Allen Iverson was the overall #1 pick by the Philadelphia Sixers in the 1996 NBA Draft. The same year, they picked Kobe Bryant 13th. 6 ft tall, Allen totally changed the way the world conventionally viewed basketball. He proved with his defensive prowess that his size won’t work as a negative.
The man played 10 full seasons with the Sixers before moving to the Denver Nuggets. He played six playoff seasons with the Sixers and two with the Nuggets. Unfortunately, a legend of his stature could not slip an NBA ring in one of his fingers.
In his otherwise glittery career, the phenom remained part of many interesting anecdotes. But one of those that recently got revealed stands out.
The year 2001 was a remarkable one for Allen Iverson, coach Larry Brown, and the entire Sixers unit. They finished on top of the Eastern Conference tally with a 56-26 record and also reached the NBA finals.
AI remembered one very telling tale from the same year during one of their practices. He recently gave an interview where he revealed, “It was 2001 season. He [Larry] called me in the office. He was like look ‘I’mma f*** with you, all practice long. Everything that you do right, I’m gonna say it ain’t right. Everything that you do, I’m gonna cuss you out.” He then added, “I’m a young head and I’m thinking to myself like ‘why would he say like he gonna get on me even if I do sh*t right. Why would he say that he gonna f*** with me?’”
Later, during the practice, the coach kept his promise and bashed a young AI. To see this, it shocked all the other teammates that he did not respond back to the insult. Later, the picture became clear for Allen when he was called in the coach’s office. AI remembered, “I go to the office and he was like ‘thank you’. Now, I can talk shit to them and they can’t say a motherf****** thing coz I flipped down on your a** and you ain’t say sh**.”
This was like a masterstroke from a master coach who knew very well how to handle a team of youngsters with immense potential. Iverson also named Doc Rivers, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, and Jerry Sloan amongst the coaches he feels are the best.
The closest AI came to winning the title was in 2001 itself when the Sixers began their NBA Finals campaign with a win. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers (then reigning champions) in the opening game 107-101. In that game, AI scored a crazy 48 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Unfortunately for them, the Sixers lost the next 4 games and eventually the championship. Iverson scored 35+ points in four out of those five games and definitely deserved it more than anyone. But the Lakers were too strong with finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on their roster. Allen Iverson and Coach Larry Brown didn’t win the championship together, yet both Paved the way to begin among the NBA Legends.
Though in the coming years, coach Larry Brown did win an NBA championship in 2004 with Detroit Pistons. #NBALegends
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