Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Differences in communication at issue
DENVER -- Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson was benched
for the start of Tuesday night's game against the Denver Nuggets
after missing practice a day earlier, coach Chris Ford said.
Iverson, the 76ers' only representative in Sunday's All-Star
game in Los Angeles, failed to appear for Monday's practice at the
Denver Athletic Club.
Iverson had contacted Allen Lumpkin, the team's director of
travel and team services, to tell him he wouldn't be able to make
it to practice. Ford was upset that Iverson didn't contact him
Ford, chosen as interim head coach of the 76ers last Tuesday,
called the two-hour practice an important one, during which he put
in several new plays.
Ford declined to say if Iverson would be fined.
"He won't be starting," Ford said. "He had an unexcused
absence from practice. We will determine his playing time as the
Ford, who said Iverson had no reaction to his benching, said
John Salmons would take Iverson's spot in the starting lineup.
Iverson, dressed in a George Gervin jersey before the game,
joked with his teammates in the locker room but declined to speak
with the media.
Iverson has a history of disdain for attending practice. He and
former Sixers coach Larry Brown had several battles over the issue,
leading to a memorable news conference in May 2002 when Iverson
said, "Practice? We're talking about practice."