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Ex-76ers HC Larry Brown 'Was Kind of Happy' When Allen Iverson Didn't Practice

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson, right, poses with his presenter, coach Larry Brown, before induction ceremonies at Symphony Hall, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Eighteen years ago, Allen Iverson talked to us about practice.   

It turns out his coach at the time, Larry Brown, wasn't so concerned about the Hall of Famer missing out on a couple of sessions. 

"When he didn't practice, I was kind of happy," Brown said Thursday on the Rich Eisen Show. "I used to tell him all the time. When you're a coach, and you coach a talent like him, and you coach somebody that goes out every single day and every single possession to try to win the game, that gets hit and banged around and never complains—the only time he ever complained to me is when I took him out of a basketball game.

"My admiration for him was unbelievable. My frustration was unbelievable, as well, because I thought he could've been the very best forever. I thought if he would've approached it a little bit differently, then he could've been even better than he really was. When you're a coach, that's something that eats on you."

The implication: Iverson played so hard that he deserved a couple of days off.

However, Brown said later in the interview that he wished he would've done a better job instilling an insatiable work ethic in Iverson, a wildly talented player who partied as hard off the floor as he played on it.

Brown's public stance in 2002 was a little different. He'd regularly harp on Iverson about his practice habits, to the point the pair would get into verbal altercations—hence the questions about practice coming from reporters in the first place.

Some, including Brown, believe Iverson was drunk during the "practice" rant—something Iverson has steadfastly denied. 

Iverson spent the 2001-02 season dealing with the death of his best friend, Rahsaan Langeford, and was noticeably shaken on and off the court by his passing. While it's rarely remembered, Iverson spoke on Langeford's death later in his "rant."