On Friday night, Dime got a chance to visit the Barclays Center for Brooklyn’s home opener against Miami. The good people at Reebok invited us to their suite for the release of the Reebok Q96 and Pumpspective Omni and a chance to play a little ball on Barclay’s herringbone parquet court after the game. Little did we know we’d get Allen Iverson to open up about his feelings and his critics.
Iverson is still a huge draw, and he spoke with a number of different outlets before we got in the mix. Sway was in the suite for MTV; Brooklyn emcee Fabolous and Jadakiss were in the area, posing for photos. At one point, ESPN’s Doris Burke came up to the suite for an in-game interview where I accidentally ended up in the live footage ESPN shot during the game:
I somehow ended up in the middle of AI's interview w/ Doris. The blonde bro is me. Weird. pic.twitter.com/e1tVQjroKN
— Spencer Lund (@countcenci) November 2, 2013
After a number of different people asked Iverson questions about his favorites: favorite player that never made an All-Star team (“John Salmons“); favorite colorway (“Red and white because they’re the original, they’re the first ones”); favorite place to watch street ball (“New York. Rucker.”), we finally got into the scrum.
But first, before we relay what he told us, we have to preface this and steer away from the editorial “we.” I am a huge fan of Iverson, like most people geeked about basketball around my age. Since Iverson’s appearance was a surprise, with only a few people knowing beforehand that he was going to be in the suite, I hadn’t prepared any questions. After realizing I’d get a chance for some answers from The Answer, I raked my brain for stuff to ask him that wasn’t the same drivel from other media outlets.
Then someone asked AI: If you had any advice for a young player in the League right now, what would it be?
Allen Iverson: Same thing I would tell anybody, whether it’s somebody coming into the League, somebody that’s playing pick-up basketball, somebody that’s playing Pop Warner: Play hard. You can’t miss with that. And that’s another thing about the fans in Philly—they never gave a damn about if Allen played well some nights or whatever. We know he’s gonna give everything he got. Regardless if he miss every shot, regardless of if he has 20 turnovers—we know he’s trying to win. That’s what it’s about in anything. Just giving all you got. That’s the only thing you can ask for from somebody that’s doing anything. S**t, if you’re talking to a girl, give all you got. All your best lines, use ‘em. Don’t save ‘em! Use ‘em. In anything you do, any story you write, make it your best one. Make it to whereas you feel like it’s your last one. God might not open your eyes the next day.
That was the question where my anxiety about talking to him evaporated. Since I was probably never going to get a chance to talk with him again, I decided to ask the one question I always end interviews with, and the one which is almost never answered. I had a hunch Iverson would be different and the question would finally allow him to get some stuff off his chest he wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to talk about.