It’s hard to believe it was 10 years ago today, but this marks the anniversary of one of the more memorable rants in Philadelphia (and for that matter, sports in general) history. Allen Iverson took to the microphone to explain that he was more of a gamer and not as much of a practice player.
The Sixers had just been eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Iverson was responding to criticism from then-Sixers coach Larry Brown that said he didn’t practice hard enough during the 2001-02 season. And since that day, “Practice?” has become a phrase forever tied to Iverson.
Iverson: "If I can't practice, I can't practice. It is as simple as that. It ain't about that at all. It's easy to sum it up if you're just talking about practice. We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game last it's my last but we're talking about practice man.
How silly is that? Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about practice right now.
Reporter: "But it's an issue that your coach continues to raise?"
Iverson: "Hey I hear you, it's funny to me to, hey it's strange to me too but we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually 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?