“Practice. We’re talkin’ bout practice.”
Allen Iverson’s rant about skipping practice when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers is a pop culture touchstone, something people not even familiar with the basketball setting and the conflict between old-school Larry Brown and new-school Allen Iverson will talk about it.
But Billy King was there. He was the Sixers GM at the time. The current Nets president did a Q&A with the New York Times and that included discussion of the most famous press conference in NBA history (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie).
You were president of the Philadelphia 76ers when Allen Iverson went on his famous rant at a news conference, responding to criticism that he was skipping practice. What was the back story?
Larry Brown had said he couldn’t coach Allen anymore. Allen said he couldn’t play for Larry, so they had a meeting to clear the air. After the meeting, I thought, Let’s do a press conference so that everybody knows they’re on one page. We did the press conference, and it becomes legendary. You can go online. Everybody imitates it.
It went on for half an hour on live TV. How did you feel?
I called Ed Snider and resigned because I said, This is a disaster. Later, Ed said you’re not resigning. I went to the Palm, had some Scotch, and I’m thinking, both of these guys are making a lot more money than I am, they’re in a good situation and this is what I’m dealing with.
Note to other GMs: Don’t do a “we smoked the peace pipe” press conference. Those can backfire.
You should log on to the Times and read the whole thing, King talks about how Jay-Z helps as an owner and Kris Humphries marriage to Kim Kardashian.
But really, none of that is more fun than talking Iverson rant.