We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last, but we're talking about practice, man. How silly is that? - Allen Iverson
There are moments in sports that will be with us forever.
"Practice" is one of them.
When Allen Iverson addressed criticism stemming from his practice habits after the 2001-02 NBA season, he launched into a rant that none of us will forget.
It's hard to believe that the infamous "We're talking about practice?" press conference took place 10 years ago today.
After the end of a season that saw the Philadelphia 76ers lose in the first round, former Sixers coach Larry Brown spoke about Iverson's practice habits, or lack thereof. When it was mentioned to Iverson at his year-end exit interview, he didn't shy away from letting everyone know exactly how he felt about practice.
Again and again and again.
While Iverson is no longer in the league, his words are still with us and are often spoofed by players, coaches and analysts alike. In the world of professional sports, where hard work and dedication are the expectation, practice is supposed to be a given.
To hear Iverson say it's silly and suggest that he doesn't need to practice to better his game or to help his teammates improve was stunning, even if it shouldn't have surprised us. Iverson was a one-of-a-kind player for many reasons. His skill, size, toughness, grit and personality have all made him an irreplaceable player of our time.
How many players today could get away with dismissing the idea of practice? How many players would dare to try?
Regardless of your personal opinion of Iverson, one thing that cannot ever be denied is his fearlessness. Even when a politically correct answer would have steered him clear of the media firestorm that ensued, he chose to be himself. Love him or hate him, that's the Iverson way.
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