Allen Iverson’s basketball accomplishments have at times been overshadowed by his legendary rant about practice. The more we’ve learned about the comments over time, the better we’ve understood his mentality.
Or so I thought, until someone decided to ask him about practice yet again (NSFW language within):
Iverson is equal parts comedian and assassin in the clip, seemingly in disbelief that someone could still be confused about his rant on practice.
The context for the rant was not so much about practice as it was Iverson’s life and the hardships he was going through at the time, which he has detailed in full in books and documentaries that have released in recent years. The tail end of the infamous practice presser spelled out what he was going through as a man:
I'm upset for one reason: 'Cause I'm in here. I lost. I lost my best friend. I lost him, and I lost this year. Everything is just going downhill for me, as far as just that. You know, as far as my life. And then I'm dealing with this. ... My best friend is dead. Dead. And we lost. And this is what I have to go through for the rest of the summer until the season is all over again.
Iverson was struggling to deal with the shooting death of his close friend, Rahsaan Langeford, in addition to the end of the team’s season. The over-stressing of practice was trivial to him as the trial for his friend’s alleged murderer began just days earlier, a point he made crystal clear.
Yet here we are in 2016, still talkin’ bout practice. The rant will live on, but the least we can do is try to understand the motivation behind it.