Nice surprise on a Thursday morning.
I’ll read anything I can regarding Allen Iverson, and this morning a Players’ Tribune article on AI popped up out of nowhere.
It’s called “Allen,” and features a couple of great stories, this one in particular from a road game he played at Villanova as a Georgetown standout under coach John Thompson:
There were four men, making some noise way up in the stands. And they all had on handcuffs….. and chains..…. and orange jumpsuits. Those kinds of orange jumpsuits. And I remember the sign they were holding up — clear as day. It said:
ALLEN IVERSON: THE NEXT MJ
But then it had “MJ” crossed out. And they had markered in “OJ.”
Here’s what Coach Thompson, MY coach, did for me on that night: He didn’t ask for their sign to be confiscated. He didn’t yell and shout and make a scene. No. See, what Coach did is he calmly walked over to us, player by player, and told us that — don’t worry about our things — we were leaving the floor. That’s it: We were leaving the floor. No big drama. Heads held high. We were there…. and then we were gone.
And then once we were off that floor, and it was just Coach back on the court? He calmly told those refs, he said, “Hey, no disrespect. No disrespect to y’all. But here’s what’s going to happen: If you don’t get those four pieces of sh*t outta here, and I’m talking immediately — we’re gonna be forfeiting this game. Understood?”
Iverson goes on to reveal some details about himself that we might not know. He likes to draw. He’s a movie buff. The point of the article is to carry us beyond the “practice!?” quote and the Ty Lue stepover and all of the same old things that we connect to A.I.
I loved this passage explaining why he chose to dress the way he did, after the jump:
You have to understand — it’s not like there was ever a bunch of lawyers and bankers, walking around our neighborhood in custom-made suits. That’s just a fact!! No one was out here saying to themselves, When I get paid, I’m going to buy one of those skinny Armani suits. Like…. for what? What would you buy that for? Not for your job, that’s for certain — no one had those types of jobs where we were from. So yeah, maybe you get to a point where you can afford one of those suits. But it’s not changing anything, is it? It’s nothing to aspire to. I swear, best case scenario? If you handed me a nice suit, back in the day? In my mind I’d be thinking, Now I have something to wear for church every Sunday. For real!! Nah, I’m telling you right now, on my honor: that’s all a suit was to us. Suits weren’t status. They were church clothes.
So when I got to the league, it’s not like it suddenly became AI: Extreme Makeover. Why would it??? I wasn’t a changed man. “NBA me” wasn’t a new me — same-old me. I was still that same boy, Allen, from Newport News.
Sounds like Allen Iverson to me.
It’s a great read, check it out.