Allen Iverson's "We're Talking About Practice" Rant Was 18 Years Ago
“... I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game.” What did we ever do to deserve Allen Iverson? For what he lacked in physical size he made up for ten fold, with his toughness, grit, and raw emotion. His infamous practice rant happened 18 years ago today. The story goes, Allen had missed the end of the season meeting with at the time head coach Larry Brown. Iverson’s was still mourning the loss of his best friend Rahsaan Langford. When Iverson and Brown finally met up it was at the teamst training facility PCOM. As the two men spoke the only thing Allen wanted to make sure of was, was that they weren’t going to trade him. He loved philly and didn't want to play anywhere else (Philly loved him too). The sixers had no interest of trading the face of the franchise but what they did want is for AI to spend a little more time working on his craft. It’s no secret the NBA is way different now with load management, but back in ‘02 players played every game they possibly could. Like so many others Iverson played in all 82 games that particular season but no one played harder than him. Because of this he would often miss time between games resting his body. That meant he wasn’t always practicing, and as the best player on the team, the other players follow your lead. What Coach Brown was asking AI wasn’t to miss games so he could spend more time at practice, but he was asking Allen to play a little more reserved. That way the team could grow together in the practice room lead by AI. From what Coach Brown says, Allen was ecstatic, as long as he wasn’t being traded from philly he didn’t care. He'd do anything to make his beloved coach asked. There’s a three hour gap between the conversation Brown and Iverson had, to the end of the season press conference. In that time it’s not known what or where Allen was doing. Noone reall knows what had Allen on edge when he sat down for his turn at the press conference. In Allen’s mind, the team had a disappointing season, but he was just told he was going to be in Philly for another season and to him that was the only topic that neede to be discussed. Instead what he got was an opening question in regards to the teams struggles this season because Allen didn’t show up to practice. I’m not going to summarize the rant because I could never do it the justice it deserves. Here is Allen in his own words, the way only he could say them.
When you talk about Iverson the one word that comes to mind is Passion. There was never a player like Allen before and I’m not sure if we will see a player like him again. The city of Philadelphia and the fan base has a reputation of being a hard nosed, no nonsense, tough, and most importantly passionate group of people. The way AI played matched perfectly with way Philadelphia would of wanted him to play. To this day AI is a cult hero figure in philly sports. Every big game the 76ers have AI is sitting front row. Now 18 years removed from his epic rant, Allen has a sense of humor about the situation. AI tweeted this gem.
Never change Allen, never change.