Gary Payton said he inspired Allen Iverson’s “practice” press conference during a night of drinking, telling the then-76ers star that not practicing was the key to staying healthy. That might not have been the only role alcohol played in the rant. Iverson was drunk during the press conference, according to “Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson” by Kent Babb – as relayed by Deadspin’s Drew Magary, who apparently had an advanced copy of the book. This is far from the first time Iverson has been connected to a drinking problem. Unfortunately, the results weren’t always a humorous press conference. Babb, according to Magary, details Iverson abusing his ex-wife, Tawanna, and children. Magary:
- Iverson once threatened his wife, Tawanna, that he would pay a man $5,000 to have her killed.
- Iverson also told Tawanna that he would pay someone a million dollars to testify in divorce court that they had an affair with her. (Side note: His price scale for nefarious deeds strikes me as poorly thought out)
- Tawanna has also accused Allen of numerous instances of spousal abuse, including stepping on her bare foot and grinding his boot heel into it, and punching her in the back while laughing out loud. “That’s a kidney shot,” he told her.
- Iverson was an absentee father who once left his young kids alone in a hotel room for a whole night to go get hammered. He also once told one of his sons, “You ain’t no real nigga. You a white boy, you preppy, you rich boy.”
As Magary said of the book:
If you’re a big Iverson fan, you’ll read it and then probably then wish that you hadn’t.