Ten years ago, Allen Iverson talked about practice.
The press conference came four days after Iverson's 76ers had been eliminated in the Eastern Conference playoffs by virtue of a 33-point loss to the Celtics. That would be May 7, 2002. Where did this come from though? Because coach Larry Brown, who Iverson clashed with constantly, said his star "has to be practicing, has to set an example."
A year earlier, Iverson had won the MVP, taken his Sixers to the NBA Finals and made a leap into the conversation of being the best in the game. He was an undersized 6-1 guard who shot too much, talked a lot but never backed down. No one ever questioned Iverson's heart and soul. He battled for the full 48 any time he stepped on the floor.
All in all, Iverson said the word "practice" more than 20 times. The famous video above isn't even the whole story. That's the soundbite we all remember, but the entire press conference was something else. Iverson started out by saying he didn't want to talk and then, like an avalanche, thoughts, emotions and feelings came pouring out. The whole transcript is preserved here, and it's fascinating.
The one-liners and remixes are what stand the test of time, but what's lost in Iverson's rant is the raw emotion and candidness that he showcased for almost 30 minutes. You don't see that type of thing anymore. Maybe you'll catch a good line or even a paragraph of intriguing comments from an athlete, but as for a guy being peppered with questions for half an hour as he fires back, that doesn't happen.
Which is why here we sit, 10 years later, still talkin' 'bout practice.