Exclusive: Allen Iverson talks NBA, shoes
March, 8, 2013
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
Allen Iverson, who hasn't played in the NBA since 2010, still thinks he has some game left in him.
"I don't think today's game is any different than when I was playing in my prime," Iverson said Friday night in an exclusive interview with Playbook. "From my vantage point, it still looks the same."
Just a few weeks ago, the 37-year-old Iverson, one of the fastest players in NBA history, turned down the opportunity launch his comeback in the NBA Development League. The 11-time All-Star -- mostly with the Philadelphia 76ers -- wants to finish his career in the NBA.
"The game of basketball means the world to me," said Iverson, who was a four-time NBA scoring champion. "Without basketball, I wouldn't be a household name and I wouldn't be able to take care of my family the way I do."
But things have been difficult on court and off recently. He couldn't get an NBA team to sign him in the past few years, so he played in Turkey. Just recently he went through a very nasty divorce and custody battle in January, and he had housing problems in February.
Iverson declined to talk about his personal life, but was willing to talk about his NBA career and Friday's relaunch of his Reebok shoes.
You had a great career. Why does the NBA mean that much to you now?
"I learned a lot of things in life from the game of basketball. I learned about being on a team, having relationships with people and seeing things I've never thought I would be able to see. I got all that from the game of basketball."
So why try to come back?
"Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win a championship, in college and the NBA. I didn't do either of those things. But I have no regrets. God blessed me with great opportunities. I accomplished a lot of things that many other NBA players won't ever accomplish."
You played a couple of years in Turkey and have dabbled in playing in other countries. What has that been like?
"Personally, it's a great feeling when you realize that there are more fans than just those in the United States. I love seeing the reaction of those fans. They seem to love the way I play and who I am. That's something I'll cherish for the rest of my life."
What did you think when you heard Dennis Rodman was getting in the middle of politics with the United States and North Korea?
"To tell you the truth, I was surprised and I wasn't surprised. My thinking is to each his own. You have no idea what that man is thinking. I didn't have that close of a relationship with Dennis. We spent a week together in China. He seemed like a great guy. But I didn't sit down to talk about a whole bunch of personal things. It was just strictly business."
Today, Reebok released two of your famous shoes: Answer IVs and Questions. What's your reaction to the relaunch?
"It's a great thing. It feels good that people are still interested in my first shoe. You know what I mean? I'm honored to have a retro shoe. I don't really keep them around myself. I still have a few original 'Question' shoes. I know that my family members and friends are still wearing all of them. It's a good feeling."