Reports started coming out Wednesday that Allen Iverson would officially retire from professional basketball, having not caught on with an NBA team for the last three years.
And so, the odes to one of the best players of his generation have begun with the endless highlight tapes of his scoring prowess, killer crossover and dogged determination have become playing. I cannot even write a sentence about him without soaring platitudes. Iverson was a player with many faults and he has a championship-sized gap in his resume.
What many will remember Iverson for was a memorable press conference when he was accused of sitting out practice. He then uttered the most famous words in press conference history: "We're talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. But practice."
Where would he get such an idea? Gary Payton claimed on Fox Sports 1's Fox Sports Live that he may have inadvertently given Iverson the idea to challenge normal practice rules.
Payton said he and Iverson were having drinks one offseason when Iverson asked the veteran Payton how he stayed healthy throughout the season. Payton said he informed Iverson that it was because George Karl pretty much did not use him in practice. Payton had the coach's permission to sit out and miss practice time.
Iverson took it one step farther and removed himself from practice. Larry Brown was sure to thank Payton for his veteran advice the next time the Sonics played the 76ers.
And that is the story.