Today we celebrate the most infamous words uttered by an iconic NBA player in the last 20 years and the most scintillating and dominant rush of late game offense we may have ever witnessed.
On this day in 2002 Philadelphia 76ers, NBA transcender and cultural tastemaker Allen Iverson voiced the regrettable and unforgettable words in which he diminished the importance of practice. It was an outburst that Iverson would never live down, despite his titanic career.
16 years ago, Allen Iverson talked about “practice” in a press conference and he wasn’t happy about it. https://t.co/zjlXTNq2Fx
The words took on a life of their own and became a narrative that still lingers about the games greatest player under 6-feet; an unfair, but popularly shared belief that he didnt care about his team enough to ever get over the hump and win a championship.
As absurd as the accusation is — knowing that Iverson gave 100 percent of his mind, body and soul to everyone of his 914 career games — the press conference remains a dark cloud on the shining stars career.
If you listen to the entire press conference, Iverson made some valid points, but the reporters kept pressing the issue of him downplaying missing practice and it became the story that sparked his declining relationship with a Philadelphia media that was known to attack its Black superstars.
Allen Iverson talks about practice again in 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkafp_NVUDg http://sports.genius.com/Allen-iverso… Full transcript It was like any other day in our newsroom. I was hanging out in our news director Tom Stathakes’ office when someone came in and said that Allen Iverson was holding a press conference within the hour outside the Sixers locker room, which is located a level below our Wells Fargo Center newsroom.
Iversons statement may have been blown out of context as his old Georgetown coach John Thompson often says, but it gave us some insight into the mind and evolution of the independent, outspoken and often egotistical NBA superstar.
On the same day seven years earlier, a skinny, trash-talking shooting savant named Reggie Miller AKA The Knicks Killer stuck a playoff dagger into the hearts of the Knicks franchise. The Indiana Pacers guard played the perfect villain and shook Madison Square Garden to its foundation with his killer rendition of the cautionary sports phrase, It ain’t over till its over.
Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals was all but over. With people filing out of Madison Square Garden with smirks on their faces and Spike Lee courtside waving his towel in jubilation, Miller who was cold as a frozen turkey in missing 11 of 16 shots to that point went H.A.M. The shooting legend hit two 3-pointers and two free throws, scoring eight points, and had a steal and a rebound in 8.9 seconds to help Indiana steal the game, 107-105. Once Miller looked at Spike and flashed the choke sign, one of the most demoralizing nights in Knicks history was over
Watch highlights from the legendary career of five-time All-Star and Hall of Fame guard Reggie Miller.
New York and Spike Lee never learned the valuable lesson of humility when it came to Miller. A year before Miller went 8-for-9, he extinguished the flame started by Spike Lee’s trash-talking by dropping 25 on the Knicks in the 4th quarter of Game 5 during the ’94 Eastern Conference Finals. It was like dejavu.
Miller’s known as one of the most feared and respected NBA superstars and probably the second best long range assassin in history behind Steph Curry, especially in New York where he gave the Knicks playoff fits for years. It’s like they say,” Miller said after the game over two decades ago, “if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”
And Miller not only took over New York in the 90s, but he owned the city and left the city slickers and celebrities speechless. To this day New York fans are haunted by the name Reggie Miller.