Among the many ways Philly sports fans will remember Allen Iverson's long and tempestuous tenure here is that jaw-dropping May 7, 2002, press conference that turned into a rant about practice.
It's an episode that Iverson now says he regrets.
"It was just being young and definitely immature. I wish it wouldn't have ever happened," he says during an appearance on Fox SportNet's "Best Damn Sports Show Period." The interview, which took place Wednesday, will air tonight. "But you learn from experiences like that . . . I think it sent the wrong message, especially to kids. You can't be a scoring champion and an MVP and an All-Star and all of that without practice . . . I didn't want kids to get the message that you don't need to practice because when you're not practicing, someone else is out there practicing, getting better."
As you no doubt recall, Iverson and coach Larry Brown sniped at each other through a disappointing 2001-02 season that ended with a five-game playoff loss to the Celtics. After being criticized by the coach for, among other things, missing practice, A.I. met with the media. His frustration boiled over into one of the most riveting and entertaining press conferences this town has ever seen in which Iverson was "talkin' about practice" and used the phrase over and over again.
Brown tried to defuse the dustup with an equally memorable press conference the next day.
Iverson played for the Sixers from 1996 until last December, when he was traded to Denver. He tells the "BDSSP" hosts, who include former Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete, that he loved playing here.
"It's a tough town because they love their sports so much," he says. "And they care about it. They're passionate about their sports. And you have to love them for that. I loved every minute of playing for those fans because they cared about it and it meant so much to them." *