April 23, 2001 was the last time Allen Iverson appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
More than 16 years later, the mean-mugging Answer is back.
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In a wide-ranging, 3,500-plus word article, SI's Lee Jenkins talked with Iverson for the magazine's annual "Where Are They Now?" issue as the former Sixers guard prepped for his debut in The BIG3. The league began Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn where The Answer appeared as a player-coach for his team, 3's Company, logging only nine minutes.
Jenkins spoke with not just Iverson, but also former Sixers owner Pat Croce and BIG3 founder and rap mogul Ice Cube among others.
Here are some highlights from the piece:
Iverson on his relationship with now-ex-wife, Tawanna
You have to realize, first of all, that you're the f--- up. If you were mature enough to handle being married, if you played your part, all those bumps in the road would not have happened. So you have to point the finger at Allen Iverson. My divorce was long, long, long overdue. It was overdue a year after saying ‘I do.' Obviously, it went on 12 more years, and that was because she didn't want to break up our family. Divorce was her last idea of what to do to try to get my attention. She tried everything else in the book, even counseling, and none of it worked. The one thing that caught my attention was looking at that piece of paper and seeing Iverson vs. Iverson. 76ers vs. 76ers. Georgetown vs. Georgetown. You look across that courtroom and see the person you love more than life itself, and you get the picture. As strong as I am, that was my vulnerable moment.
Iverson on being a full-time father with his kids in Charlotte:
I wanted to be there for the PTA meetings, for the homework. I can't sit here and tell you I'm the greatest dad in the world. But I'm home. I can do the things I didn't do for my older kids. That's the thrill for me now. That's the rush I used to get from basketball. [Tawanna] doesn't have to always be the disciplinarian. She yells and screams. That's what she does. Me, I give them a look. They think I might do something. In actuality, I won't, because I'm wrapped around their finger.
Biographer Kent Babb, who wrote about Iverson in his 2016 book "Not a Game," on Iverson's struggle to be a successful parent:
I think he really wants to be a good father, a good husband, and he just can't. That's the most maddening thing about Allen Iverson. You really want to trust him and pull for him and believe he'll be consistent this time, but he lets you down. I never thought he was a lost cause because he made a life out of proving people wrong. The best thing about him was that he could bounce back. So I suppose it's possible he could do it again, not probable.
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue on the importance of Iverson's infamous stepover from the 2001 NBA Finals:
I'd want him on my staff because he'd have the respect of everybody in this league right away. You know, if I hadn't defended him in that series, I'd have been out of the league. He made me.
On watching himself on YouTube:
He traded Fridays in Philly for Applebee's, The Cheesecake Factory and The Press Box in Charlotte, fished, watched League Pass and occasionally queued up his old clips on YouTube. "You know how sometimes you can do a great move, but you get so excited you don't make the shot because the move was so good?" he says. "I dig those plays."
You can read the full story here or in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.