Retired Allen Iverson: I am not evil or some tough renegade

allen-iverson-sixersDime Magazine recently got a chance to visit the Barclays Center for Brooklyn’s home opener against Miami, upon the invitation from Reebok, for the release of the Reebok Q96 and Pumpspective Omni and a chance to play a little ball on Barclay’s herringbone parquet court after the game.

This is where Allen Iverson was – a recently retired NBA All-Star, and a future Hall of Famer, whom fans will forever remeber as a Sixer from Philadelphia.

A number of different people asked Iverson questions about his favorites: favorite player that never made an All-Star team (“John Salmons“); favorite colorway (“Red and white because they’re the original, they’re the first ones”); favorite place to watch street ball (“New York. Rucker.”), and so on.

Then someone asked Iverson: If you had any advice for a young player in the League right now, what would it be?

Allen Iverson: Same thing I would tell anybody, whether it’s somebody coming into the League, somebody that’s playing pick-up basketball, somebody that’s playing Pop Warner: Play hard. You can’t miss with that. And that’s another thing about the fans in Philly – they never gave a damn about if Allen played well some nights or whatever. We know he’s gonna give everything he got.”

“Regardless if he miss every shot, regardless of if he has 20 turnovers – we know he’s trying to win. That’s what it’s about in anything. Just giving all you got. That’s the only thing you can ask for from somebody that’s doing anything. Shit, if you’re talking to a girl, give all you got. All your best lines, use ‘em. Don’t save ‘em! Use ‘em. In anything you do, any story you write, make it your best one. Make it to whereas you feel like it’s your last one. God might not open your eyes the next day.”


Dime: What’s the one question you’ve always wanted people to ask you, but no one ever does?

Allen Iverson: Damn, that’s a great question.

Dime: Well you just said to give it your best shot.

AI: See how good you’re getting it, as you’re going on – God damn.

Dime: Like if there’s something you always wanted to talk about, but no one ever asked you about it?

AI: I would ask me: From the perception that we make you out to be, as far as rumors and things we hear, does it hurt? And my answer would be, ‘Yes, it does.’ Especially when it’s not the truth. I look at the situation and as long as a person don’t call me a rapist or a child molester or a racist, I’m like, Aright. As long as you don’t call me that, then I won’t defend myself. I’ll let it go as long as you don’t call me that. But a lot of other things that people say that’s not true — they hurt. The shit hurt.

People think that I’m some tough, renegade, black-hearted-being, evil, no-feeling-having mothafucka, but that ain’t me. I think some media outlets and some people know that about me. They know it gets to me. They know it bothers me, so I think that’s why they do it. But I’m human just like everybody else. I’ve got feelings just like everybody else.

When motherfuckers write shit about me that’s not true, damn right it hurts. It hurts even more knowing my kids are old enough to know what it is now. That’s what I would ask myself. I would love to answer that question so people could know that – that Allen Iverson really does have feelings.

allen-iverson-retiredDime: That’s gonna be the title of my piece, by the way: ‘Allen Iverson has feelings.’

AI: [laughs] For real. He really does, have feelings.

Dime: Do you think that not responding to [the criticism] has made it worse? Or do you think that that’s the only way to deal with it?

AI: OK, that’s another great question. I want to, at times, but the satisfaction of answering it and responding to it does everything that the person that wrote it or reported on it wants. You’re doing just what they want you to do.

And I mean, my ex-wife, my mom, my aunts, my uncles, my friends, they’re like, ‘Man, respond to this shit!’ They’re reporting this and they’re reporting that, and I be wanting to do it so bad, but I feel like that’ll just keep it going and keep it going. Then I respond, then they say something else, then they want me to respond again, then I respond, then it keeps going on and on.

Dime: When did you figure it out, to ignore those rumors?

AI: I didn’t figure it out. I think with me, I would’ve been did it – responded – but the people that love me, I take their advice. I know that if I respond to everything, that it’ll keep going on. It’ll be just like, somebody will keep doing it because they know they’re gonna get a response from me. So my whole thing is, if you love me, then love me. If you don’t, then believe what you hear and run with that, because even if you love me, or if you don’t love me, you ain’t gonna love me no more for responding to the shit. You don’t love me anyway, so what difference does it make? Why am I trying to prove anything to you?

The 38-year-old Iverson had not played an NBA game since Feb. 20, 2010, in his second, short-lived stint with the Sixers. The 6-foot, 165-pound guard also played for Denver, Detroit and Memphis over a 14-year career that has him 19th on the career scoring list with 24,368 points. He also played in Turkey before realizing the NBA doors would not open for him again.

Iverson, spent 14 seasons in the NBA, and was a winner of both the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors. He is an 11-time all-star, and 4-time scoring champion. Iverson took his team all the way to the NBA Finals in 2001 but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Despite never winning a championship, Iverson was rated the fifth greatest NBA shooting guard of all time by ESPN in 2008.

Iverson played in 914 NBA games (901 started), and holds career average of 26.7 points per game, and 6.2 assists per game, with 41.1 minutes per game.


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