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New book claims Allen Iverson was drunk during 'talking about practice' rant Ben Rohrbach By Ben Rohrbach June 4, 2015 5:49 PM Ball Don't Lie
While this may sound like an episode of "Drunk History," I can assure you it's not.
According to excerpts from Kent Babb's new book, "Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson," the former Philadelphia 76ers star was intoxicated for what is probably the most memorable press conference in NBA history — his notorious 2002 "talking about practice" exit interview.
As Babb detailed in an ESPN appearance on Thursday, three fomer members of the Sixers brass — president Pat Croce, general manager Billy King and coach Larry Brown — all shared their suspicions.
After his talk with Brown, Iverson left with a friend and returned later for the news conference. "I assumed he went and fooled around somewhere," Brown said, tipping his hand up like a bottle, the author wrote in the book. Before the news conference, King said he could tell that something was off about Iverson, but "if we thought that he was drinking or whatever, we'd have never done it." Wrote Babb: "Some were entertained, and others watched the train wreck unfold, knowing from experience that Iverson was drunk." King tried to think of a way to stop the press conference, the book said, while Croce, watching on television, said he suspected Iverson was drunk and asked his wife to shut off the TV. While Iverson does not slur his speech during a 100-second diatribe in which he drops the word "practice" roughly two-dozen times, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist also reportedly confirmed, "He was lit. ... Maybe you had to have been around him all the time to know the difference, but we all knew."
Yet, it's taken 12 years for this allegation to be made public. For the record, the press conference came four days after Iverson's 76ers were eliminated in the fifth game of a best-of-five, first-round series against the Boston Celtics — and shortly after his best friend was killed — so in a vacuum it doesn't really matter a whole heck of a lot whether he was drunk or not, especially since it's so fondly remembered.
"As far as how I expressed practice, practice, practice over and over again, I wouldn’t take that back," Iverson told the media gathered for the announcement of his official retirement from the game of basketball in 2013. "Obviously, that sound bite, it’s great for the media. The fans, they love that."
In retrospect, this Gary Payton story about the rant from 2013 suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.
In the bigger picture, though, this revelation is a concerning one, as reports of Iverson's issues with alcohol have made headlines in recent years. Among them was a 2013 Washington Post piece by Babb, who detailed Iverson's alleged hangovers during practices, a divorce proceeding littered with references to alchohol abuse — including one occasion in which he allegedly left his children alone in a hotel room during a family vacation — and a spiral downward from $100-plus million into foreclosure and debt.
That 2002 "practice" press conference was as unforgettable as the player himself, and we can only hope the underlying issue behind those 100 seconds doesn't ultimately tarnish both. Get well, Allen Iverson. ... See MoreSee Less
Embarrassed Cavs looking more and more like NBA's Buffalo Bills Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical,Yahoo Sports 1 hour 33 minutes ago Comments Like Reblog on Tumblr Share Tweet Email
Assist of the Night: LeBron James NBA.com Scroll back up to restore default view. OAKLAND, Calif. – The hysteria is going to grow between today and Wednesday, the gathering of that tortured city's Here-We-Go-Again darkness descending onto the Cleveland Cavaliers. So far, they've been a stunning embarrassment in the NBA Finals, undisciplined and unfocused and unworthy. So far, the Cavs are threatening to become the NBA's Buffalo Bills.
Cleveland has been sluggish with the ball, sloppy with defensive assignments, a mess. The Golden State Warriors pounded the Cavaliers on Sunday night, a 110-77 Game 2 victory for the defending champions that left everyone stunned and asking themselves an unavoidable question.
Is this all that the Eastern Conference champions have for the Golden State Warriors?
For Cleveland, the looming threat of a superstar with the power to run people out – matched by an owner with the volatility to respond to embarrassment in the most impetuous way – the stakes are immense as the Finals return to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4. Nevertheless, LeBron James and Dan Gilbert do have the ability to thrive in chaos, and the Cavaliers are inching closer now.
LeBron James had 19 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, seven turnovers and four steals in Game 2. (Getty Images)Once another blowout Finals loss was complete on Sunday, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue walked out of his news conference and stopped on his way back to the losing locker room. He hadn't gone into the big room and called out these Cavaliers, hadn't ripped his team's leadership, its toughness, its tenacity. Lue won't do it, he said.
Two days between Games 2 and 3, and Lue understands his job now: When everyone else is tearing the Cavs down, he'll try to build them back up.
"You've got to kill me," Lue told The Vertical. "I'm never going to commit suicide. I'm still confident. I'm going to be positive, because that's how I feel. It isn't fake.
"I feel our team is good enough to beat this team."
Lue has to say it, but truth be told: The Cavaliers have no chance without a historic series out of LeBron James. So far, he's made only a modest impact on the games. Privately, Cleveland's front office and coaches were confident the Cavs would play well on Sunday night. Privately, they believed Game 1 had taught them about the speed and force with which these Warriors play, and that they would match it on Sunday.
For the Cavaliers to win four out of five games against the Golden State Warriors is a monumental task. Kevin Love has gone into the NBA's concussion protocol program; Kyrie Irving its witness protection program. J.R. Smith, Channing Frye and Matthew Dellavedova have stopped making shots. Cleveland needs an epic performance out of LeBron James to be competitive in these Finals – never mind win them. So far, James has been so-so.
Here's what teams believe about the Cavaliers: They don't think they have staying power. They don't think they're tough-minded. They believe the Cavaliers will start pointing fingers, that they'll never stay together in the hardest of times. In the Eastern Conference, there's no one talented enough to push them, to test that belief under true duress. The Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs represent the NBA teams able to do so – and now it's Golden State taking the Cavaliers apart.
Love Takes A Blow
Kevin Love takes an inadvertent elbow from Harrison Barnes to the back of the head but would return to the game. Cleveland does get to go home now, does get its chance to make the Warriors uncomfortable. The Cavaliers have to slow down Golden State, unleash Tristan Thompson on the boards, get James and Irving to the free-throw line over and over. They need to drag this series into the ditch and make something – anything – hard on the Warriors.
"I don't think we are discouraged," Lue told The Vertical. "We just know we have to play better. We've got to get to the level they're playing right now, but I don't feel we're discouraged."
These series can turn fast, and it only takes a Game 3 victory for the Cavaliers to believe they're back in these Finals. Nevertheless, Golden State has won 87 of 101 games now, and it's rolled Cleveland seven straight times. The Cavaliers are on the brink now, and everyone waits to see how they use the nearly 72 hours between Games 2 and 3 to armor themselves, to push through the national snickering and Northeast Ohio gloom to regenerate themselves. On his way out of Oracle Arena, Tyronn Lue promised to stay the course and sell his message these next three days. We can still do this, the coach of the Cavaliers insisted. We will see who believes him, who makes the commitment to fight back in these Finals.
So far, this has been an embarrassment for the Cleveland Cavaliers. So far, the Cavs are closer to the Buffalo Bills than an NBA championship. It can change on Wednesday night. Truth be told, it must – or there will be hell to pay in Cleveland.
Steamin' Down The Lane
LeBron James uses the crossover to bolt into the lane and flushes it home. ... See MoreSee Less
Pelicans forward Bryce Dejean-Jones dead at 23 Shams Charania of The Vertical,Yahoo Sports 1 hour 25 minutes ago Comments Sign in to like Reblog on Tumblr Share Tweet Email New Orleans Pelicans forward Bryce Dejean-Jones died early Saturday morning in Dallas from injuries sustained from an apparent gun-shot wound.
Dejean-Jones, 23, was a promising rookie who went undrafted in 2015 and played 14 games for the Pelicans last season.
Bryce Dejean-Jones (NBAE/Getty Images)“It is with deep sadness that the Pelicans organization acknowledges the sudden passing of Bryce Dejean-Jones,” the team said in a statement. “We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life who had such a promising future ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bryce’s family during this difficult time.”
According to the Dallas Police Department, police responded to a shooting at an apartment and found Dejean-Jones collapsed in the apartment breezeway. Dejean-Jones allegedly kicked in the front door of the apartment and entered, the resident told police. The resident called out to Dejean-Jones from the bedroom but received no answer, according to the report. Dejean-Jones then allegedly kicked in the bedroom and the resident fired his gun.
Dejean-Jones was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.
“Bryce was such an incredible person to represent as a client, and I just want to stress that everyone give the family courtesy during this time,” Dejean-Jones’ agent, Scott Nichols, told The Vertical. “Bryce was turning the corner in his life and in his career. He was an undrafted player, someone who had so much turmoil throughout his life. Now, he had a contract with the Pelicans and was rehabbing well with his broken wrist. He had come such a long way and we were all proud of him.”
Dejean-Jones was born on Aug. 21, 1992, and attended William Howard Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif.
He attended USC, UNLV and Iowa State in four college seasons, a tumultuous run in which NBA executives maintained an eye on him despite his off-court issues.
As a senior at Iowa State, Dejean-Jones faced a misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana that was eventually dropped.
“I recognize that damage was done to my image,” Dejean-Jones said April 2015 before the draft. “I fully own up to my mistakes, but a mistake was made by law enforcement for charging me with something other than a noise complaint. I’m a few units away from a master’s degree with above a 3.7 [grade point average]. Some people seem to get this impression that I am some type of unruly person.
“I have no criminal record. Nothing.
“Life is a learning experience full of ups and downs that we can learn and grow from and get better. Or we can let them defeat us. I played for great coaches, some very talented teams and top-notch universities. Along the way, there were challenges and I made some mistakes. I own up to them. They’re stepping stones to help me grow and mature.”
Dejean-Jones began to realize his NBA potential this season, signing a three-year contract with the Pelicans in February. He was released out of training camp in October, but returned to the Pelicans on a 10-day contract in January and emerged as a starter.
For the season, Dejean-Jones averaged 5.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 19.9 minutes. He underwent season-ending wrist surgery on Feb. 26. ... See MoreSee Less