that. And I’m not shoving it aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I do. I honestly do. But we’re talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We’re talking about practice, man. (Laughter.) We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We ain’t talking about the game. We’re talking about practice, man. When you come into the arena, and you see me play, you see me play, don’t you? You see me give everything I got, right? But we’re talking about practice right now.”
Reporter: “But it’s an issue that your coach continues to raise.”
Iverson: “Man, look. Hey, I hear you. It’s funny to me, too. Hey, it’s strange to me, too. But we’re talking about practice, man. We’re not even talking about the game, the actual game, when it matters. We’re talking about practice.”
Reporter: “Is it possible that if you practiced, not you but you would make your teammates better?”
Iverson: “How in the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?”