Was Allen Iverson drunk during his infamous practice rant in 2002?
According to a new book, A.I. just might have been inebriated when repeating the phrase "we're talking about practice" 22 times during a press conference.
Journalist Kent Babb's Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson suggests that A.I. went drinking before delivering the practice rant that will seemingly live on forever.
The way the story is told in the book is the Philadelphia 76ers had just been eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Boston Celtics and Sixers general manager Billy King persuaded A.I. to speak with reporters during a season-wrapping press conference four days later.
Before doing so, Iverson showed up late for a meeting with then-Sixers coach Larry Brown. According to the book, he argued with Brown, before asking him if he was on the trading block. Brown said no.
"I assumed he went and fooled around somewhere," Brown said, tipping his hand back like a bottle, Babb writes in the book, according to ESPN.
King added that something about Iverson looked off when he returned.
Added a Philadelphia Daily News columnist, John Smallwood: "He was lit. If he had been sober, he would have been able to get himself out of that. He never would've gone down that path. Maybe you had to have been around him all the time to know the difference, but we all knew."
On Friday morning ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith said he spoke to Iverson before the show and that the story is "a lie" and that the former NBA superstar "was not drunk."
In 2013, Iverson told reporters that he should have never done the press conference because he was so irked that he might be traded. He was also emotional about his friend Rahsaan Langford, who was murdered in Virginia seven months prior to the conference.
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