Sunday Conversation: Allen Iverson
Editor's note: Sixers guard Allen Iverson sat down with ESPN's Jim Gray to discuss his relationship with interim head coach Chris Ford and the All-Star's suddenly tenuous future in Philadelphia.
How would you like to be coached?
Iverson: How would I like to be coached? I'd like to be coached like I was coached with coach (Larry) Brown. Like I was with coach (John) Thompson. I would like somebody who let me just play basketball. Let me be free out there, not play like a robot. But I need somebody on my ass. I need somebody that is going to bring the best out of me. That is going to get on me when I do wrong. Without that, I would never get any better.
Is it simply a case you don't know how good you have it until you don't have it anymore? And is that the case with coach Brown?
Iverson: (long pause) It got to be the case.
So do you wish now, in retrospect, that you would have done more to figure out a relationship where you could have co-existed?
Iverson: No because I'm human, and I kind of went with the flow. I was learning and I'm still learning. I don't get on myself for that situation. I always look at it as it was time for coach (Brown) to move on, and it's time for me to move on and hopefully his situation is better than it was here. Hopefully, he's happier than he was here, and the same thing for me. I just wish him well. But I know I lost something great.
But I don't have any problems playing with Chris Ford. No problem at all. I don't have no problem at all. I can go out there and do the same thing that I did for coach Brown for coach Ford. I mean the same exact thing. I play the same way and I play hard and I respect him as a coach.
Was there a problem initially? (Because) when he fined you after the All-Star game, you said that you resented the fact that you've been bustin' your butt for eight years and this guy's been here one game and he did that to you.
Iverson: I didn't like what he did. I had a problem with it and I voiced my opinion with the thing. We started with ... I'm giving you a reason why I didn't show up and you didn't take it that way. You didn't accept it and that's the way our relationship started off. But I mean, that's just the way it went. I mean it happened and it's done with. I mean we've got to move on. We trying to make the playoffs; I'm trying to get healthy. And that's all I'm concentrating on, for something positive to come out of all of this and it can.
Allen, how difficult is it for you to call your boss if you don't want to go to practice or if you don't show up for a game like last Sunday? People at home all have a boss and if they can't go to work, they get in contact with the person they are told to get in contact with.
Iverson: You are right. You right. That was something that I really could have avoided. But I didn't even think of it that way. I was just thinking about getting in contact with our doctor and our trainer. I was at home throwing up blood. So that was the first thing I could think of ... let's get in contact with the doctor. I spoke with the doctor. I thought I did everything that it took for me to be excused but obviously it wasn't enough. I can respect him wanting me to call him and deal with him. It's something (I'll) learn from and something I have to move on. I accept what happened to me and that's it.
Do you practice hard? And do you participate in as many practices as you should?
Iverson: I practice hard. I practice hard because I try to get a lot out of my teammates. I try and make sure they get a lot out of me going right back at them. (But) I'd be lying to you if I said I come in after a back-to-back and practice hard for two hours or practice everyday because I don't. When I have an injury I feel like -- my past speaks for itself. When I'm banged up and I say, "Coach, I'm banged up man and I can't give you nothing but 30 minutes of shooting today. I can't go up and down today." That should be enough I feel because of the wars I've been through. The injuries I've played through. And how I come every night.
Do you feel as though you will be here next year? Or do you feel you will be traded?
Iverson: I'm always going to feel like I'll be here. And if the day come that I'm not a Sixer, I'll thank them for everything they've done for me and the person that the city helped raise, and I'll go on about my life and about my profession.
Might it be better to go elsewhere at this point, Allen?
Iverson: It might. It might not. Only God knows. I always felt this was the best situation for me. At times I didn't feel it was the situation for me. But I have more happy times than sad times here. I think I've done a lot for the city of Philadelphia as far as playing basketball here. And I think the city has done a lot for me just letting me be who I am and letting me showcase my talent all over the world and represent Philadelphia. I have some good times and bad times but I think the good times outweigh the bad times.
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