Allen Iverson goes off on having to deal with practice 19 years ago today after the Sixers lost to the Boston Celtics in the Playoffs in 2002.
Allen Iverson is one of the most iconic, yet polarizing superstars to have ever stepped foot onto NBA hardwood. Everything from the way he presented himself with the tattoos and braids, to his brash personality were what resonated with millions of fans across the world. His influence on the game of basketball transcended being localized to merely a singular continent as he had children in parts of Asia idolizing him.
Iverson wasn’t just a flashy personality off the court however, as he backed up his talk with exemplary play on it. He was named to a bevy of All NBA teams along with multiple All-Star appearances. Not to mention being named the 2001 MVP in an era that still relied heavily on big-man play.
Despite the fact that he won many scoring titles and was clearly going down as a Hall-of-Famer, he would reach the ultimate stage of the NBA Finals once in a career that spanned 15+ years. This would be against the Kobe-Shaq led Lakers, to who he would lose in 5 games. Following this Finals series, it was only downhill for Allen Iverson and Philadelphia 76ers.
Allen Iverson didn’t hold back when talking about practice in 2002.
Though Allen Iverson was a gifted scorer, he wasn’t the perfect player in the slightest. His small frame made him the target on many switches and his willingness to play defense wavered here and there. Following the success of the 2000-01 season, the Sixers looked to run it back.
However, the Sixers wouldn’t be able to capitalize on weakened East as AI’s 76ers would fall to the Boston Celtics in merely the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs. Things came to a boil when Allen Iverson let out his now iconic, “practice,” rant to reporters on May, 7th 2002.
He would reflect on this moment years later and even now, while appearing on the All the Smoke podcast where he would hilariously express his distaste for fans continuously referencing this moment in his career.
“Somebody will come up to me and be like, ‘practice! practice!’ And I’ll look at them like, ‘you can’t be a little bit more original than that? I’m a Hall-of-Famer, all you can think about is practice?'”
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 7, 2021
What led to Allen Iverson letting out such an impactful rant?
The 4x scoring champ’s 2001-02 season was just as successful as his previous campaign, if not more, when looking at his individual stats. He would average the most points he’d ever had at 31.4 this season. However, he grew tired of carrying a subpar Sixers team on his back night in and night out.
Along with needing more help to contend for a championship, he had several run-ins with head coach Larry Brown during the season. To cap off how tumultuous this season was for Iverson, he had lost his best friend, Rahsaan Langeford 7 months earlier. “I’m upset for one reason and it’s ‘cause I lost my best friend. I lost. I lost my best friend. I lost him and I lost this year.”
The heart-breaking words from AI perfectly encapsulated his emotions throughout the season and would eventually lead to a disappointing season from Philly. The ‘practice’ interview was held a couple days after the loss to the Celtics