PHILADELPHIA—Hoping to capitalize on the busy holiday season, current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Eddie Jordan has been, “picking up a couple of shifts,” at a local Borders Bookstore.
The fact that Jordan’s new part-time job seemingly started with the return of Sixer legend and renowned coach-killer Allen Iverson is purely a coincidence, Jordan says.
“Oh, no. Allen’s great. I have all the respect in the world for Allen and his game,” Jordan offered from in front of the cooking section of Borders. “Everybody has heard the stories, but having met Allen, I know he and I will get along fine.”
Questioned about reports that Iverson arrived a mere half-hour before his first game back with the Sixers on Monday, Jordan replied, “It was Allen’s first game back and he told me there were a lot of emotions to work through. Plus his alarm clock broke.”
“By the way, have you checked Gordon Ramsay’s new book? Some real nice eats in there.”
Sixers GM Ed Stefanski, the man responsible for bringing in Jordan and now Iverson, claims he knew about Jordan’s new side-bar. “Oh yeah, Eddie told me about it the other day. I thought it was a fantastic idea.”
Stefanski has foundered since taking over the Sixers two years ago, with his signature moves so far being the signing of low-impact free agent Elton Brand to a multi-year max deal and the hiring of Eddie Jordan, career record 233-288, as head coach.
And with the Sixers currently sitting at 5-17, Stefanski would seemingly be in trouble for his own job. “I don’t worry about that stuff," Stefanski replied, seemingly referring to employment issues not winning. “Eddie and I will be fine. And don’t be surprised if you see me at Borders the next couple of weeks. They are slammed this time of year.”
Iverson for his part is saying all the right things at this stage of the relationship.
“As long as I’m starting, Eddie can work wherever he wants. Everybody here knows what I do. He doesn’t need to be around here all time. I got this. ” Iverson stated, matter-of-factly.
“I heard he went to Princeton or something, so maybe he likes being around books,” Iverson opined, referring to the Princeton-style offense that Jordan claims to be a master of.
When asked if his opinion would change if Jordan decided to have him come off the bench, Iverson laughed, “Why would he want something crazy like that? That’s just crazy, man. Crazy."
One look at the laundry list of Iverson coaches' pre and post Larry Brown: Johnny Davis, Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O’Brien, and Moe Cheeks—and you realize he might have a point. Especially when you consider Brown covered six of Iverson’s 10 years in Philadelphia.
Still, Jordan claims not to be worried about the future and those around him have seen no signs of cracking.
In fact, his manager at Borders, Scott Sites, says Jordan has been a model employee. “Oh yeah, Eddie’s been great. Even after a loss when people come in just to boo him. He's always very positive about books, magazines, or DVDs.”
Sites added, “Quite frankly, as an NBA coach, the guy makes a helluva of bookstore employee.”
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next when Lou Williams, the player whose injury spurred the Iverson homecoming, comes back from a broken jaw. Especially if the losses keep mounting and the attendance, Iverson’s trump card, keeps rising.
“Lou was a starter when he went down,” Jordan said, while setting up a complicated looking Twilight display, “and when he comes back he’ll start again. Attendance, money and renewed fan interest will not sway our decision in the slightest.”