It was a day that changed the course of press conferences forever—May 7, 2002, the day that Allen Iverson missed practice.
The dynamic point guard was a one-man wrecking crew for the Philadelphia 76ers in the early 2000s, earning MVP honors in 2001 and taking his team on an unlikely trip to the NBA Finals. A year later, Iverson averaged 31.4 points per game for a 76ers squad that lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round in the playoffs.
Shortly after the loss, coach Larry Brown laid blame on Iverson, who had missed a few practices during the team’s short playoff run.
Iverson didn’t think the absences were too big of a deal. His response, offered a day later at the team’s season closing press conference, still resonates to this day:
“We’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last, but we’re talking about practice.
“I know it’s important, I honestly do, but we’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice man. We’re talking about practice. We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about practice.”
Iverson’s tirade immediately became a national obsession. Posted onto YouTube, the video accumulated over 5 million views and sparked a legion of remakes. Hip-hop remixes were made; Philadelphia-based teenagers posted their closest impressions; videos with counters for every time Iverson said “Practice” received over 480,000 views.
Today’s anniversary made Iverson a nationally trending topic on Twitter, where his name has received nearly 15,000 mentions. (“Practice” has received 10,000 mentions in the past day, according to Topsy, which obviously does not filter for Iverson-related mentions of the world.)
“I’ll always remember where I was 10 years ago when Allen Iverson gave his ‘practice’ press conference,” @philcokesbrain wrote.
“The greatest moment of all time,” @djayare posted.
Ten years later, everyone’s still talking about practice.
Photo via @SI_Vault