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Last Tuesday, Kent Babb’s book Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson was released to the public. The book made various claims about Iverson’s off-the-court life, but the one that seems to have drawn the most attention was a claim that he was intoxicated during his infamous “Practice?!” press conference.
Stephen A. Smith, who covered Allen Iverson for the Philadelphia Inquirer and made his name off of his coverage of the 2000-01 NBA MVP, responded to that claim on various mediums a day later.
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) June 5, 2015
This really is the ultimate internet over-hyped, pageview whore take to have on this book. It’s perfect for Stephen A. Smith, so he can come on television and the radio and scream about something that in the grand scheme of things really doesn’t matter. Or so Howard Eskin can make claims that he knows exactly what type of beer Allen Iverson drank on a day 14 years ago.
Was Iverson drunk at the press conference? I don’t know. Might he have been? Sure. Does it really matter either way? Not at all.
Let’s, courtesy of Deadspin, remind ourselves of some of the other accusations made in the book
- Iverson once threatened his wife, Tawanna, that he would pay a man $5,000 to have her killed.
- 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.”
Clearly, whether Allen Iverson was drunk at a press conference is the tidbit in this book that’s worth talking about. The national media, one that waited to criticize the NFL on the handling of the Ray Rice situation until the second video came out, continues on their campaign of how sports leagues need to do a better job of policing domestic violence. But since there isn’t a video in this case, I guess that excuses it. Sure, Iverson isn’t active in the league anymore, but why does that mean that a story about a press conference becomes a bigger deal than a story about him threatening to hire a hit-man to kill his wife and the mother of his children?