Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton says he was part of the inspiration behind Allen Iverson’s infamous “practice” speech.
The members of the panel at “FOX Sports Live” on FOX Sports 1 were discussing Allen Iverson’s plans to officially retire from the NBA (yes, we thought he retired two years ago too) when the story came up. Payton says he’s the one who discounted the importance of practice to Iverson, though the Philadelphia 76ers point guard botched the pitch when saying the word.
Payton says he and Iverson were out one summer, having a good time and drinking, and Iverson asked Payton for his secret to keeping his body in good shape. Payton told Iverson that his coach with the Seattle SuperSonics, George Karl, kept him out of practice to preserve his body.
“That was it. I [told Iverson] ‘you have to stop practicing!’” Payton recalled.
Payton says that conversation inspired Iverson’s rant, though the former MVP guard got the intonations all wrong when he said the word “practice.”
“I was like ‘don’t do it like that!’” Payton said with a laugh.
Payton says word of his advice got back to former Sixers coach Larry Brown, who later confronted Payton after a game between the teams for “creating” the situation.
Of course, you can’t show a video of the story without showing the actual rant. Full video below: