Confidence was never Allen Iverson’s issue.
The guy who might be the first you think of when you think of Philadelphia 76ers basketball (that Dr. J guy was pretty good, too) will have his number retired by the organization on Saturday night. It’s the hottest ticket in Philly.
Talking Iverson, Bryant Gumbal and HBO Sports went to the coach that got the most out of him — Larry Brown. Who is having a very strong season as the coach of SMU.
What followed was Larry Brown describing vintage Iverson (credit Ben Golliver at SI’s The Point Forward for the transcription):
Bryant Gumbel: “When’s the last time you talked to him?”
Larry Brown: “He was here about a month ago. He spoke to our team, Bryant, and it was the most unbelievable talk I’ve ever heard. Our kids were spellbound. And he was so open and honest with ‘em. He talked about the good things he did and the things he’d like to change, which weren’t a lot. But the one thing that stuck out in my mind, one of the kids said, ‘Who’s the best player to ever play?’ Who do you think he said?”
Bryant Gumbel: “Himself.”
Larry Brown: “Allen Iverson. And he said, ‘I’m not disrespecting Michael [Jordan] or Magic [Johnson] or Julius Erving or any of those guys.’ He said, ‘I couldn’t have done what I did at my size if I didn’t feel that way.’”
Long live Allen Iverson.