Former Coach Reveals How He Unsuccessfully Tried to Use Champagne to Stop Allen Iverson

Published 09/15/2021, 12:35 AM EDT
031258.SP.0806.lakers18.WS –– Lakers Kobe Bryant and 76ers Allen Iverson have a few words with each other at the end of the fourth quarter of the NBA Final game between the Lakers and the 76ers, Friday, June 8, 2001 at the Staples Center. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

When it comes to the NBA, size is the most common thing to stand out. Even the most talented scorers in the NBA have had size to their advantage. However, one man who proved size doesn’t matter was Allen Iverson. The Hall of Famer dominated the game of basketball while being just 6 feet tall.


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Ever since crossing up Michael Jordan in his rookie year, AI became a big name in the NBA. His scoring prowess quickly saw him become one of the best players in the league. While his game performances were nothing short of miraculous, practices weren’t his thing.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – NOVEMBER 10: American former basketball player Allen Iverson receives interview during rehearsal for 2018 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival on November 10, 2018 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

There is no doubt that Allen Iverson was great. However, he made it a point to enjoy his life. Iverson would frequently enjoy his parties and go out a lot, but this wasn’t enough to stop the man from scoring. Recently, a former Raptors coach spoke about one such incident.


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The legend of Allen Iverson

While on SiriusXM, former coach Sam Mitchell narrated a classic Iverson story. He spoke about how he did everything in his power to try and stop Iverson, but it came to no avail. Even Toronto’s nightlife couldn’t stop Iverson.

He explained: “When I was coaching in Toronto one night, I saw him out at a restaurant. We had a 12 o’clock game, and this was one of my favorite restaurants. So the bartender call me and said AI is in here with a bunch of players and friends. So I told him keep sending him champagne on me, just give it to him, say it’s on the house. So about 12 o’clock the guy call me, he still in there and I’m like keep feeding.”

While most wouldn’t be in a condition to play, Iverson was different and Mitchell realized that during their game. Mitchell continued, saying, “I come out the tunnel, AI runs by me he said ‘coach, I know that was you sending all that champagne to the table’. He said I want you to understand something. I drank it all and I’m still gonna give you 50 tonight.”

Sam then admitted, “It didn’t work. I think he had like 42 or something like that.”

BEIJING, CHINA – OCTOBER 25: Former NBA star Allen Iverson attends a news conference on October 25, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

While Allen Iverson may have been a party animal, he would turn up when it was game time, no matter what. But what made him so lethal despite his life off the court?

Why AI could dominate the game


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The simple reason was his love and obsession with the game. It does come off as weird because he did not like practices. But he wouldn’t trade anything over actually playing a game of ball.

Allen Iverson gets himself off the court in the third quarter during Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Philadelphia on Sunday. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

There is even a story about a time when he was injured. The staff at Philadelphia had to hide his jersey so he couldn’t come in and play. Sometimes, if he forgot his shoes, he would randomly ask anyone to give him their shoes just so he could suit up for his team.


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His obsession led him to be great, and he remains to be one of the most decorated scorers in NBA history.

WATCH THIS STORY: Michael Jordan’s Insane One-Handed Ball Fakes Will Shake You To The Core



Anuj Talwalkar

293 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.