Gary Payton Claims a Drunken Night Together Led to Allen Iverson’s “Practice” Rant
With reports emerging yesterday that Allen Iverson plans to announce his retirement, there will be plenty of conversation in the coming days about the rise and fall of the embattled “Answer”. Last night on Fox Sports Live, Iverson’s former opponent and, apparently, drinking partner Gary Payton discussed the biggest challenges of playing against A.I. — “to not let him cross me over and break my ankles, for one” — and addressed the rumors that he was responsible for Iverson’s infamous “We talkin’ bout practice” rant.
At the 2:30-mark (transcription via Business Insider):
“We were out [during the summer], and we were all out having a good time. And we had a little bit too many. You know, we had a little bit too many. And he asked me, ‘how do you keep your body in so good of a shape, and don’t get hurt, and always stay on the court?’ And I just told him for real, my coach, George Karl, didn’t let me practice. So that was it. I said, ‘You have to stop practicing.’”
“Oh no, not this, don’t say it like THAT Allen,” Payton recalls thinking when he saw the infamous interview for the first time. “It got back to Larry Brown … and [he approaches me after a game] and said ‘Look what you created.’”